InterContinental inks Malaysian eco-resort

IHG Hotels & Resorts has agreed a deal with Taipei real estate broker Zhancheng Tourism Development, a subsidiary of Sinyi Realty Inc, for an eco-friendly resort in Malaysian Borneo.

Under the flagship InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand, the 450-room newbuild beachfront resort will be located in Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah state.

Full facilities

Marking a new milestone in the growth of IHG’s luxury and lifestyle portfolio in Malaysia, InterContinental Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort will open in Q1 2027.

The resort will feature a 600 m-long beach, and hotel facilities will include four restaurants and bars, 2,400 sq m of meeting space including 11 meeting rooms, fitness centre, spa, kids club, three outdoor pools and the brand’s Club InterContinental Lounge.

Back-to-nature theme

The site will adopt environmentally friendly practices throughout its design, construction and operations, and provide guests with immersive, close-to-nature stays through experiences that are designed to value, protect and care for the biodiversity of its location.

All rooms, suites and villas will offer a ‘back-to-nature’ theme steeped in Borneo culture, and feature a full range of modern creature comforts.

Environmental targets

InterContinental Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort will also establish targets across energy, water, landscape, materials, and waste. The buildings will showcase natural ventilation and extensive shading, and use recycled water via a rainwater filtration system.

Local sourcing of goods and materials will be prioritised, with an onsite food garden and the use of low carbon materials from the local area among the property’s sustainability-based initiatives.

Eco-tourism hub

Rajit Sukumaran, MD, South East Asia and Korea, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “Kota Kinabalu is one of the leading leisure destinations in Malaysia and an eco-tourism hub renowned for its nature-based attractions and rich cultural heritage. InterContinental Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort will quickly become a ‘must-visit’ destination, sensitively situated and sustainably operated in alignment with IHG’s ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ 10-year responsible business plan. Together with our partners Zhancheng Tourism Development, we can’t wait to welcome guests in four years’ time.

“This signing continues IHG’s expansion in the luxury and lifestyle space in East Malaysia and throughout the country. It’s an exciting period for us in the market due to the wonderful growth opportunities we’re seeing, and we’re invested in bringing new and unique experiences to a range of city and resort destinations.

“InterContinental Sabah Kota Kinabalu Resort will be our third hotel in Kota Kinabalu together with Holiday Inn Express Kota Kinabalu City Centre and upcoming Crowne Plaza Kota Kinabalu Waterfront. Together, these fantastic properties will ensure IHG has a market-leading hotel that’s perfect for every traveller.”

Positive impact

Chou Ken-Yu, chairperson, Sinyi Realty Inc, added: “As the world’s first international luxury hotel brand, we know that InterContinental has a strong tradition in creating enriching experiences for guests in outstanding destinations. We’re confident that the resort will make a wide-ranging positive impact on its local community, natural ecosystem and cultural heritage. This is the start of our journey in investing in Sabah, which we believe has a very bright future.

“In addition to the InterContinental Kota Kinabalu Resort project in Sabah in partnership with IHG, Mengalum Island, which has been engaged in ecological restoration work for two years, will also be built into the ‘world’s first zero-carbon island’ and a low-carbon tourist resort in the future.”

Tripling estate

IHG has seven hotels across three brands – InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Express – in Malaysia.

It’s set to rejuvenate and triple its estate to 18 properties across six brands within the next five years as it introduces Regent Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Indigo to the market.