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The History

The Jesselton Hotel is Kota Kinabalu’s city’s first post WWII modern hotel built at 69 Bond Street (now Gaya Street) and its present owners JWPK Holdings Sdn Bhd has maintained the premises up with the best in contemporary hotel services through periodic building upgrades renovations and interior makeovers. Before WWII, the name Jesselton Hotel referred to the town’s quaint timber and tin roofed Government Rest House, located on a bluff behind the city’s present Kota Kinabalu Police Station.

With the total devastation of Jesselton town at the end of WWII, Sir Herbert Ralph Hone, the Colonial Governor of Jesselton who was instrumental in the rebuilding of Jesselton, encouraged a consortium of Chinese Hong Kong businessmen to invest and build Jesselton town’s first modern post-war hotel which was completed in 1954 on what was then Jesselton town’s 69 Bond Street. The consortium owners engaged architects, contractors, builders and craftsmen from Hong Kong to construct one of the city’s first modern concrete building which was finished in Hong Kong 1940’s style architecture. In 1971, the hotel property and business was sold to a consortium of wealthy timber tycoons from Sandakan lead by the timber tycoon Datuk Khoo Siak Chew and the new owners contracted the operations management of Jesselton Hotel to Datuk Wong Tze Fatt, who is well known as an entrepreneur and founder of S.E. Asia’s Gardenia Bread Brand.


In 1978, Datuk Wong Tze Fatt bought out the hotel property and business and in 1989 engaged WAY Chartered Architects to undertake a total renovation of Jesselton Hotel to create its present iconic colonial façade, added a passenger services lift and an additional floor of guestrooms and fitted out the hotel with contemporary interiors and modern building services.

The present Jesselton Hotel iconic brand image was therefore created by Datuk Wong Tze Fatt who as an entrepreneur fulfilled a childhood dream to own a fine hotel. With the help of his opening manager Mr George Lemonwatt a British expatriate working at the time for the Swire Group in Hong Kong, Datuk Wong Tze Fatt personally inculcated to its hotel staff, the inn-keeping and hospitality traditions of days gone by. The hotel’s personal attention given to its guests is recognized by her signature welcome to visitors by the doorman attired in a colonial uniform complete with a tropical cork sun hat and her London Taxi for transporting her guests.

Many famous world luminaries have visited The Jesselton Hotel including the British aristocrat Lady Edwina Mountbatten during her reception that was held by the 20th Governor Turnbull; and boxer Mohammad Ali in which he fought Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur on the 30th June 1975 and won on unanimous decision and came through Jesselton on the way to Manila.


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69, Jalan Gaya, P.O. Box 10401 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel : (6088) 223 333 Fax : (6088) 240 401 Email: reservation@jesseltonhotel.com
© The Jesselton Hotel

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