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“Well worth the trip.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu 88100, Malaysia   |  
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Ranked #3 of 92 hotels in Kota Kinabalu
England
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Well worth the trip.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

As soon as we arrived, we both felt wonderfully relaxed, the lobby area was very classy and check-in delat with swiftly. Room was lovely, but the mountain wasn't, more tree view. Having seen the ocean view, we upgraded, had to be done. No question. Although having a 10% service charge applied to upgrade is stupid beyond words. No idea?
We had booked on a room only basis, as the breakfast/eve meal would have put £100 a day onto the price. I cannot eat £25 worth of food at breakfast, and didn't want buffet food evey night. The food was, as expected, great, The American breakfast, ordered to the room at 58 RM was more than enough for two, saving 150 RM a day! We tried 3 restaurants, all good. Tatu being the best, with the most varied menu.
A must is a 5 minute trip from the marina for snorkelling, do NOT have the island's buffet/bbq. Utter rip-off at 80 RM for slop that isnt worth 30. There is a cafe, offering better food at reasonable prices.

Room Tip: Seaview, no question. If not available in Kinabalu wing, floor 5 and above.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (444)
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London
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

It pains me to write this review as I am a long standing fan of Shangri La and in fact stayed at the one in Kuala Lumpur for 2 nights prior to arriving at this one. I’ve tried to be fair and given it an average rating as it’s not a poor hotel – just not a 5 star . Check in was smooth, reception lady, Rujilan, was lovely. She asked if we were on honeymoon or celebrating a special occasion and we said it was a delayed anniversary treat. She told us that we would receive a surprise the next day (in fact we received a ‘surprise’ that very night!). While filling in our details we were given freezing cold flannels and a cool drink. We were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a Kinabulu club room but declined as we didn’t really plan to eat at the hotel. We were led to our room on 2 floor (1st floor UK)
Room looked very dated, very old carpet and tired looking furniture and instead of a mountain view had a view of tennis court and tree trunks. There was a pair of dirty socks someone had left behind under the counter, the shower filled up with water as you showered, the balcony way filthy. It was shocking for a SL property. We called reception to double check the room was the right one. We said we had booked a mountain view room and they assured us it was indeed the correct room. I didn’t unpack my bags that night as I knew I couldn’t spend 7 nights here. I was so upset I didn’t sleep a wink. The next morning when we met our rep from Kuoni we explained the problem. They moved us to what was basically a replica of the same room on the 5th floor (minus the socks and dirty balcony). Although the view was lovely I can’t describe our disappointment, especially as we had just come from the SL hotel in KL (see my review for that hotel). Parts of the room was dusty. Wardrobes smelt of not having been opened and some of the furniture had huge chips. Mini bar fridge was left empty for you to purchase your own stuff for – great for me as I don’t really use mini bars (there’s a supermarket a short taxi ride away). The hotel provides complimentary water and ice. Walls seemed really thin (I could hear person next door having a shower), people walking along the corridors outside the room and the banging of some kind of furniture early every morning – never figured out exactly where it came from. There’s complimentary wi-fi but it kept cutting out on all our devises so had to keep switching off and switching back on.
Enough about the 3 star quality rooms. Swimming pool was wonderful and I’m not generally a fan of pools. There’s the kid’s section which leads around to the adult side. There are 3 water slides which hubby and I used unashamedly. We also played the water fight game when there were no kids using it. The beach on the other hand is not swimmable and the water to both sides is filthy – filled with empty wrappers etc (see photos). The health suite was also nice. Men and women are separate and there are 2 individual Jacuzzi baths. There’s an activity schedule – bird watching, games, cocktail making, etc. I really enjoyed the water aerobics and Paul, the instructor was great and made the classes lots of fun. Ate at the buffet restaurant one night – lots of choice but nothing outstanding. If you come out of the hotel, turn right and walk for about 7-8 mins there’s food stalls selling really delicious food (including lots of fresh fish) very cheaply. The sunset bar has a breath taking view.
Staff at the hotel are really helpful, friendly and professional. We had our bed decorated with rose petals and had some yummy chocolate cake brought to our room as a surprise one afternoon. It's a shame that there is no shuttle bus into KK. Taxis from the hotel to KK cost 50 MYR but if you walk outside the hotel and hail one from the road, it'll cost 10 or 15 MYR All in all the hotel itself is nice but the rooms really need updating. If I had to I would stay here again but not at the price we paid.

