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“Great holiday!”

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
Ranked #5 of 92 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 August 2008

We stayed at STAR (ShangriLa Tanjung ARu) from 30 July to 8th August and had an absolutely wonderful holiday, I can definately recomend this resort in terms of facilities, quality and staff friendliness, especially if you are travelling with kids.
My husband and I and 2 year old daughter stayed in an Executive Suite in the Tanjung wing which was absolutely huge! Two bathrooms, two TV's, lounger & dining area all beautifully appointed.
Our friends with their 2 children aged 2 and 4 stayed in a Seaview room and also found the quality of accomodation excellent.
Our rate included breakfast which was a massive buffet with excellent food. Normally the quality of food is compromised at buffets but this was not the case with almost anything you could imagine on offer.
The kids club was fantastic and you can also borrow bikes to ride around the resort on. Pools are great!
The only thing I would say is try to have your breakfast included in the rate and then go outside of the hotel for other meals as prices are a bit steep. First beach is only a 5 minutes walk along the beach front and you will find well priced beer, cocktails and asian/seafood and italian restaurants. Pina Coladas at first beach about 13-16 MYR ($5 AUD). Yum!
Make sure you get over to one of the islands to go snorkelling...
Please feel free to ask me any questions as I researched the trip allot on trip advisor and am happy to pass on all I have learnt! ENJOY!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank anhaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,832 - 2,838 of 3,884 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2008

This was a lovely hotel, clean spacious and relaxed but just overpriced. It wasn't so much the cost of the rooms - which weren't cheap for this part of the world. It was the extras that were the rip-off - the restaurants, breakfast, bars etc were very expensive.

If you were happy to stay in the resort ,the location was fine - but being closer to town would have been good.

There is however a great food market just up the road which is walking distance where you can get some great, authentic malay food for not a lot of money - and which tasted so much better than the chinese restaurant in the hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank HBomb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2008

We spent a week at this resort after being in Langkawi for the first week of our honeymoon and were more than disappointed by the drop off in terms of service, amenities and much more. The hotel is basically a massive hub for huge family vacations, convention/conference events and not very relaxing if you are seeking some peace and quiet. There are throngs of screaming and sobbing kids everywhere and the rooms are horribly soundproofed so you can't even seek refuge there at any time of day or night. The room we stayed in was clean but motel-like in terms of the decor and the comfort of the love seat which made watching TV anywhere but in bed very uncomfortable. Housekeeping was not very good and our room was not made up by 3 pm on the day after we arrived! Things improved after we complained about this but other things were still missed that proved annoying eg. not replacing towels in the bathroom, etc. This was pretty sad for a "5 star" hotel .

Restaurants at this hotel are egregiously expensive, even moreso than Western standards would suggest. We had breakfast vouchers and the buffet was pretty good but we had to eat all other meals at a local market food court about a 10 minute walk from the hotel to make the experience affordable. You can great a great meal for 2 for about $10 US and this is worth considering, although the menu is limited and the food is anything but gourmet. Nevertheless, a very authentic experience and nice way to be amongst the locals.

In terms of amenities, the hotel has no beach and the pools are constantly occupied by an army of loud kids - not a relaxing place at all. The business center charges 10 MYR (about $3.50 USD) per 15 mins on the internet!

There is really nothing else around the hotel to do if you don't want to do the typical watersport/snorkelling activities either. We ended up going to the Shangri La Rasa Ria to visit the nature reserve/
orangutan sanctuary which was absolutely spectacular and highly recommended - well worth the shuttle price and admission (total of about 150 MYR or $50 USD per person). This compares to more than double the cost and a great deal of travel time to the other orangutan reserves in Borneo.

We were pleasantly suprised by how much better the sister resort was in terms of layout, quiet, etc. In retrsopect, even though the Rasa Ria is more isolated from the rest of Kota Kinabalu, it seemed far superior to the Tanjung Aru. I really wish we had stayed there instead. The Tanjung Aru is more expensive and for reasons that don't seem justified at all.

Overall, a second rate experience...not recommended, especially for a honeymoon!

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Torontoshark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2008

Stayed here on Honeymoon, had two stays sandwiched by a Dive Trip in between.

Our room was fine with all you'd expect - though the bath doesnt really have a sea view - unless you've got a 5-foot neck!! We were in the Kota Kinabalu wing, and you would need to be on floor six to get the better views as the trees block things out if you're any lower, and also the noise from the Blue Note Nightclub is quite loud if you're on Floor 3 or below. We didnt join the KK Club as we didnt feel it was worth it, and it would have restricted us too much.

The resort is advertised as family friendly but there really were too many kids running around and it was all a bit hectic for a honeymoon destination. The kids Club did seem to be very good though and all the kids seemed to be having a whale of a time.

The activities offerred were adequate but considering there were so many people there seemed to be far too few things arranged or facilities to cater for everyone. We were even charged for using the golf clubs on the tiny pitch and putt, which just seemed really petty and very un-five-star-ish.

