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“Where to start” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 91 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
Ibstock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Where to start”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2007

Where do I begin?

The whole Shangri-La experience was unbelievable from start to finish, and not in a good way!!

It began with a clear instruction that we were to be picked up at the airport, 4 people with luggage. The transportation only had room for 2 people with luggage and therefore a second car had to be sent for.
Once checked into the Kinabalu wing with club access we retired to our rooms, after waiting for over an hour for the cleaning to be finished, well we would have if the door card system actually worked! Therefore both couples had to return to the club check-in to have the room cards reprogrammed. This continued everyday for the complete 12 day stay.
Once finally within our rooms, which were functional and adequate, if not slightly small and sparsely decorated we had to then call room service for water which housekeeping neglected to replenish, again this was to be a standard feature of our whole stay. Housekeeping continually failed to replenish any item used during our stay, this included; napkins, coasters, toiletries, flowers (we even had an empty vase with water in it for over 4 days) and other sundries used. In fact it seemed a policy that anything that was used was not replenished to stop you using it again.
We made enquiries with regards to trips and golf courses at the club lounge concierge and again were continually let down with their promises to come back to us and we constantly had to chase all our requests.
We eventually took a trip to the pool area to read and relax……..oh my god!! The pool area had two pools side by side and a children’s pool next to one of the larger pools. I can only assume this area doubled as a crèche, as the noise was deafening and whilst the resort professes 25 lush acres, it seemed all amenities were crammed into a 200 square metre area. Pool service was nonexistent and on one occasion we sat 7 hours without any offer of service and eventually used the hotel shop to get any drinks. You could not escape the noise and construction work was also going on at the new Spa, even though we were assured there was no work in progress. Coupled with the fact a conference was held during our stay and construction and dismantling continued past midnight.
Service was invisible and lackluster and on occasion the staff would actually enter into an argument if anything was questioned. We ceased to attend one bar after two nights of disagreements with staff.
Having travelled extensively and willing to pay for a 5* experience, this was one of the shoddiest and most mismanaged resorts it has been our unfortunate experience to encounter.
We ventured to Rasa Ria for a golfing experience at the Dalit golf course, playing in 30C+ temperatures with high humidity we were given two bottles of warm water with no cooler for the 18 holes, with no water stops en route nor any amenities to refresh. Within the Rasa Ria resort the service was even worse and we were charged for a breakfast even though it was a sister resort and we took no breakfast at the Tanjung Aru due to an early start.
In an attempt to show some positives, the food was good. Peppino’s and the Shang Palace were excellent as was Coco Joe’s. The Tatu buffet for breakfast and dinner were totally forgettable.
The Orangutan sanctuary at Rasa Ria is a must and worth every ringgit spent.
I can only recommend this resort for people with children who do not mind competing with a large East Asian clientele who certainly like to make lots of noise.
Even in the club lounge where children were not encouraged between 5-7pm for drinks this rule was not enforced and again represented a crèche on occasions with children roaming free.
In conclusion, this is certainly NOT a 5* resort and actually misrepresents itself on its web site where it purports to be a haven of peace and serenity. I have no issues with a resort that represents itself clearly and allows you to make an informed decision on the information given. We always research our bookings carefully and like the hundreds of hotels we have visited and were satisfied with, this was the most misleading and the biggest disappointment due to the name of the owner and the information given.

  • Liked — Peppino's Restaurant
  • Disliked — everything else
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank KJR42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Tasmania
Level Contributor
56 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2007

This resort was on a recommendation from our travel agent. We were traveling with 2 younger children and some close friednds, so the group was 8 strong.

On arrival it was apparent that friendlieness was number one priority. We had some small issues with our room booking, however it was dealt with quickly and efficiently, and to our delight we received an upgrade out of it. We finished up in the Kinabalu Wing in a suite on the 4th floor. They had been recently renovated and were spectacular.

Service was never an issue, food was great in all outlets, and the resort overall was faultless. Prices for food were good, beer was extremely expensive, cocktails and top shelf were fair. Room sevice was great and the menu varied. One of the best in room dining menus for kids I have seen and the kids meals are just the right size for a small adult meal.

The high tea at the Borneo louge was nice although not an all you can eat buffett (as one lady found out). The food, including 3 savoury sandwhiches / crossounts etc and plenty of cakes - just enough food. Sit under a fan in the lounge as this area has no AC.

One of our children developed heat exhaustion whilst there, and the staff could not do enough to help, ringing at least twice to check on her progres. The duty manager even sent her up some milk and cookies in the evening with a get well note.

