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“Superb Resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

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Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Pantai Dalit Beach | P.O. Box 600, Kota Kinabalu 89208, Malaysia   |  
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Ranked #1 of 93 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
London, UK
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Superb Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

Stayed here recently with friends and had a wonderful time. Room was lovely and definitely worth paying extra for the sea view.
Construction work is currently going on at the hotel (on the ocean wing side) but this did not disrupt our stay at all (we stayed in the garden wing). Heard the noise slightly one day by the pool but that was it.
Breakfast was excellent with an endless choice of food. Plenty of choice for lunch and supper as well though quite expensive.
Glorious large beach and beautifully warm sea (though lots of jellyfish whilst we were there which made swimming interesting!).
Went to the Orang-utan sanctuary next door as well. We had just come from the jungle where we had seen them in the wild but still great to see them so close up in the sanctuary.
Service was excellent throughout the hotel (as I have come to expect from Shangri-la hotels).
We could not decide between staying here or heading out to one of the Island resorts but in the end being 3 friends travelling together we decided the Rasa Ria was a better option and we were not disappointed!

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
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3,813 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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Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

The Rasa Ria is 40 minutes outside Kota Kinabalu on the Mount Kinabalu side (taxi’s are easily found at a booth inside the airport when you arrive. you give them your destination and pre pay then go out to a numbered taxi, great system, very easy). But the distance means you cannot just pop into the town with ease, it is about a £20 taxi ride, but it also means you have a peaceful resort surrounded by nature with nothing else there, no hustle and bustle, pure tranquility. (apart from current building works which will apparently end in the spring). i was there in November when it is relatively quiet, which means you get to enjoy the beach, pool etc with not many people around at all, but it also means that most afternoons there is rain. however i got up and had breakfast early and was beside the pool by 8am when it was plenty hot and in the afternoons i would go out on excursions having had at least 6 hours sunbathing - best of both worlds! the hotel has a ‘travel agent’ who will arrange trips all over for you to do all sorts of activities. the hotel also has its own activities which are really fun and interesting, such as river excursions. the hotel has a good shop which stocks many essentials such as first aid, sun cream, a good selection of snacks, drinks , beach wear and souvenirs.
The attached orangutan sanctuary is wonderful you can get so close to them, with guaranteed viewings and take the most amazing pictures, far closer and personal than at Sepilok. i went in three times it is so wonderful, it only costs a few pounds well worth multiple visits. but cover all your skin when inside the rainforest sanctuary as there are a lot of mosquitoes.
there are also lots of mosquitos and sandflies at dusk and dawn if you are outside the hotel buildings. however, i always wore insect repellant with 50% deet and in 14 nights did not get bitten. you cannot buy repellant containing deet in Malaysia so take plenty with you, and you will probably need twice as much as you think.
The garden rooms are nearer to the sea swim area, children's pool with slide and main complex and the deluxe sea view rooms are excellent, but ask for the top floor for a view so as not to be obstructed by trees. but even better are the ocean wing top floor ocean view rooms with a large bathtub and double sun bed on a huge balcony. Where you can also see the sea from your bed! the ocean view pool and surrounding area is much quieter and peaceful (when the works are not on - they started during my visit, but i wore noise canceling headphones, when by the pool, so was not really bothered by them.) in both areas sun beds are well spread out and plentiful.

the staff throughout the hotel were amazing, so warm and friendly, nothing was too much trouble. they were always so polite and cheerful. definitely some of the best staff i have encountered in the world. the indian naan and Coast restaurants were the best with amazing food and great service.
the beach is very long and beautiful, lovely for walks as there is no-one on it, because swimming in the sea will frequently result in jelly fish stings, happened to me on day 1 and i did not go back in the sea. despite loving the sea this was not really a problem as the pools are lovely and you can still look at the sea from the poolside.

if you are looking for a get away from it all, place of peace, tranquility, nature, fantastic views in a warm friendly environment this is the place for you.