The beach is quite small but wasnt crowded as people didnt seem to use it (it was jellyfish season though!), and the grounds and hotel in general were well kept and very clean, apart from the team of old women who were constantly on their knee's re-tiling the whole floor of the reception area!

The restaurants are alright, certainly nothing special considering it is touted as a 5* hotel, and are massively overpriced to the extent that you feel like you've been mugged - it worked out at £6 a pint of lager I kid you not! Breakfast was chaos, and the food barely warm and often not labelled. The staff were atrocious and just couldnt be bothered, we had to ask for tea and coffee, ask for our plates to be taken away and ask for cutlery on a regular basis. The service wasnt great in any of the restaurants and the fact that a 10% service gratuity is added to all bills means staff dont need to earn their tips by giving a good service. This woeful customer service seemed to be everywhere: The concierge's didnt know anything and seemed disgruntled if asked for anything, they hardly ever helped with luggage (families with kids in tow were constantly struggling with their cases) and people were rushed into taxi's and sent on their way even if the taxi driver had no idea where the requested destination was - potentially really dangerous. The check-in was poor, with different info given on our two check-ins, things that we thought were complimentary were not and vice versa. We were told wrong info (like there being no shuttle bus, when there actually was) and it all seemed a bit unpolished and definately not 5-star.

This seemed to permeate many areas of the hotel, being disturbed when the 'do not disturb' sign is on, balconies not being tidied, not enough tea/coffee in the room, staff not knowing the menu etc etc. Sometimes its the little things that are appreciated and make the difference!

Get down to Beach Bums and Adventure Scuba, just down the waterfront, as the diving is quite good and they also take you out to the islands and arrange various trips and activities. Manukan Island is definately worth a trip as its got some good snorkelling, but avoid the weekend when it can get too busy. Also, the Chi Spa is apparently "fantastic" as my wife purred - the best she had ever been to (its been voted in the Top Ten in Asia)

There is no entertainment of note in the evenings, so into KK it is. There are quite a few bars though none were particularly busy, there were quite a few backpackers about which just made us feel old !!!!! Theres a good range of restaurants, but definately make time for Little Italy as its fantastic. There's a BBQ bar close by thats got live entertainment, loads of booze, Shisha's and a good atmosphere. It is just off Gaya Street, which also has a market on a sunday morning. Its pretty good and worth a visit, although alot of stalls sell the same thing. The Waterfront has a couple of decent restaurants (Kohinoor Curry House worth a try!) though its not a big as I thought (hoped) it would be. KK is quite rustic and comes across almost as a 'frontier/outback' town, with alot of people passing through rather than staying there.

Tips:
Buy bottles of Coke etc in the Shop or down the waterfront at Beach Bums to save a fortune.
Try the room service as its cheaper and of very high quality - nice on the balcony watching the sunset
The sunset bar is great, but the view from the Pitch and Putt is probably nicer
Eat in town - at Little Italy!! - whenever you can
Visit the Islands as they have alot to offer

The Shangri-La reputation has taken a bettering here, the service is decidedly 3-Star and the price 6-Star! I wouldnt recommend this hotel to friends.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Scuba-Dooby-Doo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2008

We stayed here for a total of 10 days as part of our honeymoon - in hindsight this was completely the wrong choice for a honeymoon destination. Unbeknown to us this hotel was a thriving family resort with screaming children everywhere and we wish we had done some more prior research into this aspect, as we would have chosen a more peaceful resort.
My main findings of the stay were as follows:-

1) Food and Drink - The hotel is a complete rip off and food and drink were more expensive than in any western country. We couldnt eat an evening meal there in any of the restaurants for less than £50 for 2 people (just one course each) and we just couldnt understand how whole families were affording to stay and eat there as it must have cost a fortune! By Day 3/4 we cottoned on that it was a fifth of the price to eat in town which you could get 2 starters, 2 drinks and 2 main courses for £10 so this is what we proceeded to do for the rest of the holiday - we tried Little Italy (amazing!), Meditteranean Bar (good), Rainforest Cafe and Kohinoor on the waterfront amongst others. Do remember though that 15% tax is added onto every bill in Borneo which can make a huge difference.

2) Activities - The range of activities on offer at the hotel is good - after all it is a family resort(!) but we were outraged when we were charged hourly (20RM) to play pitch and putt - surely this should have been included in a supposed 5 star hotel??

3) Service - Generally I would agree with previous comments on the service - the service is nowhere near 5 star and on many occasions we felt we were treated second class as if it was a huge privilege to stay in the hotel. Of particular note are the instances when we were put in a taxi by the porter and the taxi driver had no idea where we wanted to go and as we didnt know KK, neither did we - we just had the name of a place on a map. The porter still insisted we got in the taxi and that the taxi driver drove off - I thought this was appalling! We also saw several instances where women with chidlren were struggling with their luggage and the porters just did not help them. The only member of staff I could find who had what i could 5 star service was Ainon at Coco Joes who made a point of speaking to us every day.

