Kudat Riviera Resort

Probably many of us never heard about Kudat Riviera Hotel and resort in Kudat. It doesn't really looks like a hotel but a large villas or bungalows. Actually we have one in Kudat and it is situated along the coastal area at Kelambu beach in Kudat. Actually 'Riviera' is an Italian term originally from the Middle Ages for the coast of Liguria. The term is now more generally applied to any coastal area popular with tourists, particularly in a warm areas. Since the term of 'Riviera' suits perfectly with this new tourist attraction, now the area is officially referred to as Kudat Riviera hotel or resort.

The value of land in this area 'Kudat Riviera' had gone up drastically since it was declared and opened for tourism development and now the whole area will cost you more than RM 70,000.00 per acre. The area around Kudat Riviera was originally belong to the local people but was sold to Exquisite Borneo Villas (EBV) in partnership with Touchdown World Travel Group a European-based global tour operator and tourism marketing company. Now at the price of RM70,000 per acre, no Sabahan wanted to develop and own these properties. I think this is beyond afforadble to Sabahan

Now with houses or luxury villas on it, the land prices now should go up to RM500,000, the normal prices for bungalows in Kota Kinabalu with much smaller sizes, 1/4 of an acre. One problem often sited is the remoteness of this area. Actually it is not. The road connecting to this area from Kudat city is well-maintained and accessible throughout the year because this place is dry and sparsely populated.

Natives do not live at the beaches. They live far away from the beaches. Although the lands there originally belong to the local but they prefer not to establish any local people settlement there. This could be due to the fact that this place is barren, not even good for dense coconut planting and to live as close as possible to the main road. Distance from Kota Kinabalu, is only 200 km traveling depending on the traffic condition will take about 1.5 - 2.5 hours. There are flight available from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Kudat Airport. The journey to Kudat with a plane, in just one hour.

It is expected that Kudat Riviera hotel or resort will be able to boost tourism sector for Kudat region in the coming years. An exclusive development including Kudat Karma will play a huge role in attracting well-heeled tourists to this part of the world that has recently become known as the Kudat Riviera.

Right now, development work is well under way and other exclusive hideaways adjacent to the beach or in the foothills immediately behind the beachfront. The projects include Kudat Karma consists of 19 villas of between two and five bedrooms, Kelambu Cove now with one exclusive villa of six bedrooms, Beach @ The Tip with eight villas of three to four bedrooms and Coconut Reef Club with 10 villas of between two and four bedrooms.

Already, several imported Javanese rice barns have been erected on large plots of beachfront land. These beachside bungalows are colourfully decorated in regional-sourced textiles and fitted with the most luxurious amenities. The Kudat Riviera will offer a range of exclusive activities for guests who are used to the best. Watersports will be high on the recreational agenda for most guests.

Visitors who loves big boy toys like quad bikes are already in place for those who want a little sand dune action. All the bungalows within the Kudat Riviera development will be private retreats with their own swimming pool, beachside cabanas, state-of-the-art home entertainment equipment and barbecue facilities. This facilities surely a place for people who wants to relax and get away from the city.

Helicopter services to access and dive in remote reefs, trek in remote rainforests, climb Mount Kinabalu, whitewater raft the Padas River or enjoy sunset cocktails on a remote island is available. Truly Kudat Riviera will be an ultimate tourist attraction in Kudat region given time with right promotion both from private sectors and government. It is expected that Kudat Riviera will provide job opportunities for the people of Kudat and its spin-off will goes to the local as well.

Kudat Riviera has done remarkable well since it was opened. It achievement in 2007 included two awards from the prestigious CNBC/Daily Mail International Property Awards in categories for Best Architecture and Best Development, and also the Top of the Region - Finest Development in the Asia Pacific Region from Asia Pacific Tropical Homes Magazine

The Kudat Riviera hotel or resort will position Sabah alongside its neighbors Bali and Thailand, or Boracay in Philippines which avidly market luxury villas to the high-end tourism market as a cornerstone of their tourism plans.

Bali, Thailand, Boracay in Philippines, the Indian Ocean and Caribbean have offered super luxury private villa estates to the premium top-end tourism industry as an exclusive alternative to hotels for many years, creating successful markets for high-yield, low-impact tourism.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Masidi Manjun said, "The luxury tourism villa market is a great and long-overdue move to help boost Sabah's image and global awareness. As well as filling a missing gap in Sabah's tourism accommodation portfolio, this move puts Sabah on the global map and as a result, indirectly helps all sectors of the tourism industry in Sabah from backpacker-level up to our five-star hotels.

"The greater the awareness for the destination, the greater the demand for all levels of foreigners to visit us; so all players in the tourism industry get to benefit, not only hotels but ground operators, activity and wildlife centres, water sports operators, shops and restaurants to name but a few. We welcome and appreciate EBV's efforts to bring the luxury villa market to Sabah, and see it being the start of a significant uplift in awareness for Sabah."