Room Tip: top floors for the best view. ocean wing far more tranquil and luxurious.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 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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4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012 via mobile

Stayed here for 2 nights. What an experience! Very nice hotel, splendid location, nice and large rooms and excellent staff!

We enjoyed this hotel a lot! Good for relaxing!

Some remarks:
- very warm welcome
- very nice and friendly staff
- good rooms with very nice beds!
- good food, a bit expensive
- all extra activities, food and drinks are quite expensive but if you don't stay too long it's okay! Just be prepared!
- Naan Restaurant was nice, had good dinner with very fresh ingredients and good service!
-Buffet dinner very nice as well.
- Due to renovations the breakfast buffet was somewhere else. A bit unorganized and massive.
- Lot of guest waste food, just take from the buffet what you eat. Lot of full plates on the tables when they left, not very nice behaviour.
- Guests in pyjamas at the breakfast?!?!?! Not done!
- Noise from the corridors in the rooms. Maybe place all the families with children on 1 floor, seperated from the honeymooners.
- Nice and special to visit the oerang utangs!

Overall very nice stay!!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 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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Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

We stayed at the Sangri-La Rasa Ria Resort at the end of our little tour of Borneo. I've already reviewed the Tanjung Aru, which we stayed in at the beginning. I gave that four stars and the Rasa Ria gets five (only just) but it's a close call and depends on what your priorities are. The Rasa Ria is set on a very long beach. The water was quite rough when we were there and we heard there were jelly fish so didn't venture in. It's backed by rainforest so has a much more rural feel than the Tanjung Aru, which is on the edge of the city.

The rooms were lovely - very well designed and very spacious. We had interconnecting rooms and the kids' room had two beds and a bath, while ours had a huge king bed and walk-in shower (no bath), which suited us very well. There were steps down to a little seating area and balcony and we had wonderful views out to sea, which is West facing so you get fabulous sunsets (the Tanjung Aru is also west facing and, not surprisingly, also has spectacular sunsets).

Breakfast was a buffet very typical of resorts of this size with pretty much everything you could think of to eat, although I wished there had been more exotic fruit. There was a great little area outside of 'street food stalls' where we ate in the evening. It was of course a glorified buffet but it worked really well and had a lot more charm than eating in the hotel restaurant. The food was great too.

The pool was nice, and warm, but not as nice or warm as the Tanjung Aru one. It had a water slide which was fun and was very prettily landscaped. There was another pool for people staying in the more expensive wing of the hotel but this didn't have a slide. The Tanjung Aru was more family friendly with more fun water amusements for the kids.

The Rasa Ria is some way out of Kota Kinabalu on the Mount Kinabalu side and is much handier for trips into the foothills than the Tanjung Aru. My daughter and I went on a one day tour into the Kinabalu National Park, which was beautiful and memorable as we saw a Rafflesia flower - the world's biggest.

The hotel has it's own miniature wildlife/orang utan reserve. You have to pay to go in and see the orangs being fed and there are various walks you can do. You can't go in on your own - it has to be with a ranger. The only free activity is seeing the baby orangs that they bring out twice a day for a bit of exercise. They are, it has to be said, beyond cute.

The only downside of our trip was the slow service at the restaurant. The street food cafe becomes a beach side restaurant during the day and on our last day we had lunch there with an interminable wait for our food. However, when we complained, the manager was extremely apologetic and gave us the whole meal - drinks and food - on the house. Hence the five stars!

So to summarise the pros and cons of the Rasa Ria and Tanjung Aru, I'd say the Tanjung Aru is more family friendly, has a nicer pool, and is much handier for the city and the airport, plus visits to the islands. The Rasa Ria feels more like you're in Borneo, is handier for Mount Kinabalu and has nicer rooms and better food. If you're on honeymoon this is definitely the one to stay at, but otherwise, it's quite hard to choose between them and depends on what your priorities are.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

We stayed here for a week in October - it's quite an impressive hotel from first arrival, and our room was no disappointment - well equipped, spacious and with a large balcony.

