Rooftop @ Le Méridien

Rooftop @ Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu – Sunset in Motion

Rooftop @ Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu

Words: Claire Matheson
Photos: Monica Tindall

From its elevated position on the fifteenth floor, Rooftop @ Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu might have one of the most sensational vistas in Malaysia. From their viewing deck, guests can look out across the turquoise waters of Sabah’s coastline, taking in everything from Gaya Island, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, to the bustling Filipino Market, Pasar Malam and Kota Kinabalu Wet Market far below. Sabah is famed for some of Malaysia’s best sunsets, and the Rooftop @ Le Méridien has an unequalled viewing position for watching those golden rays dip below the horizon. A ‘Sunset in Motion’, here Sabah’s natural beauty is combined with the vibrant animation of the streetscape and dockside action of Kota Kinabalu. 

cocktail bar KK
Bubbly – Rooftop @ Le Méridien

Rooftop @ Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu – Sunset in Motion

However, the drawcard of sunset gazing at the Rooftop @ Le Méridien may actually be outshone by the two incredible glow-in-the-dark murals by Wilson Ng. One highlights the diverse and spectacular marine life, with whale sharks, turtles, octopus and jellyfish spanning two walls on the Northern end. The other features the jungle trees, flowers, and hanging vines of Sabah’s biodiverse forests with an eye-catching pygmy elephant. Wilson’s artwork can be found at several locations around Kota Kinabalu. Still, his use of spectacular neon glow-in-the-dark paints gives these murals a sense of movement and dynamism that mirrors the shifting liveliness of the surroundings. They are a collectible on your Instagram feed.

Each mural sits on top of an elevated astroturf platform, decorated with festive string lights, which can be arranged with normal seating or are malleable in their use for themed set-ups, private parties or functions. Running the full length of the Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu building, every seat has a front-row prime position. Sea-green and blue lounging sofas play off the colour schemes in Wilson Ng’s murals, accented by cheerful yellow and red cushions, allowing for the perfect reclining angle to watch the sky and sea. 

cocktail bar KK
Rooftop @ Le Méridien

Sunset in Motion

We seat ourselves directly next to the glass balustrade and prepare to witness the glorious molten sunset turning the entire bay gold with perfect light, highlighting the white sand beaches and shallow coral reefs nestled amongst their limestone island formations. Tonight we are raising a glass with General Manager, Kanit Sangmookda, Director of Food and Beverage, Pavin Ravindran and Director of Sales and Marketing, Bryan Teo. The three together are unwaveringly charming, with high energy and a combined wit. They inform us that the Kota Kinabalu airport flightpath runs overhead. The occasional plane overhead makes for a fun drinking game. Seeing planes in the air again after pandemic lockdowns is undoubtedly a reason for rejoicing, and others around us quickly join the fun. Kanit, Pavin and Teo take turns pointing out sites and activity below, and there’s plenty to captivate our attention. Our eyes are drawn to the kinetic energy of the fishing trawlers coming in at the end of the day and emptying their catches. In contrast, at the other end of the 180-degree view, luxury yachts are moored in front of statuesque multimillion-dollar oceanfront mansions. Yet the dichotomy becomes a harmony in the evening light. At the end of the week, everyone has something to celebrate. 

Rooftop @ Le Méridien
Sunset in Motion

The Rooftop @ Le Méridien Menu

At Le Méridien, each hotels’ location pays a visible homage to the art, culture and cuisine from the area. Here in Kota Kinabalu, Rooftop @ Le Méridien has teamed with notable local cocktail savant Rizal ‘Junior’ Utto. Junior has worked with the Marriott team for many years and has been a key driver in establishing Marriott’s most notable cocktail sensations and locations across West and East Malaysia. A true Sabahan, he has devised a menu for Rooftop @ Le Méridien that honours local signature ingredients. 

