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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
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Reviewed December 29, 2012

We stayed at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru in late November and had an awesome time. We would highly recommend this hotel for a romantic and relaxing break, and Borneo is a fascinating country that has lots to see and do.

Location - the hotel is about 6km outside of Kota Kinabalu, and there are not really any buses, but you can order a taxi from the hotel concierge for 35 ringgit which is about £6.50. There is a really good Korean restaurant just a few minutes outside of the hotel grounds, and there is a very good night market and 5-6 beach bars only about 6-7 minutes walk away. If you walk a little bit further (about 20 mins away) there is a lovely and pristine park which is nice to walk around, and there is a lake which does a synchronised fountain display to music in the evenings which is really nice.

The hotel itself has everything you would expect from a 5* hotel and is absolutely spotless, and has a good variety of restaurants, pool, beach, gym, beach bar, kids pool/water slides, shop, spa etc.

The room - we stayed in a Kinabalu Mountainview room which sadly does not have a view of the mountains - just the palm trees/tennis court. Having said that the room was large, the bed was extremely comfortable and the room had everything you would expect including complementary bottled water; large tv, balcony, hairdryer, bath, separate shower, complementary toiletries etc, and complementary use of an umbrella (it can rain a lot in Borneo - we were very lucky not to have had any rain). There is also a turn down service each evening where they turn down the bed and leave a little poem/flower which is nice.

Birthday surprise - it was my boyfriends 30th birthday while we were staying there and the hotel staff decorated the bed with petals, left a cake, basket of fruit and a card, and also put petals in the bath. It was a lovely surprise to my boyfriend. I highly recommend you notify the staff if you are celebrating a special occasion as they could not have been more helpful in making the day special.

The pool - the infinity pool is a bit smaller than it looks in the photos, but was still very nice - if a little deep! It can get a bit crowded though as the sun loungers are all tightly packed together round the infinity pool (the loungers around the kids pool and the gardens are far more spread out). There are some jacuzzi beds in the infinity pool but they don't really create enough bubbles for them to be a real jacuzzi experience. The views from the infinity pool are excellent though - looking out over the islands just off shore. There is also a kids pool and waterfall. I think the kids pool and water slides/games would keep even the most active kids occupied all day.

The beach is small, but very clean and lots of sun loungers. There were people in the sea, but there is always a sign warning of jelly fish so we tended to use the pool instead.

We ate lunch at the beach restaurant most days. It was reasonably priced and had plenty to choose from, but the service here was very slow. You also have to pay more to sit in the beach cabana's - even when they are not busy/being used. There are a number of other restaurants to choose from which looked very nice, but we preferred to get out into KK.

Sunset bar - WOW!!!! probably the best sunset views anywhere in the world...such a great place to watch the famous Borneo red sunsets with a nice cocktail of bottle of wine. Tip - get there before 5pm if you want to get a good spot as it gets very busy the closer you get to sunset which is around 6pm. Also - even if you think it's been a cloudy day, still go and watch the sunsets as even on a cloudy day they are still spectacular.

A highlight of our holiday was the trip to the sister hotel - Rasa Ria to see the orangutans. Trips are usually half day 9-2 or 1-5 and it takes up to an hour to get there. We chose to stay longer at the Rasa Ria though so got the 9am bus and came back on the 5pm bus. You can organise the bus trip via the hotel concierge and it costs about 30ringgit. You have to pay extra to see the orangutans which I think was 30 ringgit. Feeding times are at 10am or 2pm and you can view the orangutans while they eat, in their natural habitat, for about an hour. Be warned that they are semi wild so you may need to wait for them to come over to the food platform but it is well worth it. I've been to Sepilok before and found that the Rasa Ria orangutan experience was far better as you are closer to the orangutans, and it is less busy. We also did the canopy walk afterwards. This again can be arranged via the concierge at the Tanjung Aru and was inexpensive. The canopy walk has a great view of the jungle and the beach of the Rasa Ria. We didn't see get to see monkeys, tarziers or snakes or anything like that, but we did see lots of spiders and other creepy crawlies, and our guide was very informative and made sure we knew all of the signs to look out for. We then had plenty of time to relax by the pool which which was very nice. This day trip was one of the highlights of our holiday - a must do!

Staff - my boyfriend was ill on our last day (dodgy food from the Philippinno market the night before) and the staff could not have been more helpful and attentive. They arranged for the hotel chauffeur to drive us to the nearby doctors surgery, and gave my boyfriend a basket of bananas and some energy drinks, and arranged for the chauffeur to pick us up again when finished at the doctors.

