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“Brilliant stay at this beautiful resort.”

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 92 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 8, 2013

This was our third stay here but the last time was several years ago so we saw some changes in Kota Kinabalu itself. We stayed in a seaview room in the Tanjung Wing which i would recommend. Our initial room wasnt high enough so we swapped for a 5th floor room and weren't disappointed. The room was very large and had a wonderful big bed which was comfy. Bathroom was nice and always had plenty of toiletries left for us. The only downside was i think the air conditioning could have been more effective. The hotel has tried to think of everything though and even had a mosi plug although we were only left a few tablet (we brought our own so that was ok). However while we were there we didnt see a single mosquito.

We ate at several places in the hotel including the Italian Peppinos which was lovely, Shang Palace which is Chinese Muslim food and this disappointed really and also Coco joes which we also enjoyed. This is why i find it odd that someone has said there wasnt any choice but TATU and Coco Joes. We also had a few drinks at the sunset bar by the ocean. This is expensive but has long happy hours where it is 2 for 1.
Breakfast was extremely busy but is served till 10.30am. The choice was amazing and the hotel have several egg stations for omlettes etc, fresh yoghurt and yoghurt ice cream and anything you could think of. They even served dim sum. Also no matter how busy it was we were always found a table.

As regards cleanliness i couldnt fault it. It was spotless. Someone mentioned cockroaches but we didnt see any although on some of the outside corridors we saw several dead beetles which are nasty but expected in the tropics and we only saw these outside and not in the rooms or public areas.

The swimming pool is amazing. It is huge and has lifeguards as does the beach area. The adult pool is strictly enforced by them so the kids kept to their own pools. There is a problem here with people reserving sunbeds but if you don't do it you will end up without one so you have to do the same. Beware though as some guests are not averse to removing your belongings as we found when we only left them to eat lunch.
The beach is clean and we swam in the sea and yes occasionally first thing in the morning after a windy night we saw litter but this was around the jetty area and not the swimming area.
The gym is very large and has all the latest high tech equipment plus steam rooms etc.

The hotel also do trips, we went by speedboat to Mamutuk for about £11 each. This is one of the little islands off the hotel where you can snorkel. You used to be able to visit several of the islands but now the hotel only do Mamutuk.

We did get taxis into Kota Kinabalu several times which the hotel arrange. They used to do a shuttle bus but now only do this to the sister hotel the Rasa Ria. The taxi is 30RM each way which is about £6. We also went to the waterfront area where there are restaurants and an irish pub. Food and drink are both expensive in Borneo.
There is a restaurant up the beach called Sri Tanjung which is seafood. I recommend this as the food was lovely and the owner even took us back to the hotel afterwards.

We really enjoyed our stay here and have no hesitation in recommending it.

Room Tip: Choose Tanjung Wing in a higher floor.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Carol C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 8, 2013