Kids Club was great and free, although we did elect to pay for the disco night at a cost of MYR 50 per child incl buffett dinner. Staff were lovely and the children could even stay for lunch - we selected meals from a menu at the club.

We did travel to Manukan Island to picnic and spend a few hours snorkeling. This is one of the more popular Island and there were heaps of people there so I would suggest going to one of the smaller islands.

We ordered 2 picnic boxes to take with us and were dissapointed with them. The kids selections were ok except for the sandwhich fillings and we found drinking oj from a can very weird! They are not insulated either, so unless you eat it soon after getting it, food and drink will get warm.

Only one downer, the trip to the island to snorkel was disapointing as the reefs and coral can not be compared to Australian reefs. Very colourless and a fair way from the shore.

Such activities like Back of the Resort give you a fantastic insight to the workings of the resort and the staff kiosk is more like a resteraunt - a must see to believe. There are a lot of free activites to do including the one above, on arrival you receive a brochure showing a weeks worth of activities including kids club.

It's well worth watching the resort channel for the specials they have. These include cocktails, room service meal deals (incl drink and dessert) and massage tratments.

Overall we found the resort wonderful, the accommodation was classy and the staff very friendly.

Odd bits of info:

You sign for EVERYTHING you get including breakfast even if it's part of your package. You need to keep these receipts because at checkout the account will not be itemised - just the total amount of any transaction you do.

Business centre is good and well priced, but the internet speed is slow. Price is approx MYR10 for 15 minutes and MYR2 per printed page - mush cheaper than most places I have been to.

Smokers smoke pretty much anywhere except inside the restauraunts. This includes the lifts and open aired passage ways. We went to the opened aired buffet with tribal performance and found it annoying that smokers just lit up at their tables whilst we were all eating.

  • Liked — Quality, style, amenties
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank SomwehereInTheWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool,England
Level Contributor
91 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2007

My husband and I and my brother and his wife arrived at the Tanjung after 4 days in Singapore.We had never been to Borneo before and didnt know quite what to expect
We need not have worried, The Shangri-la`Tanjung Aru was the perfect location for what we had in mind.
We felt it was well worth the 5 star as the location and facilities were excellent. We ate in the Chinese Restaurant in the hotel and found it to be cheap and of a resonable standard.When travelling we like to saviour the local foods and bars and restaurants and after some tips fromRoslan, in the lobby bar ,who was very helpfull we ventured out to Kotu Kinabalu, to the Waterfront area were we found The Northern India Restaurant and ate a great meal overlooking the South China Sea. We ate out for 5 of our 7 nights and found the food to be cheap and of a good standard. Little Italy was an excellent Restaurant, offering a large menu to suit most tastes.Taxis were cheap and plentifull.
Just along the road from the hotel, in the Tanjung shopping precinct we found another excellent restaurant worth a mention called the Mediteranean. If you are on a smaller budget very cheap food was available in the locals section.
We travelled up on the hotels coach to the Rai Risa resort to see the Orangutangs. Found it to be well worth the trip, We were lucky enough to see 4 small orangutangs playing in the wild under the supervision of the warden. We had a superb lunch in the Rai Risa which was gorgeous hotel on a fabulous beach.
We jumped a taxi to the Cultural Village and had an enjoyable morning out, followed by some great cheap shopping in one of the shopping malls in Kotu Kinabalu. Lunch for 4 with drinks for £5.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Tanjung, and although it was a very busy hotel they managed to maintain a friendly atmosphere. The only slight drawback, we found was the bar service in the lobby at times could be a little slow.
The staff were all very helpfull, especially the Seik duty manager, whoes name escapes us.

  • Liked — Facilities were of a high standard
  • Disliked — Not a lot
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank maxmum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2007

This was our third trip to Malaysia but our first to Sabah. We chose this hotel due to its proximity to Kota Kinabalu and I think that proved to be the right decision. A 10-15 minute taxi ride (15MYR) takes you into town where there are all manner of restuarants shops bars etc. Its safe and has a good friendly amosphere.
As for the STAR well it more than lived up to our expectations. We had read all the reviews before we left so knew the drill with the Horizon club. For 150MYR we took the horizon floor package with a club room and access to the club on the 6th floor of the Kinabalu wing. The rooms had been recently renovated and were well serviced throughout our stay. It was great to take breakfast in such relaxed surroundings away for the hustle and bustle of the main restuarant. We found it was great value and the staff were excellent.
The facilities in the hotel were good, pool was clean and safe (life guard in attendance) and there were plenty of sunbeds around and none of the european style early morning bookings.!!
If you have the time take a mangrove cruise. This trip leaves around 1.30 from the hotel and takes you down to around Beaufort to a village called Garama where you are taken on a cruise up the river there. The main purpose is to see the Proboscis monkey, however we also saw Macaque monkeys and a couple of crocodiles. Just the setting itself is worth the trip.
We also went to see the orangatan at Rasa Ria which was also very good. If your feeling romantic we would recommend the Atmosphere restuarant trip which involves a sunset cruise on a small yaught followed by dinner at the revolving restuarant.
So all in all a great place, lovely people and ideal for a relaxing hholiday.