The gym/facilities - our flight on our last day was quite late, and check out is 12noon. However you can still use all of the facilities and can fresher up in the showers in the gym etc.

We had a lovely stay and wished we could have stayed longer. Thanks to everyone at the Tanjung Aru for making our stay special.

Room Tip: Note that Kinabalu Mountainview rooms do not have views of the mountains...just the gardens/tennis court.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wendyeh333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2012 via mobile

This hotel is a nice resort for families with young kids. It's beautifully layed out with plenty of activities for the family to enjoy with great scenery all around. Unfortunately, the resort has more guests than it can handle, not to mention tons of screaming kids everywhere. Not a place I recommend for a secluded honeymoon. The place is overcrowded with lines for everything. People have to fight for a beach chair by the pool which leads to inconsiderate guests placing their towels on the poolside chairs and disappearing for the rest of the day, leaving no place for other guests to relax. The buffet restaurant is packed with people and the service quality is poor. There just isn't enough staff to take care of you after you have been seated. Additionally English is a problem with most of the staff which makes it a drag to have to ask for anything. The service definitely fails to live up to the shangrila name.

We had several problems from the moment we arrived. 1) The hotel room was not ready in time so we had to eat lunch there before we checked in. 2) We had asked for a king size bed but got two full size beds. they ran out of king sized beds so resorted to putting our two full size beds together.
3) both the tv and the remote were broken and we had to wait for maintenance to come in and fix it. Plus we had an ant problem In the room and not to mention the dead spider on the pillow when we arrived. You would think they would do a room check before turning it over!

4) our room was located at the far end of the resort next to the suite which was extremely loud at night due to the wedding party. We were here for 4 nights and it was just annoyingly loud to get any sleep. And of course the hotel didnt do much.

5) there Iis free wifi throughout the resort but it is extremely slow and a lot of the time you cant even log on. the connection at the room was horrible.

6) the food here isn't great due to the large size it caters to. It's a tad better than your college cafeteria with service being equally horrible and guests scrounging for food and cutting in
Line at the omelette bar. There were just too many people and not enough staff to serve.

7) the staff is very friendly all around the resort, but poorly trained and not knowledgable. Many barely even speak English. It can be frustrating when you stay here for several nights!

8) ordering food from the poolside takes forever. We were here for 5 days and it takes on average 30 min to get a kids meal hamburger which arrives cold every time!

9) overpriced Christmas dinner. We paid rm500+ for a dinner for two with the same cafeteria buffet food with all you can drink wine or beer. However, everytime you want to order a drink, you have to wait 5-10 min and remind them twice before the waiter finally gets the drink. Little things like this just takes away from trying to enjoy the dinner.

Sent from my iPhone

  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank rodmania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2012

4 days 3 nights at tanjung view rooms. great place, great facilities, but not five stars service. there are lapses of services here and there.
within 3hours of checkin and at the waterplay area, my aunty was shouted at by a staff who claimed that my daughter did not follow his rules. how on earth will my gal know his rules when all he does is blowing his whistle at a dozen of kids? he kept a solemn face and kept rubbing his eyes and hitting his head while on duty. i raised this issue with the manager. she was quick to rectify and offer a bottle of wine as service recovery. lovely gesture, but that incident already left a bad taste.
had buffet dinner on my second nite and i found a chipped small crockery saucer was used to serve the cake. my goodness. that could easily rendered a cut if not careful. raised this to a waiter and he promptly kept it with an apology.
i had all my meals in the hotel and i personally found the food at the chinese restaurant to be of good quality. as for the buffet dinner, please give it a miss. it is yucks. has quantity but no quality. room service is so so. drinks at the lounge were nice thou.

Room Tip: tanjung view rooms are closer to the pools and restaurant
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank immanlyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2012

Stayed here in Oct, was upgraded to the suite because for the first three nights they place me close to the water slide which was filled with screamy kids. Dated property but very well maintained and recently refurbished, typical Shangri La quality. Good proximity to city. Beautiful sunset bar, and the spa was fantastic, worth the premium, ask for "Rose" who gave an excellent massage, first class.

Room Tip: Don't face the pool or thevwater slides. ground floor units come with patios which is very nice.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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Thank LDY99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012

It is an excellent hotel, good to stay at after tiring experience connected with trekking, hiking & rafting in Borneo. All the necessary facilities, perfect cleanliness but the major asset of this hotel are the employees, their kindness and the best level of services they offer.

Room Tip: Definitely only with the view at the sea, rooms overviewing the poolside area must be noisy during the day.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Stanislaw K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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