On a recent weekend excursion to the city of Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah, Malaysia, I booked two nights at Imperial Boutec Hotel located right smack in the city centre. The rates were hard to pass up given the location and the reviews so hey, I gave it a go.
First up, Imperial Boutec Hotel is a mouthful and it's oddly located on the 7th floor of a shopping mall, Warisan Square to be exact.Additionally, it's just across from the famous waterfront where the Filipino Market is and beside Le Meridien. Being there is really convenient as it's quick access to the airport, to the shops, and to the city.
The thing though, Warisan Square is essentially 3 interconnected buildings and within it, there are 2-3 other hotels. Imperial Boutec doesn't really make it that easy to find. FYI, it's located on the only building (the middle one) which has 7 floors. Parking is available on the few floors just below the hotel, accessible via the same lift.
On arrival at the hotel (after getting briefly disoriented in the mall), you come to an odd lobby. It reminded me of an office for one of those multi-level marketing outfits - tries too hard, directionless, and plain unsettling. But small matter since I wasn't planning to spend time in the lobby (though free WiFi is only available here). The service though is deplorable. No smiles, no welcome, nothing... the whole process felt like going to a bank 5 years ago. Come on people, you can do so much better.
Now, remember the hotel is on the 7th floor. I was then given a room number beginning with 6. So naturally, I started to look for an escalator or lift to go down a floor (she pointed me away from the elevators in which I came up in). After not finding any, only then did the totally unhelpful receptionist said that ALL rooms are on the floor but numbered differently based on no apparent system that was clear to me. If you imagine a broad empty space and then start arranging the rooms in parallel lines but leaving a gap between them (picture below), you can imagine the layout of the hotel. I guess the only reason for the gap is to justify having windows but really, will you leave your window open so that other hotel occupants can come up and look at what you're doing?
In any case, the most important element is the room and in that area, thankfully, the hotel delivers (relative to price of course). The rooms are not too small, comfortable, and clean. Plus there are some nice fringe pluses, not all needed. The things I liked are the bed and pillows, lighting, safety deposit box (though mine wasn't working) and bathroom layout. The things I don't are the space hogging chaise lounge, the shower apparatus, and snowy TV reception. So overall, am happy with the room. There are some finishing annoyances like floors that aren't well locked, airconditioner that drips, and low water pressure but for a short stay, it's not a deal breaker.
Standard things you expect from a hotel and from a 'budget' hotel, well, it's nice to have. Too bad in-room Internet is LAN only, but it is complimentary. If you get a room that's close to the lobby, you might be able to access the free WiFi.
TV channels are decent but reception is snowy.
The shower apparatus (whatever this is called) is quite a monstrosity. It's plasticky (read cheap) and took me awhile to figure out how to operate it. Really, would it be that hard to place a sign? Water pressure is a bit low though and shower head mount is way too low.
Great location though the Warisan Square mall has seen better days.
Rooms are nicely furnished and comfortable.
The room rates are very competitive.
No free WiFi in the rooms.
Poor customer service.
Water pressure is a bit low.
Visit my blog for photos: http://www.danjumbuck.com/2012/06/hotel-review-imperial-boutec-hotel-kota.html
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Imperial Boutec