This is by far the most luxurious resort in Kota Kinabalu, thanks to a private beach, vast swimming pool, luxurious spa and excellent kids’ club. It’s also home to one of the best sunset-view bars in the city.
Jutting out on its own little peninsula, Tanjung Aru feels secluded but remains handy for the city (the airport and centre are a 10-minute drive away).
Kota Kinabalu’s skyline and harbour stretch out to the east, while the mountains and lively public beach lie to the north. To the west, there’s a cluster of tiny uninhabited islands – and always a spectacular sunset. Simply position your sunlounger for the view that takes your fancy.
Style & character
The resort stays true to the signature Shangri-La aesthetic: white marble, heavy wooden furniture and contemporary art. While predictable, it does feel sumptuous and fresh.
Though the beach is small, the large swimming pool and elegant gardens stop things getting too crowded – even when the hotel’s 490 rooms are full.
Service & facilities
The resort’s facilities extend far beyond its pool and beach. Take your pick from the daily roster of complimentary activities (think sunrise yoga, kayaking lessons and coconut bowling) or organise your own fun on the tennis courts, petanque pitch and ping pong table. Island hopping excursions and speedboat trips (thrilling!) can be organised at an additional cost.
CHI, The Spa, sits on its own tiny island – connected to the resort by a walkway. Retreat here for luxurious treatments inspired by Malaysian natural remedies.
- Fitness centre
- Kids’ club
- Room service
The resort is divided into two sections: rooms in the Kinabalu Wing face either the sea or mountains; while those in the Tanjung Wing face only the sea. While both are classed as ‘standard’, the rooms in the latter are slightly bigger and more expensive.
All rooms have large balconies, king-size beds, a daybed/sofa, and tea/coffee facilities. En suite bathrooms are larger than most, with separate shower cubicles and bathtubs.
Food & drink
The resort’s breakfast buffet is enormous, with everything from omelettes and pastries to noodles, curries, and Borneo speciality nasi lemak (coconut rice). Better yet, it’s all freshly cooked. Don’t miss the ‘pulled tea’ – a frothy and sweet local favourite.
At 6pm, the open-air Sunset Bar becomes the city’s hottest watering hole. Booking is essential.
Lunch and dinner options are plentiful, with four restaurants to choose from. Shang Palace (Chinese) and Peppino’s (Italian) offer formal dining, while the lively cooking stations of Café TATU are more casual. Most memorable, however, is Coco Joe’s: a buzzy al fresco restaurant serving grills, huge mains and cocktails – and fantastic sea views.
The complimentary kids’ club offers daily activities (treasure hunts, crafts and games), and the water play area has pools and slides galore – with separate zones for toddlers and older children.
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