Room Tip: Ensure you have a room on the 3rd floor or above if you've booked a mountain view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed for three nights in February. The service at check in was flawless, everyone was very attentive and we were checked in very quickly. Our room was on the 5th floor - it was a Mountain View room, and we did have a nice view of the mountains. The room had a small balcony too. The resort itself is lovely - lots of food choices, a large pool and in very nice surroundings.

Our room included a breakfast buffet - this is very busy, but we never had to wait for a table, and the food was always being topped up so we never had to wait. The choice was amazing! We also ate in the same restaurant for lunch and dinner - there are buffet options but the a la carte menu is cheaper and the portions are more than enough. Room service is similarly priced and also very good portions and very good service.

The pool is large, with different areas for different people (a kids pool, a little water park, an infinity pool etc). There are lots of sun loungers, but the ones in the shade do get taken quickly. We went to the pool one morning around 9am and there were lots of towels on loungers but very few people on the loungers or in the pool...

The Sunset bar is advertised as being a great place to see the sunset. It is, but be warned - lots of people go there so if you are lucky enough to get a table / sofa then there will be people all around you. The pavement area to the left of the bar actually has better views and you don’t have to buy a drink!

Speaking of which, we left the sunset bar and rushed back to our room because my boyfriend was not feeling well - half an hour later and it was obvious he had got food poisoning. Not something you expect in this kind of hotel. It was an even bigger shock given that we had been in Asia for 3 weeks already, eating local food with no problems at all. The staff tried to help - sending up energy drinks and replacing the next days breakfast buffet with room service breakfast. But, to prove where the food poisoning had come from (we hadn’t left the resort all day), the hotel required that we pay for a doctor to visit. No offers of refunds / discounts were made.

Check out was very slow - check out time is 12pm and although the queues do not look very long, but each person seems to take a long time to check out - having to pay for extras, disputing amounts etc.

We got a taxi from the hotel to the airport - unfortunately it seems to be a fixed fare of 30 RM even though the journey takes less than 5 minutes.

We booked this rather than the Rasa Ria as it looked closer to the town. It’s not walking distance though, we would have had to get a taxi or the hotel shuttle. Overall, this is a nice hotel, but we were let down by a bad experience with food and drink.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stayed from March 1st 2013 for 5 nights in this hotel. We had a club room (9417) on the top floor where the views of the sea, gardens and sunset were fabulous. I would imagine even the garden view rooms would have good views from the top floor as this hotel has panoramic views all round.

A couple of days before arriving we had emailed the hotel to ask if they could arrange to get us booked on the North Borneo Railway and after checking in we asked if they had managed to secure us two tickets. Many thanks to the member of staff who had read the email, rang the railway station direct and managed to get us a cancellation. A wonderful day out, highly recommended.

Having the club room allows you access the club lounge serving tea/coffee all day and from 6.30-8.30p.m wine, spirits, beer and soft drinks are served. Buffet style food is also available and not just nibbles, you can have 3 courses here, the food is superb. On reading 737wendy's review about the chaotic breakfast in the main room, we avoided this by having breakfast in the club lounge where it was tranquil and sitting out on the terrace is a peaceful way to start the day.

We didn't have a problem getting sunbeds (no cushions, a bit uncomfortable) preferring to be in the gardens than round the pool where there may have been a problem getting a sunbed as the hotel was extremely busy the weekend we arrived. The grounds are extensive and very well kept with the Sunset bar on the peninsular and Coco Joe's right on the sea front.

We took the hotel mini bus to the sister hotel Rasa Ria to visit the Orangutan sanctuary (also recommended) and did notice when walking around their grounds that their sunbeds had cushions.

We had been considering a hotel in the centre of Kota Kinabalu but on visiting the town one afternoon, we were both pleased we had selected this hotel about 10-12 minutes outside the town.

We didn't think you could find anything to grumble about in this hotel and would certainly return to it.