With the successful marketing of the Kudat Riviera, the global trend of growth in this lucrative villa market is now set to boom in Sabah, one of the few remaining destinations that has not capitalized on to-date. Many overseas investors and high-end luxury hotel groups are now looking closely at Sabah to further develop this market, which will do wonders for Sabah's tourism industry as a whole.

A spokesperson for EBV said, "The villa market can and should be an ever-expanding one for Sabah. Bali alone has well in excess of 2000 villas, with Thailand closely following behind. While EBV has introduced their first 30 exclusive luxury villas and Nexus Resorts Karambunai has played a role with their investment-home development, there is still substantial room for further growth in this market.

"Great interest and plans are already in place for others to follow suit and Sabah being a diverse destination holds many different location types for villas - surrounding the mountain, on islands, Sabah's coastline beaches and in rainforest/wildlife areas.

"It is very important that things are kept focused though. The global target audience for this high-end market is very particular and it is vital that strong environmental consideration and a medium-to-low density philosophy are maintained. It is simply not the case to cram as many units in one piece of land possible for maximum short- term gain.

"The international new-age jet-set simply will not buy them and will not come on holiday to stay in them. The key selling point is the fact that units occupy large areas of private land affording privacy and exclusivity, and that they see Sabah is devoted to protecting, and not over developing small areas of land.

"Strong environmental practices need to be in place by default primarily to protect Sabah's natural wonders, but also to ensure the investors and visiting guests are interested in the first place.

"This has been the backbone of the Kudat Riviera's success to date, as so many destinations have developed and the premium tourists now seek the opposite. It is also vital to have the global sales and marketing ability to sell and rent such villas. EBV is fortunate to have the backing of parent company, Touchdown World Travel Group, a European-based global tour operator and tourism marketing company with extensive marketing reach and experience in this market segment in over 70 countries worldwide."

EBV's Kudat Riviera will feature 30 exclusive private villas, complete with private butler and staff, their own private swimming pool and tropical gardens, offering the ultimate exclusivity to guests in Sabah.

Each private villa estate sits on a land plot of between 1-6 acres of beachfront, hilltop land and private coves, spread over 6 kilometers of idyllic coastline. Also featuring several restaurants, recreational facilities and a luxury spa, The Kudat Riviera, or ‘KR' as it is known, has become a destination in itself.

The villa owners are resident overseas and many have supported the Malaysian government's Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) initiative.

They may visit their residence only once or twice a year, and the rest of the time EBV will manage and rent out their properties to high-end tourist guests as part of the super-luxury KR resort.

A spokesperson for EBV and the Touchdown Group said, "Concentrating on low-impact and environmentally-friendly ‘responsible' tourism, EBV's tourism villa project prides itself on the use of natural materials throughout, extensive private land plots with minimal number of people per acre and a low-impact footprint on the natural environment.

Imagine going to a hotel where your room is 6,000 square feet (a villa) and you have a private pool and garden over an acre in size! Not only that but you have a private butler and staff to look after you throughout your stay, as well as private chefs to cook for you in your villa if you don't want to visit one of the many resort restaurants.

"From KR, guests can charter a helicopter, yacht or four-wheel drive and visit the many other varied attractions of Sabah, including idyllic islands, Mt Kinabalu, Sepilok or any of the other wonders of Sabah. It's the perfect holiday and destination for our esteemed guests".

KR is scheduled to open its doors to world later this year with its Phase-One portfolio of seven luxury villas, restaurants and activities/tours and excursions. This will grow over the following 12 months to its full compliment of 30 villas and the Coconut Reef Club Spa.

Already, the Kudat Riviera is becoming a desired place to visit by mega-yacht owners from around the world with its crystal clear waters and idyllic beaches, supported by a luxury resort infrastructure. In the past two months, two such yachts graced the shores of Kudat, enjoying the Rungus hospitality and the fresh fish offered by the local fishermen who enjoy engaging with the international jetsetters on-board the yachts.

The Touchdown Group has placed a massive effort on marketing Sabah as a destination for mega-yacht owners, and sees Sabah as the potential epicentre of the growing popularity of the South East Asian cruising circuit.

Last year, Touchdown brought in and handled seven mega-yachts with a combined value of some US$100-200 million. Owners and guests on board relax and enjoy the wondrous clear seas and idyllic islands, but also regularly venture ashore to buy provisions and gifts, charter helicopters to take them around Sabah to visit the many tourism attractions in the State, and more often than not, the owners donate large sums of money towards nature conservation, particularly for the orang-utans and sea turtles.

The greatest benefit is their high-end profile, which provides greater awareness for Sabah as a destination suitable for the rich and famous.

All in all, the introduction of both the luxury tourism villa market and mega-yacht marine tourism industry sector in Sabah benefits the State's tourism industry immensely.

For more info about Kudat and Tip of Borneo visit www.gokudat.com. They provide tour services to the Tip of Borneo at discounted price. This services is run by a local people from Kudat region.
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