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“Outstanding Club Lounge and Service”

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 91 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
87 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Outstanding Club Lounge and Service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 25, 2008

A 5 star hotel where after 3 days of an intended 8 day stay we told the duty manager of the day Jason that we intended to leave. We were on a golfing holiday, and first night in the Tatu restaurant we waited 45 minutes for a meal off the a la carte menu. The buffet in Tatu each night took priority it seemed. The next morning it took 3 phone calls to get our golf clubs picked up from our room to go to the waiting taxi. That night we waited 40 minutes for dinner in the signature Peppino’s Italian restaurant which has the same kitchen as Tatu's buffet. The next morning again the same problem getting our golf clubs picked up, so that I went to the concierge who had no message to do the job. In these same 3 days, our room keys regularly needed 5-7 tries to enter the room or refused to let us in. Keys were changed twice and tried by staff, and all agreed it must be the lock at fault. Maintenance would fix it on Day 2 – but did not. So Day 3 Jason had the ultimatum, fix the room key while we were out at golf or we leave and when we returned that afternoon it was fixed. As compensation for our wait in Peppinos we were also offered a free dinner by Jimmy the Restaurant manager who is a star. Jason also said to explain the non pick up of our clubs that our room phone directory was wrong and that dialing 1 as it instructed for services got us food and beverage people not service. Dial 0 he said, but later that afternoon, Brian in the Kinabalu club said we should dial 3 not 0 and that all rooms should have had new telephone sheets when the numbers were changed and that 477 rooms would need rechecking. Ours still showed the wrong number 5 days later. We stayed the 8 days. why? – simply because the Kinabalu Club staff were OUTSTANDING in every way. To Brian, Johnny, Linda and their colleagues in the club Ridzuan, Zarina, Natalia, and MD (the Doctor), we record here our thanks for a wonderful stay and for giving us a reason to return. They turned a 2 stars hotel experience into 5+. PS The Shang Palace restaurant was also excellent but we could not comment on Coco Jo's as it was raining almost every dinner time.

  • Liked — The Kinabalu Club Staff
  • Disliked — Slow service in Restaurants at the start
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank anndenMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,585 reviews from our community

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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (777)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 25, 2008

My wife and I stayed at the STAR from the 4th to the 16th of April. We booked a Kinabalu Club room after reading recommendations on TA. This turned out to be a good decision - the room was as close to perfect as possible, the view of Gaya and Sapi islands from the window took my breath every time I opened the curtains each morning. The room was well furnished, and comfortable. The bathroom was a good size with separate bath and shower, and the nice feature of the window where you could enjoy a view of the sea whilst soaking in the tub. Everything was scrupulously cleaned twice a day by the housekeeping staff, who were efficient and charming in equal measure.
The Kinabalu Club is really good. A nice place to enjoy breakfast, again with great views, open all day for complementary soft drinks, with cakes in the afternoon and the happy-hour session with snacks and drinks in the early evening. The staff in the club deserve special mention, helpful, friendly, polite, efficient - you get the idea.
The hotel has a tour agent near main reception - the ladies here are very helpful and knowledgeable. We booked trips to the Klias wetlands, Sepiloc Orang-utan rehabilitation centre, and we rented a car for a day and drove to the Kinabalu National Park. I would recommend all of these - the fireflies in the mangroves have to be seen to be believed, the Orangs are just great, and driving is really easy ( on the proper side of the road).
I also had a great day scuba diving - the dive guide was brilliant.
We were very sad to leave the STAR - loved it and would definitely recommend it.

Stayed April 2008
2 Thank CharlyYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
148 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 173 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2008

