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“Super hotel but KK disappoints” 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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Special Price
15% off room rate
Ranked #3 of 93 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Hampshire England UK
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Super hotel but KK disappoints”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2009

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.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 12, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to post your feedback.

While I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay in our resort, I will be passing on your comments regarding KK city to the appropriate local authority departments.

I have passed on your kind comments about your restaurant experiences to the team.

Thanks again for your valuable comments. I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back.
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2,341 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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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Singapore
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2009

The hotel is wonderful and the food is great! Should stay for at least 3 nites...too bad the weather was very rainy when i was there so i didnt get much sun. but the room and the comfort makes up for it...

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 3, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to share your kind feedback.

We are all thrilled that you enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2009

Stayed in the Kinabalu Wing (Club) which was worth it with all the benefits.
Room was great with good view of the sunset however, last 2 days was kinda cloudy. Room service/housekeeping was good but did not replenish fresh fruits daily as indicated. The little tiny bananas was kinda rotten looking the next day but it doesn't bother much to me. Loved the Chi Spa though a bit more costly. Will go back again sometime or maybe to check out rasa ria as this resort is crowded with family and kids.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 2, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to post your feedback.

While I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay on our Club floor, the fruit replenishment issue concerns me. Without knowing details of your stay I cannot investigate fully but rest assured we are addressing this at a general level.

Thanks again, and I trust we will be able to welcome you back soon.
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Hong Kong, China
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2009

Very comfortable and relaxing place provided. I love the CHI SPA inside the hotel, also beach and pier which is very convenient to travel to islands, love the swimming pool too. Nice Italian restaurants and hotel enviornment.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 24, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to share your kind feedback.

We are all thrilled that you enjoyed your stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2009

We have stayed at numerous resorts throughout asia including several other resorts run by the Shangri-La group and I have to say that the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru was the most disappointing.

The rooms however, are immaculate and we loved them. The beds, the bathrooms, the free internet access, plenty of storage space and the general ambience....excellent.

The pool area is however rather small considering the number of rooms the hotel has. The biggest surprise was the 'beach'......it is only a fraction of the size that I thought it would be. Clearly the photos on the internet of the beach have been done to make the beach look better. Even the resort's own hotel plan/map makes out that the beach is about the three of four times the size it really is. Very disappointing.

The Cafe Tatu, the main buffet restaurant has some good food and also some that was woeful. Likewise the staff, some are excellent and go out to please, others interrupt you when eating to make sure that they see you sign the bill, and are grumpy. No pork, no bacon and no ham.....but there's alcohol if you want it.

The Italian restaurant upstairs we had hoped would be similar to the one at the Shangri-La Mactan Island...sadly it wasn't. Not a single pizza on the menu. When you have kids, that's something important ! Instead it appeared pretentious and overly expensive.

Most resorts we have been to had areas where guests could leave books when they left. Not this one. Even the resort shop didn't have a single book/novel for sale. Why not??

The resort has a pitch and putt golf course, or so it claims. Rather, it is a long putting course! It is tiny compared to the pitch and putt course at their sister resort in Cebu, Philippines/

Overall, we thought the resort was immaculately clean and the rooms beautiful, however it simply wasn't value for money. We certainly wouldn't bother going back as there are far betterplaces elsewhere. Even their sister resort in Sabah, the Shangri-La Rasa Ria is far better value.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 29, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for taking the time to give your valuable feedback.

I sincerely apologize that we did not meet your expectations at Cafe Tatu and Peppino. Rest assured I am working with the team to address the issues you raised. We do position Peppino's as more of an adult dining outlet which is less casual than our other outlets, where Pizza is available.

Our pool and beach area are under review and your points are well taken in this area.

We do have books available in our hotel shop, so I am looking into making them more prominent and increasing the selection based on your experience.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback and best wishes from us all.
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London
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2009

Stayed for 9 nights, loved the spa and club lounge, found the restaurants disappointing, but there are many alternatives in KK. Great service especially in club lounge and around the pool, would have liked a table tennis table in pool area.

Only slight hiccup was at check out when we were charged for a room change we had never had.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 24, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and for sharing your feedback.

While I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay, I note and apologize for the billing issue and am concerned that we did not meet your expectations at our restaurants. Rest assured we are constantly striving for improvement.

I note also your comment to have a table tennis table in pool area which I will be reviewing with the team.

I trust we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2009

I'll start by saying that this is one of the best resorts we have stayed at and we couldn't fault it as far as quality of rooms, the service of the staff and the location is concerned. I would agree with a few of the other comments that the pools are small for the size of the resort and probably an adults only pool could be created at the front of the Kinabalu wing. The biggest disapointment I have with this great resort is the blatent overcharge for food and drinks. We had a fairly average meal at Cocoa Joe's and it came to over 600MYR, which was easy when a steak served with some mash and veg costs over 100 MYR. A can of diet coke by the pool will set you back 12MYR ( local supermarket has them at 1.38MYR ) . A basic beef burger is over 50MYR....and remember when you are looking at the menu prices,...there is another 15% to go on top . in summary I would advise visitors to come and enjoy this resort, BUT, buy in your own drinks and just along the road at The Mediteranean Beach Restaurant you will find top quality dining and food at half the price of the Shangri La ( Our meal, which was better quality came to only 300MYR ) . Having stayed at quite a few 5 star resorts, I think the hotel is well over priced with regards to food and I think the management should be aware that quite a few of the on line comments have reflected this.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philipdewar, Resident Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, July 24, 2009
Thank you for staying with us recently and sharing your feedback.

While I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay, I note your comments about some of our pricing. You will be pleased to note that we have just completed a complete review of our menus and have will be introducing some value items in our busy outlets to run alongside the other promotional offerings which run on an ongoing basis.

We are studying the addition of an "adult-centric" swimming pool and expect we will be finalizing it towards the end of this year, so please do let us know when you are coming back and we will keep you updated on progress with this project.

Thanks again for your feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Spa 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*
Number of rooms: 495
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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