Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel

, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
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Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel

, Kota Kinabalu
5 star

Rooms: 495

Locked Bag 174 - Kota Kinabalu - 88995 - Malaysia Hotel Website | 88-225800
1074 Traveller

Reviews - Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel

Heaven on Earth

from swannie
This place was divine, surpassed my expectations. Staff couldn't do enough for you, and very family friendly. My kids adored it. Can't wait to return

s best resort

from arabian_sands
From all 4 five star luxury resort's around kota kinabalu this one is the best.Although the location not far from the city centre is not as secluded as you would expect from a resort, the fact that it's just a short boatride from beautifull islands makes up for that shortcoming. Service is superb, rooms are well furnished.Tanjung wing rooms are nicer although some kinabalu wing rooms win the price for views. It's sister hotel shangri-la's rasa ria has an increadible long stretch of private beach and a shuttle runs from the tanjung aru hotel to there in about 45mins. Tanjung aru is one of asia's nicer big resorts and is recommended thumbs up.

beautiful hotel, superb service!

from gwwyjjliu
Just got back from a 4 night stay at the Tanjung Aru resort. We were very impressed with just about everything, but especially the beautiful grounds and great service. The view out of our room in the Kinabalu wing was amazing, especially at sunset. The room itself was very nice, with thoughful touches such as 4 different pillow firmnesses so you could pick just the right one for you.

During our stay, they were doing renovation work on the Garden Terrace so the breakfast buffets were held in either Peppino's, Shang Palace, and Pulau Bayou restaurants. What a treat! We could eat in a different restaurant for breakfast every morning (although the food was similar in each). They also handed out fresh fruit and ice cream bars poolside during the day as an apology for the noise of renovation, but the Garden Terrace was boarded up so well that we didn't even notice.

We read the prior posts regarding the clientele at this hotel, so we knew what we were getting into. We met a lot of fun-loving Australian, British, and Irish guests and didn't run into any issues with obnoxious behaviour. We are Americans so it was quite refreshing compared to what we've experienced on prior trips. True, there were a lot of kids, but they were mostly well-behaved and since we brought our own two kids, we couldn't really complain.

The staff was excellent and provided warm, attentive service. The only disappointment was the beach: small, rocky, and pretty much unusable for swimming. However, the pools were fine and there were plenty of activities to keep you busy. We did not travel to the Rasa Ria resort but I suppose that one is quieter than Tanjung Aru, which seems popular with families.

All in all, we loved the Tanjung Aru resort and would return again.

Horses for Courses

from 301something
We have just returned from the Tanjung Aru as part of our honeymoon which started in Langkawi. I suspect that our stay at the Datai in Langkawi which is a league all of its own (and obviously a lot more expensive than this hotel) and then the Mandarin Oriental in KL , slightly tainted our view of this hotel, but we were nevertheless just a little bit disappointed by the TA. We had booked a double deluxe room in the new Tanjung Wing and were treated to an upgrade to a suite. We really couldn't fault the room; it was beautifully decorated and fitted out and the bathrooms were modern and chic with all you could ask for. That said, our room was just the other side of the wall separating the bedroom from the lift which you could hear going up and down until later on in the night and just above the children's play area by the garden terrace (obvious consequences for a lie in !!) so those were the negatives.

The breakfast area in the main bit of the Garden Terrace was hot and stuffy (it is open to the elements and not air conditioned) and if you are not keen really strong smells first thing, the whifs of oriental food assault you as you come in... but that is only to be expected in a Malaysian Hotel offering all cuisines to all nations. We opted for the air conditioned smaller area where you can get continental breakfast only and the choice was very good.

I suppose we should have realised that being on honeymoon during half term would attract a lot of children (Japan and then the other Asia Pacific countries also had half term from what I can gather) and for a honeymoon couple I would not have necessarily chosen this hotel as my first option. People with children are obviously quite entitled to take their kids on holiday and if I had kids I think it would be a great option; just not on my honeymoon ! That said, we travelled over to the Rasa Ria where there were also kids but they didn't seem to be quite so obvious and it was possible to swim in the pool etc (the childrens bit being slightly out of the way) without being too bothered by it/them and there also appeared to be slightly nicer areas away from the pool area at the Rasa Ria to get a bit of peace if you wanted to; more so than the TA. I also agree with a couple of the other comments about the Rasa Ria; there is a lovely beach which, yes, whilst you can't really swim makes for a beautiful setting and you can also walk for miles along it (watch out for the sandflies which start biting at around 4ish). The hotel generally seemed much less frenetic and more peaceful although I can't comment on the standard of the rooms there (I believe they are upgrading them at the moment).

