7 Popular Classic Hotels in North Borneo (Sabah) in 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s

In the late 1950’s North Borneo was experiencing an economic and construction boom, and demands for hotels were rising. These are some of the most popular hotels in major towns of North Borneo from 1960’s-1980’s.

Winner Hotel – Jesselton

Located in the heart of today’s Kota Kinabalu city, Winner Hotel was officially opened on January 1, 1966. The management claimed on their newspaper advertisement that it was “Jesselton’s latest and finest luxury hotel.”

Hotel Labuan – Labuan

This 10 storey-hotel with 150 rooms was built in 1979. The hotel have been standing idle since 1997 after it was declared unsafe.

Lahad Datu Hotel – Lahad Datu

This hotel was located next to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce office building in Lahad Datu. As it was one of the smallest towns in Sabah back then, this hotel was the obvious choice for travellers coming to this town.

Hotel Capitol – Jesselton

The hotel is now known as Hotel Capital and it was definitely one of the best hotels during its early years, it had a splendid view of the sea (notice the esplanade just next to the hotel).

Hotel Nak – Sandakan

Nak Hotel was named after Ngui Ah Kui, a lowly clerk turned Member of Parliament. The hotel was built in the 60’s and was officially opened in 1966, 2 years after Ngui passed away.

Tawau Hotel – Tawau

This hotel is located at one of Tawau’s oldest streets – Chester Street and still operating until today.

Hyatt – Jesselton

This hotel was built on a reclaimed land in 1976. Initially it was intended as service apartments but Hyatt took over and branded it as their own hotel.

Tourism in Sabah experienced a huge increase in 2013, and this means more hotels will be built to accommodate tourists and travellers from around the world.

Of course, there are other historic hotels which are not in this list. Can you name them? Leave your comments below.

Images via own postcard collection and Mr Nicholas Tan

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Richard Ker

I love the history of North Borneo (Sabah) and strive to digitally archive any related information on this website. I'm also the author of LifeinMy.com and CyberjayaCity.com. Follow me on Twitter @richardker.

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