Room Tip: If funds allow pay for a club room with all it's benefits
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devizes, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Facilities are really good and the staff always friendly and helpful. The pool is one of the best we've ever used and seldom busy. The in house Italian restaurant was excellent and breakfast at the Tatu a great experience with efficient well trained staff always on hand with anything you need. Being close to Kota Kinabalu is a great advantage. Evening entertainment was great and the bar area is a beautiful, comfortable place to have a drink. Overall a very enjoyable visit - can't wait to return.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warsaw, Poland
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We stayed in this 5-star property for 7 nights. The hotel facility makes a great impression with nicely designed interiors and spacious gardens surrounding the hotel. Breakfasts are great and the hotel's staff is friendly. However? I have the impression that the friendliness is studied directly from the chain's manual. The hotel is located in a quite desrted area. The nearest supermarket is 25-minutes-walking distance. If you don't want to rely on hotel's hamburger-driven restaurants during a day, a local food court is some 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel. In the evening, wide variety of dining options are offered byt he hotel. They are expensive, however. No more then 2-3 tables are occupied each evening in each of the restaurants. Be prepared to explore leisure/food options by yourself. The hotel does not provide sufficient information on what it offers. You need a full day to discover it all. Check=in process is not very professional. You are asked to stay at the reception desk and the refreshments are served between the passports and copies of your reservation. Rooms are nicely desgined by they do not differ much from 4-star-hotels. Conciergerie is responsible for bringing the luaggage from your room so don't bother to ask them for any local information/you'll be redirected to the reception. Please be aware that you are always asked to indicate your expected departure time from the hotel. Please reflect two hours more than you really need because they programm your roomkeys on this basisi. If you leave 15 minutes later, your roomkeys will stop working and you'll have to hunt for the cleaning lady to give you access to your room. On top of that, my bill was higher than the roomrate indicated on the reservation slip so be careful.

To sum up, it is a well maintained hotel facility with plenty of leisure options. However, the room rate of 230 euro per night was a bit exaggerated for the quality of service. The hotel seems to be a tourist factory where "an individual treatment" is simply impossible to be implemented.

Contrary to other reviews, we were always able to find a place at the pool and our impression about the beach was very positive. We also used the CHI Spa and we can truly recommend it to othe hotel guests. The lqdies working there qre incredible. They are able to put you in a kind of "hypnosis" by their treatment.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I really would like to give this hotel full-marks, but there were just one or two things that niggled me. Things that could easily be given some thought.

On a positive note, the staff are friendly and courteous and a credit to the hotel. Our room was nice and clean with a lovely view of the sea. The location of this hotel is excellent. We went into town daily for a good choice of food and caught the ferry over to Sapi Island for some excellent snorkeling.

The negatives - breakfast was noisy and chaotic. The person dressed up in an animal costume reminded me of Butlins in the 1980s. His squeaky voice was somewhat annoying - but I appreciate that children love this kind of thing and families would be very happy here. There were no cushions on the sunbeds. We took the hotel bus to its sister hotel, where they have cushions on sunbeds. However, not at the Aru. This makes it very uncomfortable to relax by the pool. The sea-front was disappointingly small and the food at the beach restaurant is over-priced and not good quality.

The hotel entertainment was amusing. 'Heart and Soul' are three female singers, accompanied by a male keyboard player. The keyboard player is self-sufficient and plays to a good standard. However, the three girls just appeared to be going through the motions - without any emotion at all. I witnessed one picking out her ears whilst another was attempting a version of the Power of Love and another checking out her nails during Simply the Best. Amusing but passionless and lacking any heart and with no soul.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Tanjung Wing. It was clean and the room was spacious.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

Address: 20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu 88100, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Kota Kinabalu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A paradise for the senses surrounded by natural beautyA gentle breeze caresses your face as you wake to the sound of waves lapping the beach. The balcony opens up to an inspiring vista of sparkling coral islands and swaying of palm trees. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, bordered by crystal clear waters and lush vegetation Sophistication surrounds you in a lavishly decorated suite inspired by Borneo’s rich cultural heritage. Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu, is a perfect tropical getaway, a luxurious tranquil retreat just a short drive from the city.Yet, excitement beckons as you set out to discover all Kota Kinabalu’s delights. Making your way to Kinabalu National Park, you are thrust into a jungle paradise of natural wonders, rugged landscapes and scenic beauty. From the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, to the famous Orangutans in their natural habitat, it only gets more breathtaking every step of the way.The afternoon is spent exploring the picturesque town of Kota Belud. As Sabah’s largest and most popular open market, you find gems of all sorts, ranging from handmade handicrafts to mouth-watering local delights like natural honey.Back at the resort, you look forward to a sunset cruise, which departs from STAR Marina, to catch Borneo's famous sunset. Not long after, you wind down at Coco-Joe’s Bar & Grill. Lounging atop one of the beach-dining platforms, over cocktails and a delectable seafood tower, you continue to enjoy the sound of overlapping waves on the shores of Sunset Beach. A pampering session at CHI, The Spa rounds off the day. With treatments based on traditional Asian healing philosophies, you lose yourself in an enchanted and indulgent journey, all on the resort’s private spa island.For every experience here, you are surrounded by natural beauty. And it all begins at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Resort And Spa
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Shangri Las Tanjung Aru Resort
Shangri Las Tanjung Aru Hotel
Shangri La Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

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