4) Room - we had a kinabalu wing sea view room which was very large and did have everything you could wish for in a room. However there was an instance where we had put 'do not disturb' on the door and we were still disturbed by the housekeeping. As honeymooners we did get some black pearls, sarongs, champagne and a cake which was very nice but we were made to wait 30 mins on arrival as our room wasnt ready. Again I expected better for a 5 star resort, as they had known we were coming for months!

5) Surrounding area - my best advice is to go out and explore Sabah as there is nothing to do in KK. It is basically a central hub for backpackers. We went to Manakan island (opposite the hotel in the islands) and did snorkelling which was good and we also went to Sepilok to see the orang utans which again was an experience I will never forget. There seems to be a lot more to explore outside KK.

Overall I wont be going back to this hotel - we made the best of several irritating situations as we had to but it definitely didnt meet 5 star criteria and I also thought it didnt live up to the Shangri La's reputation.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank unclescooby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2008

We stayed in the Kinablu Wing in a Deluxe room and upgraded to the Kinabalu Club.

Our room was spacious and pretty much immaculate with a very good sea view. Having upgraded to the Kinabalu Club we were able to enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and cakes, soft drinks throughout the day and a two hour happy hour in the afternoon with free drinks and snacks all in 6th floor lounge area with balcony and views across the South China Sea. We were also allowed half an hour of complimentary internet access each day which was handy for checking on email from friends while we were away as well as fresh fruit in our room.

Our room came with the usual bits and pieces you’d expect from a resort of this calibre (mini-bar, room safe, TV etc) plus the option of complimentary DVD rental should you fancy a quiet evening in your room.

The beach area is fairly small but was clean and sandy and there was only one occasion when we were unable to find free loungers but there was always plenty of room around the pools. The hotel grounds are large and very well kept and all of the staff were very polite, professional and helpful when called upon.

The resort offers a number of restaurants and those that we ate in provided a wide variety of food that we were more than satisfied with. The lunches that we ate from the grill near the poolside were usually in huge portions that we’d struggle to finish (not that we’re complaining) so if you’re only looking for a small snack you may find that one meal between two is enough.

You can book tickets on a shuttle bus from here to the sister resort, Shangri La Rasa Ria, at the resort reception. The journey takes between forty-five minutes and an hour. Our chief reason for taking this journey was that the Rasa Ria has a nature reserve where, for a relatively small fee, you are able to view a number of young Orang-utan being rehabilitated. The Orang-utan are looked after here for about three years before moving onto the well known Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. For us it was a far better option than a long and expensive trip to Sepilok given that we were already going on to the Danum Valley later. If money and time are limited and you have your heart set on seeing some Orang-utan then I’d definitely recommend booking the shuttle bus.

The resort is just on the other side of the airport so takes about 10 minutes to reach by taxi. Don’t be put off by the proximity to the airport though as we didn’t notice any traffic noise during our stay there, it’s just very convenient if you want to start your holiday as soon as possible after arrival.

All in all we were very pleased with the resort and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. If we were ever in a position to afford it again I’m sure we’d go back.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank golem11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2008

I just recently returned after spending 5 days at the Tanjung Aru. I was travelling with my wife and 11 year old daughter and we were all very impressed with this lovely hotel. We arrived at about 6.00 p.m. and were greeted warmly and check in went very smoothly. We had no trouble changing our room from the second floor of the Kinabalu wing to the 4th floor to maximise the fantastic view.
We were very impressed with the beautiful gardens of the hotel as well as its facilities. The rooms were very well furnished and the cleaning staff did an excellent job.
Coco Joe's restaurant near the pool was a very relaxing place to have a meal and the views across to the islands were stunning. We did find ( as expected) the cost of drinks to be absurdly high.
We were somewhat disappointed with the buffet breakfast during our stay. We felt the whole breakfast experience was a bit chaotic. I understand the resort was running at about 95-98% occupancy at the time and this obviously contributed to the noisy, rushed atmosphere at breakfast. We found that quite a few of the hot dishes were actually very cold and were not replaced. There seemed to be plenty of staff and all appeared reasonably busy but each morning our used breakfast plates and cups would remain on our tables for long periods and were often not removed unless we asked for them to be removed.
This was the only real negative aspect of our stay. We did find that because the resort was so full it was a bit of a challenge to secure a pool side sun lounge. However, there were plenty of sun beds in various parts of the gardens and service for drinks and food was very good.
We chose to eat out most nights and found some lovely food places about ten minutes walk back past the Yacht Club. The meals were great and a fraction of the cost of the meals in the resort.
The trip across to Sapi island was well worthwhile and there were plenty of lovely fish to see and feed. We took several bread rolls from breakfast and used them to attract large numbers of fish. The parasailing from the resort was great fun.
Overall, I would suggest the Tanjung Aru is close to being a five star resort, with five star views but the overall service, particularly breakfast staff was not yet five star standard.
It is a lovely place and is I recommend you give it a try.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank whiting250
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
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 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Price Range: £154 - £374 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 492
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

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