We ate at the Coast Restaurant at the Rasa Ria on our last night which is expensive (contemporary western food in a beautiful glass building right on the beach ) but a good "last night" treat. We also visited the Spa which is fantastic.

At the Tanjung Aru, we ate at Peppino (Italian) , which is good for a change if you have had a little too much of the delicious Asian food during your stay in Malaysia. We went into Kota Kinabalu one evening where you can get some excellent local food for no more than £7 for a couple which is a bargain. There's not a huge amount to do in KK and I believe most people use it as a stepping stone to other things (as we did) which means that if you don't mind eating hotel food each night (so don't need KK each night) , are a couple wanting a more peaceful setting, I would choose the Rasa Ria every time. I also agree that it feels slightly more "classy" and a bit less "butlins" (we're not ones for volleyball in the pool, cooking demos in the afternoon and pitch and putt competitions on holidays; just not our cup of tea - which you do get at TA and less so as far as I could see at RR). Some of the communal areas at the TA look a bit tired and the plastic kids toys in the main area by the Garden Terrace definitely detract from what is probably quite a nice looking hotel.

I would also add that I am generally less of a "chain hotel" and more of a small mid range "local type" hotel type of person so that also may have tainted my view; some people love them.

Interesting reviews show diversity of clients

from A TripAdvisor Member
People seem to either go overboard in favour or almost hate the place. I guess it is what you are used to. Like some, we thought the Rasa Ria was two levels up in quality. No comparison.
We can understand why the reviews are so varied, as some aspects of the TA are less than brilliant.
Yes it looks tired and we agree with the poor person who has been accused of being a snob. That was really unfair. What he/she said was their honest opinion and we applaud that person for being both honest and very constructive. After all isn't that what this web site is all about. Three cheers for them.
Their were actually some awful people there, one could hardly fail to notice them and I don't know what world the previous reviewer lives in if they were unaware of this worst element of British tourist. Some looked like archetypal gangsters with their Essex girl molls. It really can put people off to have to mix at breakfast and in the pool with such sorts. Frankly I applaud the previous reviewer for warning others.
It is a place with a strange mix. Lots of children. So that can be a sore point with some. However the infrastructure is generally impressive with stunning rooms and balconies especially in the Tanjung wing.

KK is a great place to eat cheaply but we mixed it eating at the TA the RR and in KK. Try Little India it is superb value and has a great atmosphere.
If you are wondering which one to book then if you are more sophisticated and want peace and quiet and less rowdy group of people then choose the RR though you are more isolated there with KK a not cheap taxi ride away.

I have HIGH EXPECTATIONS do you? *****

from Smrt
I expect alot when I go on a holiday and I received above and beyond what I had expected.
If you want a place to stay that is close to everything plus QUALITY this is your destination.
The WHOLE experiece from check in to checking out was SUPERB, the people the place the food "PERFECT".
I do reccomend upgrading to the new Tanjung Wing.... as it is so beautiful.

can see both sides of view - great and not so great

from carmex21
This hotel seems to have received some pretty mixed reviews. Reading them I think a lot may have to do with the time of the year.

I and 4 girlfriends stayed in here for a week. We all thought it was gorgeous – very relaxing, amazing staff, clean, comfortable and luxurious.
The rooms were huge with modern interiors and great sized bathrooms. Comfortable beds, easy on the eye décor and a great balcony.

The breakfast was really varied with something for everyone. Tons of food and tea and coffee.

The resort was very very couple orientated which we found quite funny. I think we were the only single people!!
Towards the end of the week we did see more children around but they were all very young and not intrusive.

Outside of the resort we didn’t see any westerners, which makes me think we were there at a quite time. We eat out every night as the city cannot be beaten for taste and value.
The hotel, while still cheap in European terms is expensive compared to local prices.


I think this hotel is perfect for using as a base to explore the amazing world of Borneo. There is so much to do between the Orangatanges the mountain, diving etc etc.
It would seem a waste to go somewhere like this and lie beside the pool or drink in the bar for two weeks.

One of my party works in the travel industry and she reckons it is not a 5 star but a good 4 star.