This hotel could and should be a top quality class act. It is in a fabulous location in a quiet peninsula right on the coast, and yet it is only a five minute taxi ride into Kota Kinabalu, which is a city with its own airport making it perfect for access to other parts of Borneo for day trips. It is also part of the large Shangri La chain, and has some excellent staff working in it. It also has some great children's facilities, so for young families it is probably ideal. But... for anyone expecting a calm quality environment in a jungly Borneo it does not hit the mark fully, which is a great shame.
On a positive note, the room we had for two weeks in the Kinabalu wing was excellent. It had oa great sea view from a nice private balcony, and it was clean and modern with free WiFi access of decent speed. My only reservation is that as we were in a room on an internal corner the room next.To ours on the other side of the lift was on an angle so from there balcony they could see into our room and see our bed in its entirety, there should have been a solid dividing wall not trellis.for privacy They delivered a free local newspaper each morning, and the room had a decent bathroom, good air con and a comfortable bed. )housekeeping was random with what they did and when The fridge in the room is empty on arrival and this was a positive as you are invited to use it for your own items of food or drink which you can buy from local supermarkets. or the shop on site which was poorly stocked and very expensive. The outside restaurant even when only 5 other guests on two tables on our first evening was poorly organised with drinks taking on one occasion 20 mins there were lots of serving staff but they did not appear to know how to split up the tables and cover them, with a system so 3 staff would cover one table and totally miss others who needed help.
In addition we had no problem finding a sunbed on any day, though to get one in the shade we had to drag them from around the pool to a nearby shady tree- still not a big problem. There were lifeguards around the pools which was good to see, and the gym which is in the Kinabalu wing is really impressive- we used this on the odd day when it was raining in the morning.
The food quality overall was great, but it was also really pricey, so we found some really nice alternatives within walking distance, and two great places in Kota Kinabalu called Chilli Vanilla and El Centro, both very relaxed cafe style with a great atmosphere and great food (see tripadvisor reviews).
So it all sounds great, but...... it could be so much better.
Your first experience of the hotel is nothing more than a blatant attempt to get you to upgrade. The initial reception staff are simply sales people, who I can only assume are on some serious commission scheme. In our case we were asked to upgrade to a club room for a further £750, which after some 10 minutes of checking it turned out was not available anyway. Then we were shown an alternative upgrade to a room in the Tanjung wing which was older and noisier which was going to cost £250 more. We refused this but we're then told we could "upgrade" for free! We still refused and stuck with our original room, but later we were offered the use of the club room facilities but without a club room for the full upgrade price. No thanks, and you really don't want all that hassle on arrival at a five star hotel.
The main problem this hotel has though is its breakfasts. We envisaged the usual quality selection of food (which there was), but not the amazing caucophany of noise and the chaos of the restaurant. It is appalling for a hotel of this size to only have one restaurant for breakfast, and despite the best efforts of the friendly staff there were days when they lost control and even advised us not to leave the table whilst it was cleared otherwise we may lose it! The lady who finds you a table, Rosina, needs a medal, as any table not occupied will be taken over. The management are clearly aware of the problem yet there was not a single day when a senior manager showed his face to see the chaos first hand. Instead we were, as an adult couple, greeted daily by an insane costumed man speaking to us as if we were kids. We did see the chef who looked shell shocked and usually vanished after a couple of minutes.
The sunbeds themselves are top quality rattan sunbeds but we counted only six on the entire premises with mattresses. Why? This meant they were high uncomfortable and left a rather nice pattern like a tennis racket on your back if your towel slipped.
The beach here is also hugely disappointing - small with sandflies, and the sea its self is murky and almost fish free, so no snorkelling here.
Outside the hotel if you are into fitness you can run along the main public beach for around 2 miles which is great, and at intervals along the way there are a few restaurants and a good food court for cheap local dining. Also there is a fantastic new running track open to everyone (called Perdana Park) with water coolers, and it is only a mile away. At night this has musical fountains " dancing" and there are a couple of nice restaurants here, particularly the "Secret Recipe".
You can get a taxi directly from the hotel to KK for 30RM but once there you can find many taxis to get you back for 20!
We booked some awesome trips to see the orangutans at Sarawak, to go white water rafting at Padas (see u tube footage) and also snorkel and dive in the nearby national park- all booked on line prior to arrival through "divedownbelow" - check out their website. They handled everything very well, and the trips are great value.
So overall a great place to come to, a good hotel, but one that could be so much better if the hotel management could fix their problems, which have been highlighted many times before by other reviewers.

Room Tip: The Mumbai wing is more modern and away from the noisy pool area. Get as high a room as you can for...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Steve T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

Pros Staff very friendly. Gym excellent.swimming pool and children's play area excellent also
Cons Stayed Kota Kinabalu wing. Sea facing. Room somewhat tired. Mildew around shower.
Check in a nightmare.Service the.first week very hit and miss as they seemed unable to cope with numbers of people ( it was Chinese New Year ) First week breakfastsa "bun fight"",
Food ranged from excellent to mediocre. Unless you only drank in happy hour the price of a of a pint worked worked out to £11.
Would judge this hotel to be 4 star only.

Room Tip: Check all rooms before accepting.If you can afford it upgrade to " club" level
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank c_kerry778
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

As a Shangri La Golden Circle member, I look for and chose Shangri la where ever I travel. I have stayed in lovely properties. Tanjung Aru has under whelmed me. I am disappointed. The location is lovely, the pool spectacular, the views inspiring. The hotel unfortunately is just " not quite up to standard" Yoga and pilaties are above average, other employees at the Spa seem pleasant , but lost. Service at the pool is almost non existent, resulying in my getting up and going looking for service. House keeping is sloppy and the food service.......well what can I say? Exec club lounge cocktail hour offers poor food and wine selection and this evening in the dining room Tanjung, Marianna was one of the most UN helpful, unco operative employees I have encountered. Despite less than 50% occupancy, she was unable to offer me any of the seats I selected, (away from the crying children) telling me they were reserved. Two hours later they were still empty and being set for breakfast? On the other hand Raymond, Chef de Partie, went out of his way to help with a vegan selection. This hotel is on the edge and relying on the location to maintain its position. Management please take note and tighten up this property, It is on the slide with several pockets of very sub standard employees and departments.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Rita W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

