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“Family-friendly paradise in peaceful Borneo” 5 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
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Family-friendly paradise in peaceful Borneo”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 February 2013

Having read the broadly positive reviews about this hotel from other Trip advisor travellers and with it hitting the correct tropical latitude that I was searching for my wife two children (aged 9 and 6) and myself decided this would be the place for us to spend a two week relaxing holiday in the sun (and enjoy a long stay discount deal!). From the moment we arrived to the time of our departure we were left in no doubt that we had made the right choice. This hotel has got it all: outdoor water-fun for the kids and indoor activities too, with a programme which lasts everyday from 10am to 5pm. Besides this there is the possibility for all of the family to play: tennis, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, football, bowls and when one's had enough of that there are two large swimming pools (one for adults and two for kids) as well as a sandy beach located within a smallish enclosed cove. My wife and I also made use of the Spa and Fitness Room (complete with Sauna, Steam-room and Jakuzzi bath) which were both top notch. There is an ice-cream/sweets bar which we made good use of everyday, as well an excellent well tended bar and restaurant which caters to local or western tastes, but also serves vegetarian dishes as well as delicious smoothies and juices. The main restaurant is where one is offered an enormous variety of options for breakfast and then again an equally impressive buffet is offered in the evening. In our package the kids went free, which was great. All of the staff were consistently courteous and friendly to all of us and the rooms were cleaned regularly without any fuss. Indeed, I struggle to find anything to moan about. Yes, the hotel is large and thus has lots of guests during the main meal times, but even this one can live with since the whole atmosphere at the hotel is so relaxed. I have no hesitation in recommending this hotel and indeed I think we might well return ourselves, since we're not done touring the many tropical islands with unique diving/snorkelling opportunities that dot the North East coast of Borneo. Incidentally, there is an on-site local travel agent which was very helpful in organising a number of planned tours including an overnight stay in the heart of the rainforest along the Kinabatangan River, where we got the chance to meet the country's two star attractions: the Orangutan and Proboscis Monkey.
Just two final remarks: i) don't bother booking the hotel's expensive limousine service on arrival the airport. A local taxi from the Arrivals room will cost half the price. ii)Regarding money changing into MYR, this is possible from the Airport (I got Spot -3% for Euros), although the money changers in the Shopping Centre in KK gave a slightly better rate.

Room Tip: Best Rooms are located on the Tanjung Wing which faces onto the ocean and this gets the stunning vie...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank christian394
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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (767)
Date | Rating
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hk
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2013

We had a very happy holiday in this hotel. We like the water park. In the park, there are three slides.The blue one is slow, the purple slide is quick and the green one will make you feel a bit dizzy.There is a 1.9m deep pool . There are four waterfalls,one is huge and three are small.

But the mosquitos are really fierce. The hotel doesn't seem to do much about them.

Also the non smoking and smoking areas are too near. We could always smelled smoke in the restaurant. I think the hotel should make them more far apart.

The trip to other sister hotel Rasa Ria is not free, shuttle bus ($90 MB for 3) , tickets ($120 MB for 3). Only 2 orangutans were there when we went. Later, we called a taxi and went to Mari mari Cultural Village. It was quite interesting. My daughter liked it!

One more thing, we booked for twin beds, but when we arrived, the hotel said they just had King bed room. We refused to take it. Then , it said it could give us a twin bed room. It also happened in another hotel we stayed. i don't know if it's the common practice of the hotels in KK, it's just unpleasent.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank HKoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saguenay, Canada
Level Contributor
98 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2013

Well the Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is a very nice hotel with well maintained room, good service and spectacular pool. The food at the restaurant was quite nice and offered a good variety. The location is convenient, close to airport without being bothered, close to town in taxi and immediately on the ocean.

The "but" is about the ocean, which is dirty to a point of not wanting to swim in the water, trash floating on the surface, and smell like dump on low tide. Only few courageous dare to swim into it.This is really too bad as the hotel would just be magnificent if this wasn't of this major problem. If you intended to stay at the pool anyway, this can still be a good destination.

So my rating of 4 is well deserve for the hotel but I would personally not go back as I want a beach and swim in the ocean while on vacation

Room Tip: High floor is the best
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lewistfo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2013

We decided to stay at this hotel for our first trip there. It was FANTASTIC.

We had friends in KK and they asked us to visit them during the recent 2013 Chinese New Year holidays, and we made the right choice of hotel.

It's away from the busy city centre, but very near enough to enjoy KK (the airport was just at the end of the road).

The amenities were abundant. The service excellent. When we finally have kids, this place would be fun for them.

The food was above average (I'm not fond of hotel food), prices... well just like back home, hotel food aren't the bext value.