The travel company we used described this hotel as 5 star. I am not convinced. Our room was not ready when we arrived but we were offered a complimentary cold drink whilst we waited and we were 'upgraded' to a sea view. We were pointed in the general direction of our room but fortunately the porter with our bags caught us up and took us to the room and described the facilities. Large room with balcony with superb views of the sea and magnificent sunsets over the well kept 9 hole pitch and putt course. Enormous bed and excellent bathroom. Decor a little tired. Lasting impression however is that house keeping in the room was poor with light fittings, glass shelving in bathroom and the headboard for example covered in few days worth of dust. Some was cleaned off during our stay but some was not. Perhaps we should have complained! Bed linen and towels were changed daily and were in excellent condition.
Breakfast a little disorganised but this was due to numbers and we did not have to wait more than a minute for a table. Buffet style international cuisine with plenty of choice but appeared to have trouble keeping food warm and before our 8 days was up the sameness each day had become boring. Excellent gardens and several pools all well kept. We found the pool bar to be performing well but we did not eat any substantial meals by the pool during peak hours.
Cafe Ta tu where breakfast was served became a cafe/restaurant for lunch and dinner and was reasonably priced and decent enough food. The Italian restaurant and the Chinese restaurant were both excellent but pricey. The pool bar also became a restaurant at night and this was the most atmospheric. We were also treated to several sea snakes climbing out of the sea on to the restaurant deck one night much to the consternation of the staff more so than the diners, but perhaps they knew more about them than we did!!
In summary a superbly located hotel with mostly cheerful, happy staff (some exceptions particularly around reception) but with deficiencies in management of house keeping.
As far as Kota Kinabalu is concerned, we found little to attract us. It appears to be 'in progress' as far as a tourist destination is concerned and we therfore did not venture out in the evenings to sample local restaurants etc. The Sunday market was interesting for half an hour but more for locals to buy fruit and veg and pets rather than local crafts for tourists. Exceedingly hot noisy and crowded. Visit to the Mt Kinabalu foothills and gardens was interesting and worth the trip and the cool fresh air at 1500m above sea level was refreshing. Flew to Sandakan on a day trip to Sepilok Orang utan sanctuary. Enjoyed the day - we were lucky to see 9 Orangs plus one baby at the feeding station. Felt the the feeding session was more stage managed rather than spontaneous but most of the Orangs certainly came out of the forest independently to feed.

  • Liked — Location,sea views and sunsets
  • Disliked — poor housekeeping
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank Mr. MJB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2008

We have just returned from a week in KK staying at the star.
Before I start – I have to tell you - we love this place and nothing we have experienced has changed our desire to return but there were a few things that weren’t to the standard we had come to expect.

The staff are as friendly and helpful as ever however our check in was not smooth as they had allowed a late check out which meant our rooms were not ready when we arrived at 3.15pm. After a 1 hour wait and a complimentary drink (very nice) – 1 of our rooms was ready and eventually 2 hours after our arrival the second room was available – not a big deal but we were all very tired and needed an afternoon siesta and a bit of pool time before diner.
In the past we have always found the room service very good but not so this time. I ordered the smoked salmon salad feeling like something light. The base of the plate had a layer of smoked salmon (very tasty), then there was a small pile of lettuce on top and a garnish was 4 little capers and 1 little cherry tomato cut into quarters which all laughed at the thought of the chief trying to cut it using a magnifying glass – it just seemed very basic. My son’s hamburger was just that with a serve of fries – no garnish or presentation. It had a sort of “that’ll do” look about it.
At first I thought I was being picky but the next morning the breakfast “to die for” that we had become use to with Shangri-La hotels and resorts especially the Tanjung Aru, did not live up to our expectations either. The selection of juices, fruit and Japanese food to name a few was very disappointing. My son loves hash browns – but there were none for the first 3 days and then on day 4 they appeared but much to my son’s disappointment it shattered all over the table when he put his fork into it – it was so over cooked he couldn’t eat it. All 4 of us agreed that the general selection was down for our 2 previous visits - though the pastries, pancakes and toast selection was as good as always.
We did encountered an rude staff member in the breakfast area on one occasion. His name was Addy and I asked him politely for some salt which was missing from our table. He did not make eye contact and his body language indicated the he was annoyed by my request - he turned and snapped at another female staff member, poking her with his finger which left us a quit shocked. We watched him for the rest of breakfast it was obvious that he had a chip on his shoulder but luckily we did not see him again during our stay but I made sure I carried some little packets of salt and pepper in my hand bag from that morning.
Gone also are the days of a little light entertainment at breakfast – it was always a fun way to start the day.
I think they are very busy – I was told 90% occupancy but the pool area did not reflect this and we always found a lounge to lie on.

Now for the good stuff.
We always love the activities (cooking, mah-jong, wine tasting, volley ball etc) and plan our days around them.
We had 2 lovely meals at Coco Joes and enjoyed many cocktails around the pool and I am pleased to say they were delicious and icy cold – definitely an improvement on previous visits when they were served a room temperature. I did ask for lots of ice
Our rooms where exactly the ones we had requested and it was like coming home. The staff who serviced the rooms are lovely and very trust worthy. It was so nice to see familiar faces amongst the staff members.
My daughter and I were looking forward to visiting the new spa but found it way too expensive so as recommended on TA we went to Jari-Jari and it was fabulous and not too far from the resort.

Over all a great restful week.

  • Liked — Pool area and activities
  • Disliked — Food at the main restaurant
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank KKmad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
84 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2008

6 of us, 2 adults, one old age pensioner and three children between 4 and 8 stayed for the last 3 weeks in February 2008.

