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“Came to Borneo for the wildlife, all we got were screaming kids and hoards of people”

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Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
Ranked #4 of 92 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Came to Borneo for the wildlife, all we got were screaming kids and hoards of people”
Reviewed 4 July 2014

My husband and I have always wanted to visit Borneo. We were looking forward to spending an exotic week close to nature, hearing the noises of the rain forest. The main noise we heard all holiday was screaming kids! What we actually got is a hotel that could be anywhere in the world. It's perfect for families with small children if you just want to hang out by the pool (assuming you can find a space to sit down). If you want to see Borneo, it's not great. It feels more like a compound than a luxury hotel. The whole place is designed to keep you in and spending all your money at the hotel rather than adventuring out. Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding areas are really built up and not at all pretty or charming. If your coming to Borneo for the wildlife, don't come here........you just as well go to centre parks!

Room Tip: If you're coming to Borneo to be close to nature, don't choose this hotel!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jared l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Perth, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2014

Stayed last month for eight nights with my husband. Having stayed at the Shangri-La in Penang earlier this year, we were quick to compare!

Check in/Check out/Concierge -All very friendly, warm, informative and go out of their way to help you. I was expecting (having read reviews on tripadvisor) and prepared for the 'pay to upgrade' upon checkin -we kindly declined as we were more than happy to keep our money for spending!!!

Rooms - Although slightly dated, exceptionally clean, well-maintained with two services a day. We had a 'Kinabalu Room' which unfortunately we couldn't see the mountain due to weather conditions, but didn't phase us and we're not big on sitting on the verandas (we watched sunsets at a variety of great locations in the resort). DVD in room with DVD library available (no problems with borrowing movie, it was delivered to our door!). We unfortunately had a couple of families quite close to our room who allowed their children to literally run up and down the corridors past ten at night yelling. I thought I had booked into the 'non-family' section of the hotel, but obviously misread during the booking.

Outside areas - A variety of choices depending on your mood! Poolside was lovely as you looked out over the sea to the islands in the background (infinity pool). We didn't use the areas suited for families with waterslides, although there seemed to be plenty of seats, umbrellas & space. The beach area is relatively small, but big enough to find a spot and watch the sunset. The sunset bar will only allow people through who have placed an order - yes, food and drinks here are more expensive, but the experience of sitting on the beanbags with just water between you and the sunset is pretty special. There is plenty of gardens, lawn, fish-filled ponds to wander through. We didn't utilize any of the sporting areas, although we could see the tennis courts from our room.

Eateries - A part from a drink from both the Sunset Bar and Coco Joes, we only ate in the main buffet area for breakfast and two of the buffet dinners. The spread was extensive, but my husband and I both kept thinking back to the Shangri-La Penang's Spice Cafe as offering a better range and quality of food. Yes, like other reviews, breakfast can get very busy & although the staff do their utmost to replenish, we found that they couldn't quite keep up with the demand. One of the mornings I notified one of the chefs that the bread basket was empty of which he took it to refill. After about ten minutes, I asked another waitperson in case the chef had forgotten, she came back to say it would be another half an hour (not a problem, but it would have been nice to be told rather than to wait expecting the chef to return!!).
We also had a couple of room service meals which all but one were delivered hot, presented well and tasted delicious. Just don't order if you are starving! We waited between 40-65minutes each time.

CHI Spa - absolutely stunning (just like at the Penang Shangri-La) but expect to pay Western prices. We had a 1hr15min Asian blend massage which was close to $90AUD each as our treat on the first day. (We then found a downtown city SPA centre on tripadivisor & went there for our further massages at about $50AUD 1hr......we had a $20AUD massage on our final day at a place near CentrePoint which was just as good!).

Tour Desk - we used the hotel's tour group to book a tour out to see the probiscus monkeys & fireflys on river cruises. The second 'tour' was actually chartering a car & driver for eight hours to visit the Kinabalu Mountain Head Quarters and Australian War memorial (highly recommended to do it this way -was only about $50AUD more expensive than going on the actual bus tour and allowed us to do the extras such as the memorial in our own time, with an English speaking tour guide). Tour desk staff well informed and courteous although they did push for us to hire a mini van rather than a car for the two of us! We explained that a car would be just fine (and it was!).

