If you plan to stay in Kota Kinabalu, you’ll have a choice of accommodation in Kota Kinabalu’s city centre or on the outskirts in beach resort. We chose the latter and stayed at the Nexus Beach Resort (30 km away in Karambunai).
Although accommodation in the city centre is more convenient for days out and activities, we wanted some down time after a busy itinerary in Sandakan. Plus, the Nexus Beach Resort offered better beaches and potentially a more relaxed, exotic location.
In this post we provide an honest review of the Nexus Beach Resort. We’ll give you the low down on the accommodation, pool complex, beach and things to do in resort. Plus, we’ll share the advantages and disadvantages of a stay at the Nexus and whether or not we would recommend it.
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One of the best things about the Nexus Beach Resort is its beautiful, natural surroundings. The gardens are pristine and as you wander around you can see the nature and wildlife of Borneo, such as monitor lizards, birds and monkeys.
The accommodation overlooks a stunning, sandy beach, with trees at each end.
Nexus Beach Resort has 236 villas, which all overlook the beach or gardens and have a small balcony.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with high quality furnishings.
In our room, we had two double beds, but requested an additional foldaway bed. This was perfect for a family of four, with young children.
The pool complex
Nexus Beach Resort has a complex of interlinked pools, with a lifeguard in attendance. The pools are fairly shallow and the water was very clean. The kids loved it.
The poolside was a pretty area, with flowers and palm trees. It was easy to find loungers with cushions and shades.
Nexus Beach Resort is located on 6km of white sandy beach. The kids spent a fantastic day just digging and building in the sand. You can find loungers and shades on the beach and in the evening, the beach bar serves cocktails.
It is a private beach, so perfect for an evening stroll at sunset.
Whilst we were there, the sea at the Nexus resort was rather rough, with some undercurrents. I didn’t let the children swim unsupervised, but we did have a lot of fun jumping the giant waves together.
Children's club at the Nexus
Another advantage for families at the Nexus resort was the full itinerary at the recreation club. They had a packed programme with inside and outside events
My children were very keen to sign up to the activities and participated in tae kwondo, arts and crafts, and Batik painting. The majority of activities were free, but they children’s club was fairly empty during our visit.
There is also a supervised kids’ club for younger children.
Restaurants at the Nexus
There are 8 different dining options at Nexus Beach Resort. These are the ones that we tried:
Sunset Bar and Grill – We had a buffet breakfast here each day and there was a great choice. It was by the beach, with a lovely view of the sea and gardens.
The Kingfisher – The food and service at the Chinese restaurant were excellent. However, the restaurant was quite empty and didn’t have much ambience.
The Penyu – This offers a mix of European and Asian options, but the food was average.
Seoul Fairway Grill – We went here for a quick lunch on our day of departure. We ordered sandwiches, which were very mediocre.
Beach Bar – This beach bar offers half-price cocktails between 4 and 5pm each day. What’s not to like?
After a very busy 2 weeks on our adventure in Borneo, it was great to put our feet up and have some down-time.
For adults travelling without children, the resort offers a spa and golf course too.
Disadvantages of Nexus Beach Resort
Distance from Kota Kinabalu
Obviously, by choosing the resort option, we were not as central for exploring Kota Kinabalu. However, it was easy to use a grab (Asian equivalent of uber) or use hotel’s shuttle buses.
On a positive note, the location was better for our white-water rafting trip, and didn’t have to leave so early.
Top tip: Avoid the journey to Kota Kinabalu at rush hour, as the traffic can be very slow.
Although I included the number of dining options as a positive, I found it rather restrictive being tied to the restaurants on site. I would rather try the hawker markets and more authentic restaurants in the city centre.
Of course, we were able to do this during the day, but it was really too expensive to return in the evening.
The small on-site shop had some basic supplies of food, drinks, gifts, and essentials. However, it was more expensive than in local shops, so we stocked up on a few essentials (crisps and beer) when we were out!
On reflection, we were really happy that we chose to stay at the Nexus Beach Resort. I would definitely recommend it (if you are not on a tight budget) and would choose to stay there again. It is perfect for families.
Although being in Karambunai added more travel time to days out, we benefitted from beautiful surroundings and relaxation. This is just the tonic we needed after a very active itinerary in Borneo.
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