The food at all the restaurants is good, but the Indian and Japanese restaurants are truly excellent. At the kozan Teppan-Yaki, as it was quiet, we had our own dedicated chef, preparing and cooking our food in front of us. The scallops were the best I have ever tasted, anywhere in the world! Can't remember her name unfortunately, but she's as good if not better than the excellent 'Chef Jimmy'.

The Indian restaurant was also superb, with 'Chef Shan' taking the trouble to come and talk to us after our meal to ask for our feedback on the excellent meal he'd prepared. All of the staff (special mention for 'Elizabeth') were very friendly, although in the Tepi Laut Makan Street restaurant / poolside bar, several seemed to be in training.

The pool was pretty good - clean and reasonably sized, although nothing to write home about - no infinity pool or sit-in bar for example.

The sundowner Sampan bar was a regular favourite, with happy hour just before sunset, and te Sampan house band kept a smile on our faces - 3 guys with guitars singing western classics like Hotel California :-) And the in-house band in the lobby lounge were fantastic - the girls had a spirited attemp at Gangnam style and Eminem/Rhianna, while the sax guy gave us a close-up and personal rendition of Baker Street. Good fun.

The Orang-Utan sanctuary isn't as big as I thought it would be, but when they explained what they do, that kind of makes sense. When we visited they had just 4 Orang-Utans - beautiful babies Ten-Ten and Itinban, and the slightly older Katie and Wulan. I have seen reports on the Internet that the Orang-Utans aren't cared for properly, but they all looked very happy and content, and the wardens seemed very knowledgeable to me. The sanctuary works with the larger sanctuary to help rehabilitate young OrangUtans and I have no reason to suspoect they do anything but good work.

All in all, highly recommended - I would give 4.5 stars if I could - if they did iced-towels, more fruit and delivered more iced-water regularly, I'd probably give it a full 5 out of 5.

Room Tip: Go for the Ocean wing if you can afford it. We upgraded to a sea-facing room, but as far as we could...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

The hotel is spectacular. From the moment you set foot in the hotel lobby you know the stay is going to be a good one. Checkin was seamless and efficient. The room although a little dated was quite nice. The staff are what make this hotel what it is. The food is good albeit a little more than what we wanted to pay but worth it. If you are going as a couple try to book a gazebo dinner on the beach, the experience was lovely. Of course the reserve is a must also.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

We stayed the first 4 nights of our honeymoon in the Ocean Wing at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort. The resort is 40 minutes out of town and provides a perfect environment to relax. There is many activities for all age groups and the onsite Orangutan Sanctuary allows you to view one of Borneo's most famous attractions without even leaving the resort!
There is a variety of restaurants and eateries all reasonably priced considering that you are at a resort. The staff are very friendly and accommodating providing excellent service for the duration of our stay.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Ocean Wing which was a little more expensive. The Ocean Wing has its own exclusive...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 1
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 Rasa Ria Resort

Address: Pantai Dalit Beach | P.O. Box 600, Kota Kinabalu 89208, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Kota Kinabalu
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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 416
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is set on Pantai Dalit beach surrounded by 400 acres of lush tropical vegetation, including a unique nature reserve. Here you'll meet Sabah's icon, the fascinating Orang Utan, as well as a remarkable array of indigenous flora and fauna. Unexpected encounters with hornbills who glide right overhead, peacocks walking by during breakfast, a friendly bear cat greeting you from a tree or the occasional wild rabbit, iguana or squirrel crossing your path are all part of the magic of this remarkable resort. Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort goes beyond the offerings of Kota Kinabalu hotels by providing numerous options for relaxation. This includes the magnificent Spa at Dalit Bay, a wide range of water sports, Rasa Ria's own catamarans for cruises and deep sea fishing, a challenging 18-hole championship golf course, ATV safaris, tennis, horse riding, a fitness centre and, of course, a fun-filled Kids' Club to care for younger visitors. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shangri-La`s Rasa Ria Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Shangri Las Rasa Ria Hotel
Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort
Rasa Ria Resort
Shangri Las Rasa Ria Resort
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

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