Taxi- Counter - It is good to know (as throughout Malaysia), that you can pay upfront for your taxi trip depending on where you are going. However, unlike the rest of Malaysia, the fares for taxis in Kota Kinabalu seem to be a little of a rip-off. For example, a trip to the airport which (for us) was less than ten minutes...I think six to be exact) was 30RM (ie $10AUD) - I thought this a little steep when the trip into the city centre was also 30RM. One evening on returning from the city centre back to the hotel, we stopped off for dinner at a restaurant along one of the main roads. It cost us 15RM from the city to the restaurant and then was charged the full 30RM back to the hotel!! Taxis will not use the meter as they go by the fixed prices (that can be obtained at the taxi-counters). Just be warned!

Overall, great stay at the Shangri-La.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Janelle_u81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SG
2 reviews
Reviewed 3 July 2014

We (2 adults, 2 kids age 8) stayed for 5 days. We really needed this break as we just had a moving out of house after the back. Just have to say we couldn't have chosen any better! What great service we experienced! The staff is very friendly and the room (facing the seaside) was just perfect! Big space, perfect clean and nice! Enjoyed the balcony where we could sit and listen to the waves..... So relaxing.
They look after you very well in the hotel! There are so many "small" but in fact "big" things they care about. You get always plenty of drinking water provided in your room (they do even a refill in the evening), they offer water drinking stations allover the swimmingpool area, you can get free sunblokker if you need. It is a great place for kids - different water slides (all watched with saftey guards), great waterplay area for kids, water-balloon shooting station (kids loved it), great pools (one part only for adults - think this is a good idea for people not having kids and wanting to relax as well - for kids there are really so many other pools left), water playing things like water ball etc. for kids, soccer field (VERY important for boys!!!), table tennis, outdoor chess, great kids club, great offer for adults like health club, thai-chi in the morning, aqua-gym in the afternoon........
Food: Just great! Sometimes a bit bussy in the Tatu-Restaurant. But you still can REALLY enjoy your food and it is always such a big choice of food and GOOD food!!!!
We went one day on a snorkel trip. Was great!!!!! Kids and adults just loved it!!!! Great island, great beach.
We were watching the soccer world cup games in "real time" as well - was just a great atmosphere!!!!
We had a very relaxing and a great time in the Tanjung Aru Resort and we highly recommend it for families with or without kids. Staff is very, very nice, helpful and friendly. We will miss all this !!!!! Thanks so much to the entire team!!!!!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Review collected in partnership with shangri-la.com

Helpful?
Thank Moositraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level 6 Contributor
202 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 July 2014 via mobile

Visited with my family for summer break. Very child friendly. Excellent if you have young children.
The sunset bar is great. As the name suggest it is a wonderful place to have a cold beer and watch the sunset. Staff are friendly and helpful. Enjoyable destination resort. No need to visit city.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Wongluk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kudat, Malaysia
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

We were at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru resort for a wedding. Few of our friends were looking for STAR Marina to board a private chartered boat. Went to the main reception to ask for directions, but was told twice that there is NO STAR Marina in the hotel!! They we roaming around the hotel for 1 hour looking for the right place! How could the receptionist not know where the STAR Marina is? Cost us lots of delay. Otherwise the wedding was beautiful.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank pplee38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shangrila_TAH, General Manager at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 9 July 2014
Dear pplee38, thank you so much for your feedback on our staff and their understanding of our services available here at the resort. This is a very serious matter and I have taken a personal approach to making sure all our staff are familiar with our products and services. We value your comment in helping us to improve our ourselves and serve you better. Once again thank you and do visit us again soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
270 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 188 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

We stayed at the Shangri La Tanjung Aru for 6 nights recently during our trip to KK. For our family of 5, 2 adults, 3 kids (17, 14 and 8), we had 2 interconnecting Kinabalu Club seaview room. We decided to pay extra for club as we understand that the breakfast restaurant can be quite a circus in the morning and you'll need to wait in line for a table during peak times.

