After ten days spent travelling around peninsula Malaysia and Borneo enjoying super weather, the rain lashed down as our plane landed at Kota Kinabalu. The hotel's welcome however was warm and efficient, the reception area impressive and our rooms in the Tanjung Wing spacious, beautifully decorated and with a stunning view across manicured lawns out to the South China Sea. Bathrooms were large and luxurious and balconies well furnished with a sofa, chair and table. Thankfully after a couple of hours the weather reverted to its hot and sunny norm so we were able to make full use of this! It was particularly pleasant sitting out there in the evening, G and T in hand, watching the sun set. (The hotel has a handy little shop selling beers, nibbles and the all important tonic water to go with the duty free gin we'd brought with us! - Just as an aside, be warned, tonic water is extremely hard to find in Malaysia. Hardly any supermarkets stock it!) The hotel shop is however very well stocked and you can pay for anything - even the odd can of beer or soda by charging it to your room.
The hotel was pretty busy while we were there but never felt overcrowded - always plenty of loungers and the beach, whilst relatively small was hardly used and was kept pristine by staff raking the sand.
Ironically we'd chosen this hotel over the Rasa Ria due to its proximity to the town but one trip there was more than enough! Maybe we were unlucky on the afternoon we went (there had been some exceptionally high tides) but the stench along the seafront was totally nauseating (not the usual harbour aroma of fish and diesel but much worse - drains and sewage) KK is also rather reminiscent of a somewhat down at heel Blackpool - high rise condos, outlet malls and metal shuttered bars, giving the whole place a bit of a seedy atmosphere.
Back at STAR we ate at Coco Joes on two occasions - lovely setting and okay, the drinks (particularly wine) is expensive but the food is delicious. The seafood platter was particularly memorable, featuring prawns, lobster, mussels, crab and smoked salmon on a bed of ice) For a simpler meal the fish and chips is delicious and reasonably priced. We also tried and can thoroughly recommend the Chinese Restaurant . Super food and very helpful and knowledgable staff happy to help with suggestions re. the menu. It was also very good value. One good alternative to eating in the hotel is the Mediterranean restaurant on tanjung Aru beach - about a half mile walk away or a 10 MR taxi ride).
Went on the 5 Island tour organised by Beach Bums from the hotel jetty. Glad we went as it did give us an impression of the islands but weren't overly impressed by the trip. The beaches get very crowded, particularly at lunchtime, Most tours (ours included) lay on a sort of communal buffet with pretty mediocre lukewarm food. However the snorkelling is good - the quantity and colours of the fish are amazing - and it was good to see the monitor lizards on Sepi.
The boys also played golf at STAR's sister resort, the Rasa Ria (hiring clubs etc.. isn't cheap but saved the hassle of lugging them all round Malaysia). Also visited the orangutangs at RR's nature reserve but felt that it seemed a bit like a zoo, albeit a very good one - far preferred the sanctuary at Semmengogh on Sarawak. on balance we were glad we'd chosen STAR over the Rasa Ria. While the latter's on a lovely beach its a bit isolated and in our opinion STAR has a slightly more exclusive yet still friendly air.
To sum up we loved The Tanjung Aru as a hotel but probably would not return to Kota Kinabalu or recommend the city over other destinations in Malaysia.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Asiatravel.com Holdings, Expedia, Agoda, Hotel.de, AsiaRooms, Orbitz, HotelTravel.com, Despegar.com, Travelocity, Ctrip TA, Odigeo, TripOnline SA and Tingo so you can book your Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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