The newest shopping mall in Kota Kinabalu opened its door early this month. Suria Sabah aspires to be the premier shopping mall in Kota Kinabalu city centre, with 700,000 square feet of retail space. I read that this is part of the project to turn Kota Kinabalu city seaside into a waterfront attraction for locals and tourists.
The anchor tenant is Metrojaya, a retailer who specializes in departmental stores and specialty stores. As I write this, I had just returned from a trip to Suria Sabah with my family. It has been weeks since we had a family outing and my angelic daughter was so excited to be at a new shopping mall, she had a little dance in front of the mall entrance by herself.
Where is Suria Sabah
Suria Sabah is along Jesselton Point jetty, where you board the boats to go to Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks. If you are returning from the islands, it is convenient to go to Suria Sabah for a meal, or to hang out for the rest of the day. Or you can pick up stuff like sun-screens, water, snacks on your way to the islands.
Suria Sabah is across the road from the first supermarket in Sabah, Tong Hing Supermarket. Tong Hing’s retail concept has always been different from being the lowest priced retailer. As far as I know, you can only find Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream here, which will cost you about RM30 for a small cup. Basically, more than 20 times what you pay for if you were buying Wall’s or Nestle ice-cream.
Suria Sabah is also close by to Wisma Merdeka, at one time the most popular mall in Kota Kinabalu. It is close by to the Sunday Street Fair at Gaya Street. Location-wise, Suria Sabah is in a prime spot, although locals would expect the traffic to be even worse than it is now. Within walking distance from hotels such as Hyatt International, or the numerous budget hotels and backpackers lodges in Kota Kinabalu city.
For now though, less than 10% of the retail outlets are opened. It looks beautiful, but a shopping mall without retailers and shoppers isn’t exactly a shopping destination yet. Aside from Metrojaya, there isn’t much to see.
If you want a place to eat, head to the lower ground floor. There is a Japanese-style shabu-shabu restaurant, Kenny Roger’s Roaster, Pizza Hut and KFC. We had dinner at Pizza Hut, basically for 2 adults and that came up to RM 40. My angelic girl spent more time entertaining the couple at the next table than she did eating her dinner.
By the way, if anyone knows where there is a singing and dancing club for kids in Kota Kinabalu, please contact me. It would make a very nice Christmas present for my angelic girl.
The merchandise in Metrojaya is beautiful, and since the Mega Sales Carnival is on, there are plenty of items being sold at discount prices. I saw a beautiful set of cotton bedsheets that was going for 50%. You will still have to pay RM250 for it, but it is still a good price. You will not find the merchandise and brands in Metrojaya anywhere else in Sabah.
Whether it is enough to sustain their sales is another matter, as they are going after the mid-income market. Parkson was not very successful in Sabah when they tried it 10 years ago. They should do well this holiday season, with unique merchandise and good discounts. Will it be enough to carry through after Chinese New Year in February 2010?
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