Stayed September 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank travelexiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maidenhead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2007

My husband and I have been fortunate to travel extensively, especially around the Indian ocean and the far east - but this place is amongst my favourite destinations. There is something for everyone - whether you choose to laze by the glorious free form pool, lie on the beautiful beach, wander into town for a few cheeky beers and a lovely meal or get out and about to see the amazing scenery and animals. Or like us - decide to do a little bit of everything ! We went to the Orangutan sanctuary, a short flight over the KK mountain - although it is a little clinical and impersonal, it still is a wonderful experience, especially the little cheeky baby ones ! We booked through the hotel as unusually this seemed the best value - tip prebook a takeaway breakfast - it is an early start !! The hotel restaurants were all lovely, with the Italian/ pizza one being amongst the best - however we ventured into KK town most nights as the taxis are very cheap (£3ew). Head towards the waterfront for lovely food, much cheaper than the hotel, and the Indian restaurant is a must ! The shops here are also lovely, with a great shop selling very reasonable wooden goods. We felt very safe all the time, and never made it back to the hotel very early. We upgraded our room to one of the suites, which was very opulent and huge ! It even had 2 bathrooms, which made getting ready much quicker ! The kinabalu wing seemed in need of an overhaul, but I think that a refurd was planned. We worried a little about the weather but soon worked out that we didn't need to. It was scorching every day, and clouded over about 3pm (thankfully by then !), then thundered down with rain until about 4pm, which was a great experience to watch - and then the sun came back out again at about 5pm - just in time to watch the sunset from the pool bar during happy hour - bliss ! There is really nothing that I can complain about this hotel or destination, if I had to find something, then the Australians who seemed to think that that they owned the pool were a little annoying, but after a couple of beers in the scorching sun - they soon feel asleep !!

  • Stayed May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
15 Thank The_2_Ds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2007

Our family of 2 adults and three children (including a toddler) stayed at Shangrila Tanjung Aru during the first week fo Sep 07 after the busy one-week holiday in Malaysia.

We didn't stay on the Horizon Floor but booked a suite and signed on for an all inclusive package that includes most meals and laundry.

A plus point of the hotel was the friendly and responsive staff from the chambermaids to the restaurant waiters/waitresses who bothered to remember our names and attended promptly to our needs. It was true that the housekeeping and restaurant staff struggled whenever it was crowded but the situation was still acceptable during the week I was there.

Another factor which was not highlighted by previous reviews was the resort's attention to the guests' safety. The lifeguards were always around at the pools and the staff of the boat/ferry services to the islands took attendence and were physically around the jetty areas of the islands we visited to account for everyone and to be of assistance if necessary. All these precautions were taken in a discrete manner.

On the whole, we felt that we gotten what we paid for. Would return if we plan another trip to KK. The only other beach resort/ holiday that we have enjoyed more (in terms of better beaches, cheaper food etc etc than KK) was Krabi in Thailand, but that would be another story altogether.

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Garch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2007

This hotel was amazing. Maybe it's just me and I'm used to budget hotels, hostels and camping but I could not believe the service provided. The setting was just beautiful and the islands a short boatride away are a must see, especially good for swimming. I was a little dubious about using the hotel beach due to the nearby sea village, the sea smelled a little of sewage so for swimming, I used the pool.

On the down side, my room was a little damp and smelled a little mouldy but not terribly and I've experienced far worse.

There was also good nightlife in the hotel and a bar that seemed to attract locals as well as hotel customers that gave it a friendlier feel than the lounge bar- can't remember what it was called.

The food was wonderful and the service couldn't have been better or the staff friendlier and eager to help.

Kota Kinabalu is a bustling city and great for shopping, not to mention friendly locals who will come and talk to you without hassling you.

It is also a must to go to Sandakan to visit the oran utan sanctuary.

I would return there in a second - if I could afford it!

  • Liked — the service was fantastic
  • Disliked — the room was a bit damp with humidity
  • Stayed April 2003, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tik_Tak01
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

Property: 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 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Spa 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 Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La`s Tanjung Aru Resort And Spa
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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