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Architecture and Building Design for a Major Hotel Renovation by Malaysia Arkitek .

Project Management for Extensive Refurbishment of a 5-star Hotel in Asia.


The Hyatt Regency Hotel was one of the first high-class hotels to be built in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah, Malaysia. It benefits from a prime central location in the city, adjacent to a large shopping plaza and the central business district.
It faces the South China Sea, and affords a panoramic view of the Kota Kinabalu waterfront and the offshore islands which make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

Project Details

The project involved very major renovation work throughout the hotel, including the following areas: 288 rooms on 14 floors; lobby; Japanese Restaurant;  buffet restaurant; kitchen, laundry and chilling room; back of house; offices; general manager’s suite; junior suites; Kimanis ballroom; business centre.


Such a comprehensive restoration and refurbishment as this entailed the involvement of a wide range of engineers and interior designers. They included
an experienced architect / project manager (Architect Chin); interior designers; mechanical and electrical engineer; civil and structural engineer; quantity surveyor; kitchen designer; laundry designer; lighting designer; contractors.

The Challenges

Renovation on such a grand scale as this is bound to present some daunting challenges. Among these were the hotels remaining open for business during the renovation work. This meant that guests had to have access to their rooms and other parts of the hotel. In addition, excessive noise had to be kept under control and at a minimal level. Areas of construction had to be isolated and circulated around in specific locations. Lastly, access had to be retained with adequate entrances for guests and staff. 

Time Scale

The project management involved 1 year of planning, while construction and all other work was spread over two and a half years.

Planning strategy

Chin Architect liaised with 10 consultants from around the world.  Information was then channeled to a selection of local contractors.

Handling procedures

These involved the following before and during the renovation work:-
Processing of tenders; design coordination; project management; tender analysis; selection and awarding of tenders; construction management; work supervision.


A range of expert consultants from different parts of the world were engaged. They included professionals from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, New York and Chicago.


As a variety of different materials were required for such a grand refurbishment, they had to be imported from several countries. Among these were wall coverings and fabrics from USA, decorative light fittings and furniture from Indonesia, marble from Iran and artifacts for the Japanese restaurant from Japan.

Décor of Nagisa Japanese restaurant

The aim was to offer an authentic Japanese dining experience for both foreign and local diners. The concept of a Japanese fishing village was created, with a small fishing boat, and antique traditional raincoats made from straw. In addition a huge antique wooden pestle and mortar is prominently displayed in the restaurant. It also introduced one of the first sub-zero freezers to be used in Sabah.

Atrium Lounge and Restaurant

A feature of the ample lobby area of the Hyatt Regency Hotel is the six-storey high Atrium, which uses natural light filtered through sail-inspired fabric on the glass roof.

General Ambience

The grand restoration and refurbishment created an airy, spacious, light and graceful atmosphere, with an uninterrupted view of the South China Sea, enhanced by the use of rich fabrics, quilted headboard tapestry interspersed with marble and the use of timber finishes.

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