Let me start by saying I was a little worried about the food prices, but in the end I didn't think it was that bad at all. At least not when comparing to Hong Kong prices and/or price levels at the Shangri La in Cebu. We're lucky since our 3 children are all under 6 and therefore their buffet meals are free. Pool bar prices were about MR24 for kids meals (starting from RM18 = HK$40). Only strange thing is that Rasa Ria only charges MR12 for an even more extensive choice?! Club Sandwich is RM35 = HK$79 which I didn't think is outrageous at a 5* hotel. Other funny thing though is that a soda costs MR10 at STAR and MR6 at Rasa Ria, again hard to explain.
We also ate at the Shang Palace (Chinese) with the kids and for 5 dishes (3 x meat, veggies and noodles), plus a bottle of water, was about HK$340. Plenty of food for us. Buffet is RM86 excluding tax & service, again, our kids were free, so for about RM200 = HK$450 the whole family was fed (excluding drinks). We didn't go to Pepino and had dinner once in Kota Kinabalu where we spend close to RM175 (included a few beers) = HK$400, so not a major difference in the end (taxi is RM15 for a one way).
Again, after reading all the reviews I was prepared for the worst, but I didn't find it that outrageous at all. The Sunset Bar had good value drinks (2 for 1 offers on wine, beer, etc.) and 10 skewers of satay (or 5 pieces of chicken wings) for RM15 = HK$34. Our kids loved the satay and one evening we basically had dinner at the bar with drinks and a few plates of satay. Coco Joe (beach / pool) also has a family dinner bbq set for RM250 (HK$560) which comes with veggies, meat, fish and also some soda I think.
You can buy sodas in the hotel shop for RM2.50 = HK$6 and most other things seemed reasonable priced, especially the drinks to stock up your mini bar. A beer was RM10 ($23). I felt they were trying to make f&b more attractively priced and they were definitely heading the right way.
We had 2 connecting rooms (#146/#147) on the ground floor in the Tanjung Wing, on the end of a hallway so very quiet (as requested) and very close to the sea with a big lawn in front of us. Rooms were large and fairly up to date (way better than main wing in Cebu). Nice and clean, beds were comfortable. One room had our 3 kids including a roll away and there was still plenty of room. A lot of storage, separate shower and bath. Large terrace with bench, seat and table and rack to hang swimming stuff.
We were there during the Xmas holiday, so fairly busy but everything was still going smooth. Many kids though (I personally wouldn't come without kids to this hotel over a major holiday, so please think about that!). Breakfast was no problem with food and tables (good buffet with plenty of choice, personally liked Cebu better but it's a matter of taste too). Plenty of chairs and loungers to sit on at the pool, although a lot of seats were taken in the end, but that's what happens if you travel over Xmas. It never felt super crowded though. Pool area needs updating, which I understand is not an easy tasks in terms of timing, but it's getting a little old and tiles are starting to chip more and more. It's all very well kept and maintained but if you look closer you see it's in need of an overhaul. Beach is small (jelly fish season too) but sufficient, although not too much shade (but shade is close by). Plenty of activities to do, also for children, including a kids club (over 4 yo).
We took a boat trip to Sapi Island (15 minutes, MR45 return adult and MR25 child, twins went free, they're 3 yo). We also went to Rasa Ria for a day with the hotel shuttle to see the oerang utangs and stayed at the Rasa Ria pool which has slides, and the kids loved that too (it felt bigger and busier over there though).
We also saw Santa and had Christmas Eve dinner which was fairly expensive (MR180 = HK$400 per person, kids were free again). And we ordered a bottle of wine (MR115 = HK$260). However, they had a bigger choice and kids games (cookie decorating, musical chairs, drawing, etc. and prizes to come with it). The kids had a blast and it was a nice way to enjoy dinner while the kids were happy too.
Only one thing that truly surprised me is that I wasn't able to get a baby sitter for my 3 sleeping kids (5, 3 and 3 yo) because some were under 4. In Cebu we would always (3 nights) have a baby sitter come at 7.30 pm for 2 hours while we ate in the resort. She would sit in the adjoining room while the kids were sleeping away. At STAR they wouldn't let us. Especially under 4 you need sitters! We were going to stay at the hotel and the kids were sleeping, but no, impossible!
Another thing is that internet connection was MR15 for 15 minutes. I think these days a 5* hotel should have a few terminals set up in the lobby to quickly check emails etc. I don't need a business center, and I have no interest in taking my lap top on a family vacation but a quick (free) email check (like other Shangri La resorts) would be highly appreciated!
Service was good, the Sunset Bar was super relaxing, weather was great, we had a really nice time and would highly recommend it. Would probably go to a sister hotel next time (as we like to try new things).
- 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