Our rooms:
The view from our rooms were great. The club rooms are on level 6 and 7 and this gave obstructed view of the sea if you booked a seaview room. The room deco on the other hand was ordinary and nothing luxurious. Room and bathroom were spacious as you'd expect of a Shangrila. The Kinabalu wing is further from the main reception where most of the restaurants are. The main reception areas is the Tanjung wing. At the Kinabalu wing, there is the gym and Shang palace the Chinese restaurant. The walk from the Kinabalu wing to the main lobby and pool is not far. About 2 mins, at most 3. We were glad we chose the Kinabalu wing because it was definitely more peaceful and pleasant. The Kinabalu wing has both club and non-club rooms. Tanjung Wing has non-club rooms only.

Kinabalu club lounge:
The lounge serves breakfast, a simple tea and snack at 2pm, family happy hour from 4.30-6.30 pm and adult happy hour from 6.30- 8.30pm. Non-alcoholic drinks are served throughout the day. The food they serve during the happy hours are of good variety and quality and substantial enough to make a simple dinner. We did that on 2 nights when we were too lazy and tired after a day of activities to go out. We were glad we were just a few doors from the lounge. It was super convenient and not noisy at all! On the other nights, we go to the lounge for dessert and drinks after our dinner. As kids under 16 cannot go to the lounge during adult happy hours, we normally get them some dessert of cakes or fruits to take to the room if they so desire.

DH was keen to try breakfast at the Tatu restaurant after 2 days of breakfast at the club lounge and it was quite a harried experience. We never went back there again for breakfast and had all our remaining breakfasts at the club lounge which was definitely more peaceful and pleasant albeit less variety, but that was not an issue with us.

Restaurants:
One breakfast at Tatu restaurant was harried. We had lunch there one day. They have a noodles/ pasta lunch buffet daily. Price was reasonable but as we weren't keen on pasta or noodles that day, we ordered ala carte. Among us we had fish and chips, gado gado (a local salad with peanut sauce) and beef rending (a spicy coconut based beef stew). Food taste and price was acceptable.

A simple snack of pizza at coco joes by the pool was nothing to shout about on another occasion. There is a nice cream bar by the pool which was great for an afternoon snack or swim break.

Our favorite restaurant was Shang Palace, the Chinese restaurant. Food was good and price very reasonable. We had dinner there twice and paid RM220 and RM280 for each of the dinner for 5 of us.

Recreation:
The pool areas was fun for the kids. There are 4 slides, in addition to the usual family pool and adult pool. There is also a water war zone. You get 4 free buckets of water filled balloons for your water war per room per day. Additional buckets can be bought at RM5 per bucket if I recall correctly.. It was pretty fun.

There is hardly a beach at this hotel. So if you want a nice beach go to the Shangri la rasa Ria instead. We picked Tanjung Aru as we were going for snorkeling and other activities and Tanjung Aru is more convenient. Rasa Ria is much further away.

Spa:
DH and I has a Chi Balance massage each. As usual the Chi spa did not disappoint. It was absolutely relaxing!

All in all we had a pleasant stay at this hotel. Definitely a hotel for family, much less for couples.

Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank DNLs_mum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

We decided to have a long weekend in Kota Kinabalu. It's only a two hour flight from Singapore and then a 10 minute taxi ride to the resort. We splashed out a little and booked a suite in the Kota Kinabalu Wing. Unspoilt sea views from our suite was the first thing that greeted us, then we took in the well appointed suite. Everything you could need or want.we did use two of the eateries on site and I will review those separately. I also used the spa and this was a wonderful experience. Everything is bootable on site, we used a jet ski and this ca be arranged from reception.

We loved this place, the room, the service and the food made this without doubt one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in!

Room Tip: Go for the club rooms, the club lunge serves breakfast and drinks all day. This was included in our...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Messtin112
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 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#1 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#2 Luxury 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 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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