This resort was absolutely fantastic. It was immaculate, the room we had faced the ocean and was a great size. The ground and all facilities there were great the gardens beautiful. We had the breakfasts daily and the selection that you could choose from was out of this world.. A huge variety to cater for every persons needs.,. If you only wanted a holiday to rest and relax you would not have to leave this resort. Taxis in to the city area are cheap and the staff at the resort make sure to help get you there and back. The people there are friendly and very very helpful. If you wanted to save on drinks and snacks, there is a store (catch a taxi for a few dollars au) and i think it was called Sunnies.... it has all sorts of things there... handy and different too!
overall this resort was luxurious and we would go there again....one day......

Room Tip: the sea view wing is by far the best
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank susan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

The Shangri-La Tanjun Aru met all our needs. We had a mountain view room and as our room was at the end of the block we had a view to the mountains and the sea (ask for room 9526) - 5th floor so very quiet, good breezes and very private. The room was always clean, a minor problem with water not draining well from baisin was fixed within a few hours. Bed was large and comfortable and shower had good pressure and was easy to adjust. There is a limited selection of tea and coffee in your room but if you like black tea then bring some from home or buy in KK (along with some milk!) - all supermarkets have it.

The resort shop sells soft drink (and beer) for about half the price that the resort does, and the office for booking tours was professional and same price that is quoted on tour organisation websies. We booked three tours and were very happy with the service.

The buffet breakfast is very good- it is in a large cafe and can be noisy but this is a family area. The choice of food is amazing (everything from cereal, fresh fruit, sausages, beans, curry, steamed dumplings, sushi, cold meats, eggs cooked to order, a noodle bar, multiple types of bread.....). Food was fresh, quickly replenished and varied from day to day. Staff were unfailingly friendly and helpful in all areas of the complex.

We also ate at Coco Joe's and Shang Palace - all tasty well presented food - not as cheap as you would get in local restaurants in KK but it worked for us when we were too tired to go our. Room service was also quite good value and nicely presented (a small table brought to the room for what we ordered).

There is a new marina attached to the hotel where you can arrange water sports or trips to Mamutik island along with snorkelling equipment hire. I think it might cost a bit more than travelling from the jetty in the city but you save the cost of taxi rides.

One negative for some travellers is that a trip to the city (and thus most dining options outside the resort) is MYR 30 each way. The only food within walking distance outside the resort is Tanjung Aru first beach - a food court offering seafood and bbq meats - quick and cheap and is mostly frequented by local so avoid if you want 'fine dining'. We ate there and enjoyed tasty seafood in a 'cheap and cheerful' envionment. Take some wet wipes as things get sticky!

Other reviewers have mentioned mouldy smells (never noticed this, although this is a humid environment so you do get the 'humid' smell in corridors) and unhelpful staff (everyone we met was extremely helpful and cheerful and service was prompt).

As the resort has little 'night life' it is quiet at night with no disco or thumping music. The children's pool closes at 6.30pm so no yelling late at night. I think rooms close to the kid's pool might be noisier during the day, so check the map of the resort before booking rooms if this is important to you.

Despite the resort being very busy there was always plenty of room in the adult-only pool but sometimes poolside seating was hard to find due to guests 'hoarding' chairs with their towels/gear even though they weren't around!

Room Tip: Mountain view rooms at the far end of the Kinabalu wing have views of mountains and sea - try to get...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank CFbonsai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

We stayed for four nights in a Kinabalu seaview room and had a great time at this resort. The staff are very friendly and were kind enough to change our room from the first floor to the fifth after we had some problems with mosquitoes on the first night (unable to use chemical insect repellents due to pregnancy). Both rooms were spacious and clean with excellent sea views. The gardens are well kept. Recreational facilities also do not disappoint. There is a massive infinity edge pool with water at the perfect temperature although the adult pool is deep throughout. There are water slides for kids (and adults !) and even life guards on duty. The breakfast buffet has everything you can imagine as we also thoroughly enjoyed the dinner buffet (the food is actually nice without the tasteless stuff that you often see at buffets). Although due to the location, you are somewhat limited to hotel restaurants for meals, the prices are reasonable. Overall, we would definitely consider returning to this hotel.

Room Tip: Although pricey, would definitely recommend the seaview room which is spacious with excellent views...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank ddwcl
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

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 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Price Range: $201 - $459 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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