Monday, May 20, 2013

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa - Glorious aquamarine waters, a palm dotted coastline and gardens that unfurl down to the sea’s edge was not what I was expecting from this well located Shangri-La property, but it’s what I found and more. Being within a few minutes of both the city of Kota Kinabalu and the airport, I was expecting more of a business hotel without too many frills, what I found however, was all you can imagine a tropical paradise could be. 

The Location

Ten minutes from the airport, 10 minutes to the city and 10 minutes by boat to the marine park, you can’t ask for a more convenient site. Both the hustle and bustle of the town and the serenity of nature are at your doorstep. My pick though is the great outdoors… and mountains, jungle and sea await.

Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia, is about 80km east of Kota Kinabalu, and Tanjung Aru’s sister resort, Rasa Ria, possesses its own Nature Reserve, home to orphaned orangutans and a host of native flora and fauna. For sea lovers, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offers five islands surrounded by glistening sandy beaches, shallow azure waters and colourful coral gardens.

Tanjung Aru itself however, is more than lovely and some might decide not to leave. Blessed with water and island vistas and, a sunset worth traveling for, guests are spoilt for access to beauty. Trim lawns spread between manicured gardens and tropical palms dot the coastline. Umbrellas and deck chairs line the pool, gardens and beach, providing guests with an array of alternatives.

The Rooms

Our beautiful Seaview Room overlooked a koi pond, picturesque garden and was backgrounded by a magical blue sea. A private balcony further encourages occupants to take advantage of the scenery. Equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a five star hotel, including complimentary wireless Internet access, all that you need to be comfortable is found within.

The more we travel, the more we appreciate Executive Clubs. Not fond of crowds or noise, we try to upgrade whenever a hotel offers this feature. Tanjung Aru’s Kinabalu Club guests receive a personalized check-in in the Club Lounge, free flow of non-alcoholic beverages all day and access to a range of services designed with the business traveller in mind. The best benefits for us personally though are the access to a smaller but less bustling breakfast smorgasbord and, the evening cocktails.

Special thought is given to those with families who’d also like this perk, but often feel apprehensive in signing up for angst over the reaction of other guests to children in the lounge. Cocktail hours are divided into two sessions. A 4:30 – 6:30pm session tailored specifically for families and, a 6:30- 8:30pm sitting for those over 16 years of age. Light eaters, or those who have over indulged in local delights over the day, could easily make their dinner of the offerings in the lounge.

The Facilities

Kids are well catered for at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa. With a wonderland of water slides, fountains, giant dunking bucket and water battle station, it can only be described as fun, fun, fun. The Cool Zone kids club runs activities all day long and, outside of operating hours, there is a babysitting service available too.

Joined by a narrow lagoonway, the other side of the pool is where the adults hang, taking in views of the crystal water leading out to the aquamarine sea, or dipping in the Jacuzzi. A private beach fringed with deck chairs and umbrellas beckon sun seekers to consider a splash.