I would go back for sure – off season!!

not the best

from westiekate
As shangri la hotels go this isnt a patch on the city type aimed at business people
we stayed in the club horizon rooms in what i must describe as what must be the "old wing" (the new wing not having club rooms)
the room was not up to the standard of other club rooms
however i can as always recommend the club rooms where it is worth the extra for private breakfast in club lounge (no fighting for food amongst the rabble of kids) free bevereges during the day and cocktail hour (free) 6-7 (the city hotels do 2 hours )
the hotel seemed over run with kids when we were there ....just before easter
we did visit the risa ria and it did seem more chilled however even more aimed at kids....
we did have a brilliant anniversairy dinner arranged by my husband at the sunset bar after it had closed ....special meal brought whatever we wanted and only us there beautiful...thank you mark!!!
hire a car for a truly borneo experience ...they drive on same side of road as us not as bad as you may expect good roads ect
another thing i would recommend is to eat out at one of the local sea food restraunts a pick your own (literally) experience
all in all this is not a hotel i would visit again (shabby beach/kids running wild/expensive wine/needs rooms updating)

Tanjung Aru - Best Hotel in Sabah

from GrahamMo
I don’t normally get round to posting reviews, but felt inclined to defend this hotel (& it’s guests!) from comments posted in a recent review.
The Tanjung Aru is an excellent hotel, with first class facilities. We stayed in a lovely room in the Tanjung Wing. The hotel has first class facilities throughout; the restaurants, pools, public areas cannot be faulted.

We visited the Rasa Ria on a day trip & (as per the vast majority of reviews) there is absolutely no question whatsoever that the TA is the better hotel of the two in virtually every respect (although the RR is a still a good hotel). Admittedly the RR has a nice beach, however it is far from ideal for swimming. The RR is also nearer the jungle/Mount KK etc; however, whichever hotel you choose, these attractions still have to be accessed via transport.

I found the comments made regarding fellow guests unbelievably pretentious. This hotel costs £70 a night – do they expect to be mixing with royalty for this price? We stayed in the week leading upto Easter & perhaps the hotel did become slightly more crowded & noisy in the last few days of our stay. However, at no point could it be described as becoming yobbish, simply people enjoying themselves on holiday. I’d certainly rather meet these people on my holiday than tedious snobs with an over inflated impression of their own self importance!

To summarise, Sabah is a fantastic place & the TA is the best hotel is Sabah. There are a massive range of activities/trips available from the TA, so get out there & explore!

Like the distinguished guests from the previous review, we also stayed in the Mandarin in KL. I do have to agree with them on this one – it is a magnificent hotel & far superior to the Shangri-La in KL.

Fantastic room and views but a few reservations

from Lemniot2
Struggled for some time with my rating and decided ultimately to err on the less generous side with 3 rather than 4! I read the previous reviews here and can see why some people rate this resort so highly but it has to be said that to regular long distance travellers who like their dose of local culture and have stayed in some of the world's top hotels we found this resort in many ways rather tacky. There were a number of major problems here that had actually been addressed and overcome at the sister Rasa Ria Resort, which, believe me, is a lot better and would be the preference of more serious travelers over this earlier built Tanjung Aru.
I will try to make my point without too much emotion as I find it so sad that these days, even in a place like this, sold to us by Trailfinders as very select, that you still face the encroachment of yob culture as the frankly tacky people who used to visit the Costas and Lanzarotte but who now choose Cancun and Orlando seem to have reached Borneo in large numbers. These are the people, whose culture dictates that they get out early and leave towels on the sun loungers (I blame the resort though for culpably allowing it) and spend their whole time drinking cheap beer and loudly imposing their Essex accents and Rooney and Henry football shirts on the others of us who want a taste of Borneo rather than of England. Noticeably we kept seeing these people in KK hanging out at the Irish Bar. Distinctly patronised by the management, they mainly fill out the lounge bar in the evening (and the Blue Note night club) and sit drinking to noisy bands playing English pop songs. It is mainly good natured stuff I guess but unfortunately after 9pm there was no where else to go to have a quiet drink and it was noticeable that very few Australian, Malays, Chinese or Korean holidaymakers were found in this one and only comfortable bar in the evening. There should have been better outside bars to sit at but Coco Joes (which anyway is more for eating) was shut for about eight days of our stay and no suitable replacement had been organised - which would have been easy enough for the management to do. I don't want to sound a culture snob (and maybe we should have sussed it out and guessed what this resort was about) but there is so much that is good, that it is sad it has become rather more stressfull than it should to have a long vacation at this resort.
The swimming pool is quite decent, though very crowded during the recent Easter weeks when we there. There is also a small but very sandy swimmable beach that seems to be mainly ignored. We used it quite a lot as it gave us some space. The bedrooms are absolutely magnificent with great dramatic palm-tree lined sea views, huge comfortable beds, excellent facilities and fabulous bathrooms. The balcony of our suite was a sheer pleasure to sit out on and look at the sea and the sunsets. The restaurants are also extremely good, with Peppino's, the Italian, of exceptionally high standard. Breakfast also is a real treat with every kind of Asian and European fare imaginable and the quantity of food and the service was out of this world. In fact, from this point of view, the whole place was a real pleasure and the staff could not be bettered. I retain my slight concern that SE Asian waiters and waitresses always tell you what they think you want to hear rather than give you the straight and narrow version. But this can be rather charming. Lots of children at Easter time of course and those who were there will know what I mean, when I say that there was a rather surreal atmosphere at breakfast time.
The five islands off the coast provide wonderful sunbathing on sandy beaches and great snorkelling in the clear coral seas and the watersports facilities at this resort are pretty impressive.

