Review: Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu

Nestled along the pristine stretch of Tanjung Aru beach of Kota Kinabalu, Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is an enchanting tropical retreat, located a mere 10 minutes away from the Kota Kinabalu city and airport.

Shangri La Tanjung Aru was immediately a treat to our senses as we stepped into the luxurious premises. Light scent of lemongrass and the warm ocean breeze accompanied by a traditional live ensemble at the foyer acclimatised our restless souls to relaxation. Leading up to the sea-facing villas, we were whisked away by decorative cultural masterpieces interspersed around the resort, reflecting Borneo’s rich cultural heritage.

Sun, Sand and Sea

Spanning 25 acres, the resort is populated by neat rows of palm trees, a centrepiece pool and all the lush amenities you can think of, designed to offer a life of indulgence. Adjacent to the tropical hotel is an aptly named sunset bar atop a smaller island conjoined by a walkway. The Sunset Bar is named particularly in light of its strategic location. Walking up the entrance of the bar is a moment that will take your breath away as you are greeted by the beautiful backdrop of the perfect setting sun.

Arguably the most important part of an island vacation is, of course, the guest room – where one would find himself lounging overtime or in between activities. Shangri La Tanjung Aru features 492 rooms and suites across the island furnished in contemporary-styled furniture. Each bedroom comes with a balcony that overlooks the picturesque landscape. Perfect for basking in both the sun and the night sky.

One of the highlights of the resort is also the famed CHI Spa set in a standalone spa village on an island with a connecting walkway. Located at the far quiet end of the island, the spa village is a thoughtful concept to drown its guest in nature and privacy. The traditional Borneo treatments are plant-based and energy-aware, reflecting the sustainable efforts of the hotel. One can rest assure that the treatment will leave you feeling good inside and out, from the mind, body to the soul.

While it seems almost too ideal for the ultimate luxury retreat, Shangri La Tanjung Aru exceeds the expectations of a luxury resort to provide experiences beyond the resort. The resort offers a wealth of water sports activities for the adrenaline junkies. But most impressively, it also offers boat services for island-hopping!

One could not say that he has truly experienced a getaway trip without hopping on a boat and get away (literally) to another island for fine dining by the sea – where exceptionally fresh seafood and cocktails are being served with the panoramic view of the neighbouring island and seascape.

A two-day stay at Shangri La Tanjung Aru has left me wishing for nothing else but more time for a longer stay. Hospitality at the hotel was top-notch with staff filling the island with their warm smiles and service. Overall, Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa is the perfect paradise to let your hair down and unwind.