We moved to the Tanjung Aru for 7 nights to be closer to KK and the islands after enjoying 7 nights at the Rasa Ria. The hotel is great but the service isn't as good as the Rasa Ria. We checked in as in any hotel and then we were left alone to search for our room in comparison, when we arrived at the Rasa Ria - we were seated, given cold towels and a drink whilst the receptionist did all the work - once she had completed everything, she brought the documentation to our table for us to finish off and then she showed us to our room. Not a big thing, and we probably wouldn't have noticed if we hadn't been to the RR first. The kids club at the Tanjung Aru was better, a huge purpose built aircondtioned room, with lots of computers and playstations. They also did a kids party one night, complete with party food, games and ice cream cake. My children loved it. The playground was also superior to the RR (not as aesthetic but much more playable). You could also rent bikes and kiddie cars.

The service at the pool bar was poor. It could take ages to get someone to take your order and 5 out of 7 times our order came out wrong and at all different times. We waited an hour and 15 minutes for a Pizza once and because the meals had been delivered on an adhoc basis we kept getting told it was on its way. Eventually after 45 minutes they admitted that they'd not ordered it and offered ice cream whilst we waited!

Breakfast service again was poor, you had to wait ages for a table and then ask for someone to wipe it, then ask for cutlery all things that we took for granted at the RR.

The Coral Islands were fantastic and we took the kids a few times to Sapi where they were mesmerised by the fish and spent hours in vain trying to catch one. My 8 year old also did sea walking, which she loved.

I did prefer the Rasa Ria but we were glad that we'd split the 14 nights between the hotels as they were so different and if we went back we'd do the same again.

We met a great guy called Paul from England who lives out there and prior to going out, we sent him a shopping list. He then got all the stuff for us and we met him in the hotel - this was great and really got us off to a flying start - weetabix, cocopops - all the stuff that the kids really liked and it saved us heaps.

We also flew Royal Brunei which have horrible reviews but we found them fine - so don't worry if like us, you booked before reading the reviews.

  • Liked — The kids activities
  • Disliked — The service around the pool and breakfast
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1 Thank SpamboEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2008

We stayed 4 nights and from the minute we arrived, it was superb.

We requested airport pick-up and express check-in when we booked. When we go to the hotel, we were immediately taken straight to our room (Kinabalu Wing). The view was fantastic expecially the sunset.

The hotel restaurants served excellent meals. Staff very friendly and helpful.

The children's pool and Kiddie Club is great. My daughter really enjoyed herself.

The foot reflexology service was really good. I had my feet done 2 days in a row!

We really enjoyed ourselves and recommend this hotel to those who expect nothing less but first-class service.

Note: Taxi to/from hotel to town is RM15. No meters.

Stayed March 2008
Thank Aida Marie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2008

My wife and I spent 5 nights at this hotel in early March, flying to Kota Kinabalu from Hong Kong and staying in a Kinabalu Seaview room on a bed & breakfast basis. Getting to the hotel was easy - a 20 ringitt taxi journey taking about 10 minutes.

I had read some comments that the Kinabalu seaview rooms were some distance from Reception but in fact this wasn't a problem. Our room was modern, clean and spacious, with comfortable seating for two. The bathroom had both a bath and separate shower. The air conditioning was efficient and fairly quiet, and the lighting was also good so reading was easy. In short, this was a room you could relax and spend time in.

The hotel's customers included Chinese, Malaysians, Australians and British, so the buffet breakfast reflected this diversity. I enjoyed the curried chicken and Chinese stir fry for the first few days, but subsequently gravitated towards the omelettes, Danish pastries and toast. We ate a couple of evening meals in the Chinese restaurant, both pretty good, and also tried the buffet dinner. Quite expensive compared to meals in outside restaurants but of course you pay for the convenience.

If you're a fan of massages, you'll find the hotel spa looks very pleasant but is also very expensive. We had several treatments in Kota Kinabalu which were about a third of the price (or less), all based in the main shopping centre. There were also some treatments available in a small shopping precinct about a mile from the hotel.

You probably won't want to travel this distance without seeing some of the island, or at least that's what my wife told me as I was happily reading the paper one morning. Be aware that Kota Kinabalu is some distance from many of the sights so you should be prepared to spend time on coaches. However, we enjoyed our trip to some hot springs and also a "treetop walk" in the forest.

Taxis did not have meters and fares were fixed. We had no problems with this, paying the standard 15 ringitts to get into town (KK, as the locals referrred to it), but we always checked on the fare beforehand.

Overall, we found the hotel relaxing and the staff friendly and helpful. An enjoyable stay.

Stayed March 2008
2 Thank Frequent-traveller29
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
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 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business 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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