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“Ahhhhhh, Shangri-La” 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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15% off room rate
Ranked #3 of 90 hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Ahhhhhh, Shangri-La”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

We visited to celebrate my wife's birthday. Club Room with Ocean view, spectacular views and very quiet. Having advised of the celebration, we entered our room to find Birthday wishes written in red rose petals on the bed, and a bath full of flowers and petals. Gorgeous.
Club staff are fabulous and provides a good chance to meet other travelers, evening drinks becomes a cocktail party.
Peppino provided a great meal and superb atmosphere, topped by the staff serenading Fiona with a special birthday song.
We like Shangri-La, the personal attention and welcoming attitude cannot be beat.

Room Tip: Club Room with Ocean views
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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England
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
96 helpful votes 96 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
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 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
33 reviews 33 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
24 helpful votes 24 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.

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

Also Known As:
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Hotel
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Resort And Spa
Shangri Las Tanjung Aru Resort
Shangri Las Tanjung Aru Hotel
Tanjung Aru
Shangri La Tanjung Aru
Shangri La Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Romantic 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):
Just ten minutes from Kota Kinabalu International Airport the resort is set in 25 acres of award-winning gardens along the sweeping bay with a private beach overlooking the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. The contemporary rooms provide modern luxury and are situated in two separate wings overlooking the mountain or stunning South China Sea. The resort offers a wealth of recreational facilities such as a beach, four tennis courts, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course, Leisure Centre, fully equipped Health Club and Borneo’s largest kids club. Other facilities include a brand new 2,000 sq. meter pool with tapered shoreline and infinity section for adults, Sunset Bar, Coco-Joe’s Bar & Grill, Health Club and Cool Box Ice Cream Bar.In February, 2013 the resort unveiled a brand new STAR Marina. At the STAR Marina, one can choose to go sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing or take a day trip to the island for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. Additionally, the marina also offers private charter services, fishing and diving courses and equipment for rent. With seven restaurants and bars, the resort offers a multitude of dining experiences and culinary creations ranging from Asian to international favorites and is also home to the award winning CHI, The Spa. ... more   less 
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