The Rooftop @ Le Méridien Happiness Hour special offers any four of Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu’s five signature cocktails for only RM100. Cocktails include the Oh’ Bambangan, the Wakid Si Gaman, the Gin Piasau, the Kupi Semalam and the Tipsy T, ranging in individual price from RM28-RM40 nett. Ingredients of note include a local lihing rice wine, fresh Sabah pineapple, local favourite Tenom coffee, bambangan, and plenty of coconut. One of these fabulous mixes would easily go for RM50 back in KL, so four for RM100 will make you very happy indeed! In addition to their Happier Hour cocktail specials, the Rooftop @ Le Méridien also offers eight glasses of Carlsberg draught for RM100.

Craft Cocktails Kota Kinabalu

The Oh’ Bambangan (RM28) features rum, fresh coconut water and bambangan puree – a local wild mango that is particularly pungent and intense. It comes served in its own colourful woven basket with slices of dehydrated pineapple. If you love mango but aren’t into super sweet cocktails, this is the drink for you. Its golden hue is similarly golden in taste, matching the sunset unfolding around us.

The Tipsy T (RM35) has a bourbon whisky base with fresh local Sabah sweet pineapple and tamarind juice. The smoky oaked bourbon brings out a tobacco spice layer when combined with the tamarind for a richer, more resplendent finish. The added sweetness of the pineapple counteracts the bitter tanginess of the tamarind and bourbon for an alluring, almost seductive aftertaste.

Rooftop @ Le Méridien
Oh’ Bambangan
Rooftop @ Le Méridien
Tipsy T

Food Menu

We can’t help but be tempted by their grilled satay. Are you even a Malaysian rooftop bar unless you have premium, moreish chicken and beef skewers with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce, served with cucumber and compressed rice cubes? Of course not! And we wouldn’t be proper guests if we didn’t partake. These are an elevation of their street fare version. The meat is juicy and still sizzling on the plate, with higher quality cuts of meat. Le Méridien’s in-house peanut sauce is somehow sweeter yet saltier, with exactly the right amount of spicy chilli heat. 

We are also served a bowl of Roasted Peanuts dusted with spice – a great accompaniment for snacking. Also recommended are their Salted Egg Pepper Squid and their Fried Spicy Chicken Wings. Highly rated bottles of Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet or Autumn Riesling, as well as their Max’s Shiraz or Chardonnay from South Australia, are included in the Happier Hour special promotion pricing. Argentinian Astica Wines make for an unusually high-quality house red and white. They also have some wonderful prosecco bubbly for those who want to bask in the revelry.

cocktail bar KK

The atmosphere is made all the more fun by Bar Manager Rodney, who flits between tables, taking orders, sharing laughs, and encouraging guests to have a dance. From Wednesday to Saturday, the live music duo Matahari (Malay for sun) plays, with acoustic guitar and sultry vocals giving a chilled, vibrant sound. Better than any Spotify playlist, Matahari’s cover versions add a bewitching flair to each of the chosen hits, creating a new, unique sounding spin that is entirely their own. Even the most animated conversations fall quiet to listen.

Between the live music, the enticing menu celebrating local flavours, the extremely reasonable prices, the fun Le Meridien team, and the buzzing vitality of the scene below, this is definitely one of Sabah’s best sunset spots. The vibrant movement of this beautiful coastal city is enthralling to watch. Whether you’re staying in one of their sophisticated rooms, or if you’re just popping in for drinks or dinner, Rooftop @ Le Méridien’s Sunset in Motion is exactly where you should spend your next evening in Sabah. For us, we take the lift down from the fifteenth floor to the Dinner Buffet at Latest Recipe, happier for the Happier Hour experience. For more information on staying and dining at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu, check out our accompanying article.

Reasons to visit Rooftop @ Le Méridien: sunset in motion – views of the bustling harbour as the sun bids farewell to the day; craft cocktails; happy vibe.

Rooftop @ Le Méridien
Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens,
Sinsuran Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia 88000
+60 88-322 222

Find more travel recommendations for Sabah here and stay up to date with the latest gourmet happenings around Malaysia here and here.


  1. Le Méridien has a good location, in the city centre but facing the sea front. Gorgeous sunset.

  2. What a location to enjoy the great food, splendid views and gorgeous sunsets!

  3. I remember being to KK when Le Meridien wasn’t even built yet!

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