Most of the British guests in fact sayed in the Kinabalu Wing whereas we chose the recently restored Tanjung Wing. We felt that this was the quieter option and there was easy access to the pitch and put which we enjoy. Either seemed fine. One other negative note is that use of the computers and internet at the Business Centre is hugely expensive and one had to severely limit our sessions on line.
To conclude. This is ostensibly a delightful resort with easy access to quite attractive nearby Tanjung Aru Village and KK. The food is excellent. If you are looking for a quiet more cultured destination then this is possibly not it. It does feel a bit like a VERY up market Butlins. Perhaps the public spaces are a bit tired though the rooms and the setting are second to none. If, like us, you like to be with other more cultured people (for our sins) then I would strongly suggest the Rasa Ria, which in every way, other than the fact that it is isolated, is better than the Tanjung Aru. We noticed that quite a number of TA residents were trying to transfer to the RR. It is a smaller resort with half the people and is much better managed, with controls against this silly regime of laying towels out on loungers from 7am in the morning (you can see this really irritated many people especially us). It is also much much more beautifully laid out, with a magnificent very long sandy beach, larger better designed swimming pool better public spaces and equally good restaurants. On the fringe of the jungle, it melds with the nearby wildlife park and you can really enjoy that aspect of life plus it has a brilliant 18-hole golf course and lots more things to do.

We are not really such big fans of Shangri-La hotels -see my other hotel reviews - and much prefer the more subtle cultured traditional approach of such hotels as the KL Mandarin Oriental (absolutely wonderful), the Oberoi in Delhi and the Peninsula in Bangkok. There is no doubt that Shangri-La attracts the wealthiest, the brashest and the loudest but does it draw those with real old fashioned good taste? I think that is very debatable. And after staying at the KL Shangri-La we very much retain those doubts. However, as a luxury seaside resort hotel, the Rasa Ria is pretty brilliant and compares say with the Ana Mandara in Nah Trang, Vietnam. Just wish we could say the same about the Tanjung Aru.

Top Local Tips for Kota Kinabalu

Hire a driver Hire a driver for the day. Ours cost about ringitt 200 and was well worth it because he knew a lot of local spots that the guidebooks & hotels never tell you about.

Mount Kinabalu Ensure you are well prepared as agents do not really expalin the difficulty of this climb. You need good hiking boots, warm clothing, torch, waterproof jacket and gloves, and need to be very fit, its 4093 kilometres and you can experience altitude sickness and difficulty in breathing.

Seafood restaurant in town If you like seafood go to the big seafood place in town. Make sure you eat where the most locals (there are 4 areas) are as the food is better. Let the restaurant person help you pick your dishes. It was very cheap and tasted devine.

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Other names for Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel

  • tanjung aru
  • shangri las tanjung aru resort
  • shangri las tanjung aru hotel
  • shangri la tanjung aru
  • shangri la kota kinabalu
  • Address: Locked Bag 174 - Kota Kinabalu - 88995 - Malaysia
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