Overall, we liked it!

Room Tip: Family's should try to get the rooms on the ground floor opening to the wet play area.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DanZen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2013

Had the most amazing stay at this hotel, could not fault a single thing! Beautiful surroundings, lovely staff, fabulous room. We were due to stay at the sister hotel rasa ria but due to building works changed it and we were very pleased with the result. We loved it!

Room Tip: we had an seaview junior suite, beautiful worth the upgrade.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ash1-10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2013

I'm currently staying at this hotel and can't wait to leave! I wished we had stayed put at the Shangri-la Rasa Ria where the service was excellent, the staff friendly, and the rooms were clean. Staying at a Shangri-la one expects a certain service level and a clean, well-maintained facility. The Shangri-la Tanjung Aru falls extremely short.

Mildew - throughout the resort you are hit with strong odors of mildew and mold. It's especially strong in the buffet area outside.

Atrocious Service - If you are looking to get a drink( and I mean a simple bottle of water) in less than 20 minutes, stay someplace else. To top it off, the wait staff, especially at the bar near Coco Joe's are extremely rude. If you enjoy getting up and begging for menus and all but going behind the bar to get yourself some ice, eat here.

One night it took over two hours to get our dinner. Not one staff member offered to give us a free drink, etc.

The Rasa Ria wait staff on the other-hand were exceptional. If things were taking a little long (it is Chinese New Year after all ) were very apologetic and helpful.

Poor Air Quality System - We are staying in a non-smoking room. In the evening you can smell cigarette smoke coming though the air conditioning system. Our friends are staying in another room and their A/C doesn't even work.

Dirty Room - I'd give the room cleanliness a C. Corners are dirty and it looks like someone threw up all over the phone. Our friends bathroom smells like pee, no matter how many times it gets "cleaned".

Cutting Corners - besides this place falling apart and the rude staff they skimp on the details. For example, the Rasa Ria charges RM 70 for a bag of laundry( about 45 pieces) to be cleaned. At the Tanjung-Aru they charge you RM 70 for 10 pieces! Even the water offered in the gym here is a cheaper version of what the Rasa Ria offers. The Rasa Ria flavors their water with an entire orange or lemon for a pitcher.. The Tanjung uses one measly slice per pitcher. At the Rasa Ria the staff bring you towels and cold water poolside. At the Tanjung Aru you have to get your own towels and give your room number. That way if you don't return a towel, the hotel gets to charge you. Also, good luck getting service by the pool. If you do it certainly won't be friendly.

Basically, do yourself a huge favor. Stay at the Shangri-la Rasa Ria and avoid the Shangri-la Tanjung-Aru, its an over-priced dump.

Room Tip: Avoid this hotel, stay at the Rasa Ria instead!
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank StarTravelerChina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2013

We stayed at the Tanjung Aru rather than the Rasa Ria because of the proximity of the hotel to the airport and the child friendly features. We were not disappointed on both counts. The water play area is fantastic for keeping the kids occupied and they run a decent children's club with enough of a spread of activities to keep toddlers through to 10 year olds occupied. As we have three children aged 2, 8 & 9 this was important to us.

The restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful and willingly shared tips and information on what activities we could do. We stayed in an executive suite with a connecting sea view room and found these to be comfortable and spacious.

Some notes for improvement however:
The concierge desk was not particularly helpful with booking local excursions and simply referred us to the agent on site. When going to the agents desk, we were informed that due to having a toddler in tow, a lot of the activities would not be suitable for us and we would be better off booking a private car to do suitable excursions that could be done at our own pace. They promptly referred us back to concierge who were again less than helpful. When I raised a complaint with the duty manager however, we were able to resolve the problem.

The kids club is not particularly innovative in its offering - fine if the kids want to take an hour's break from the scorching sun at midday but that's really it.

We did two separate day trips to Rasa Ria to enjoy the Orangutan sanctuary and some of the watersports on offer. We actually considered shifting to the Rasa Ria as the property has much more on offer to keep the older kids occupied. Watersports, horse riding and the sanctuary experiences as well as on the beach massages are plenty to keep you occupied. The beach is much much nicer than that at Tanjung Aru as well.

On trying to move locations, we found the management team at Rasa Ria less than helpful even though there was availability. The management team at Tanjung Aru are much more courteous and efficient than at the Rasa Ria. The delay in getting back to us with regards to arranging the move (more than 24 hours) really ate into our time and in the end, we just stayed put. With hindsight, I would have booked the first half of our trip at the Tanjung Aru and the second half at Rasa Ria.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Marsjmum
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
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Kota Kinabalu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business 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

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