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Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Vacation to Kota Kinabalu Shangri-L...
Vacation to Kota Kinabalu Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru and Manukan Island Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
Finally more than half of the nation globally is shifting to endemic and that means travelling is gradually back to trend. The same applied to us. We got tired of staying at home for more than 2 years and finally we pulled the trigger for a flight trip, and this times we flew to Kota Kinabalu Sabah. Short flight trip is what we can afford, as it was an uncertainly how our young toddler can adapt to a flight.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Upon learning that we are going to fly via Firefly Airlines to Kota Kinabalu, my friends there have recommending a number of hotels for me. Thankfully, we got an arrangement to stay in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort after spending 3 days 2 nights in Shangri-La Rasa Ria. I recalled the days when I was a student in Sabah and my peers that time were gushing about how amazing was the 5 star Shangri-La Resort. Finally, I am back after 10 years to experience the resort physically. 

Why Shangri-La Tanjung Aru was a Great Hotel 


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Ever since we become a parents, the decisions pertaining to accomodation could not be taken lightly anymore. I try my best to get a comfortable room to compensate our very much deprived sleep lately, a hotel with eateries offering kid friendly food that I can access anytime and the thing that my kid anticipates most during any staycation - swimming pool. 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru fulfill our expectations, and in fact went beyond that. The resort lush green garden and walking distance seaside provided a much needed nature therapy for our fagged body. On top of that, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru offers a mini water park instead of just swimming pool to keep our toddler entertained for a longer time, which consequenced a soundless afternoon nap and night sleep that allow us as parents to have a better rest too. Various activities offered by the resort also inject some adrenaline into us which had been missing for the past 2 years. The resort close proximity to the city centre also allowed us to hop to to the city anytime.

The warm and friendly Borneon reception displayed by the resort's crews in every corner of the resort including reception counter, restaurant, room service, kids playgounr and private jetty is notable too. 

Choosing Your Rooms in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

We stayed at the resort Tanjung Wing room with a private balcony facing the swimming pool that offers the direct access to it. This is a double-edge sword as the kid was really having fun without going the long way to the pool, but at times she was distracted ambient noise from the pool during her nap hours. 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Our room is pretty comfortable and spacious. I always enjoy whenever there is a couch being placed in the hotel room, as I can solely dedicated my bed for sleeping at night while couch is the option for resting after activities. The resort truly lives up its purpose for relaxation as every room comes with a seperate shower cubicle and a soaking tub, so those looking for a better bath time can go for the tub. 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

The attentiveness of the resort crews definitely deserved the plaudits. They realised we were checking in with a toddler, so they prepared a bag of children's toiletries, children toothbrush, a child's bath rob,  and a mini stool in our room. 

If you are the type of travellers looking for a more tranquil setting, book a room in Kinabalu wing. The rooms there are quieter as the entire wing is located far away from the main facilities such as swimming pool. The trade off is you need to walk a distance to the resort's restaurants or other facilities, compared to rooms in Tanjung Wing. 

We recommend you to choose a room that facing seaview whenever you are staying in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru. You will get amazing sunset view at the South China Sea if the sky condition permits. When the dusk set in and the kid has finally asleep, we sat at the private balcony, letting the breeze wafting our face while enjoying a few cup of wines ordered during the private dining. 

That is how we enjoy life. 

Food in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru


Food is never a problem in the resort. There are a few restaurants in the resort, namely Coco-Joe's Grill and Bar which serves grilled food and steak, Shang Palace that offers Chinses cuisine and Cafe TATU with international cuisine and serves as the spot for daily breakfast. 

The resort also hosts Sunset Bar and Borneo Lounge & Bar that serve as spot to enjoy a cup of drinks.

Breakfast at Cafe TATU


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Cafe TATU is the place where you will go for the daily breakfast. The staircase leading down from the main lobby leads the way to cafe TATU.

I was there for breakfast at 8.30am and the traffic was heavy. I had to queue up to get a table, and there were queue everywhere at different station of the breakfast buffet. As I was going to the breakfast alone (the kid was still sleeping in the room), my table was taken after I went to the food counter to take some food. Fortunately I was able to get a table at the outdoor seating which appeared to be less popular due to relatively humid weather.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

The buffet breakfast was pretty standard at Cafe TATU and there are some decent choices such as pancakes, omelettes and noodles. 

Breakfast at Horizon Lounge


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation
Sarawak Laksa for breakfast

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

If you are staying in any of Horizon rooms or suites, or Diamond members of Shangri-La Circle, you are entitled to enjoy the breakfast at Horizon Lounge. The crowd is lesser here, and the semi-buffet breakfast here offers better food options and including some exclusive a la carte items such as Sarawak Laksa.

There is an entertainment corner in Horizon Lounge with bean bags and television. My kid was distracted by the ongoing TV program and that buy us some peaceful breakfast time too. 

Coco-Joe's Grill and Bar


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Our Friday's night at Shangri-La Tanjung Ara was well spent by enjoying some grilled meat and steak by the beach at Coco-Joe's Grill and Bar, and entertained throughout the night by the live band performance. If you come on a Saturday evening, you will have the opportunity to witness the live fire performance evening.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Weekends are wonderful at Coco-Joe's Grilll and Bar as they have buffet dinner with an amazing spread of grilled steak and food. We get to help ourselves with limitless supply of striploin steaks, grilled chicken, sausages, potatoes, chips, corns and more, all prepared on the spot by the chef. A la carte menu that offers burgers, pasta, seafood and grilled seafood are available daily too. 

You can complement the night with a bottle of wine or draught beers from the tap. 

Private Dining in Room


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation
Private dining setup in our room

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Travelling with a toddler does not offer the flexibility we used to have previously. Our life basically revolves around her, and sometimes we have to make changes to our dining hours catering to her. This means dining at odd hours and the restaurant may be closed during that time. Fortunately, the hotel has in room private dining come to our rescue.

The resort has arrange a private in room dining for us and they setup a table decorated with rose petals and a LED candle in the private balcony when we were elsewhere in the afternoon. The surprise move also came in time as it concur with an early celebration for our girl 2 years old birthday. It certainly come in time, as both of us needed a tad of romance since becoming the family of 3.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

We had a 3-course meals, featuring salmon tartare as entree, surf and turf that has pan-seared beef tenderloin, sous vide garlic tiger prawns, roasted carrots, potato puree, tomato chutney and au just, following by a rich chocolate fondant pudding. We requested to have some poached chicken and potato puree and the little one approved it!

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

The private dining food was awesome, especially the fresh sous vide garlic tiger prawns and pan-seared beef tenderloin. As we needed more time as usual to feed the kid, we requested to have the dessert sent over later and the service crew duly obliged. Guess what, our girl was so obsessed with the humongous chocolate ball that melts when the service crew our the warm milk over it. 

Sunset Bar


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

I think every visit to Shangri-La Tanjung Aru ought to include a visit to Sunset Bar. As the name implies, it offers a majestic view of the sunset. Order a cup of drink, take a strategic seat and hope for good weather so you can enjoy a good Borneon sunset. We were not that fortunate during our visit as the sky was gloomy and we missed the golden egg yolk sunset.

The Sunset Bar is very popular and could crowded at times so be here early to prevent disappointment.

Things to Do in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru


Three days two nights at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort itself seems a lot but we did not spend the 48 hours squatting in the room solely. In fact, I wished we could have more time in the resort as 48 hours were insufficient. 

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park - Manukan Island Trip via Private Jetty 


We had always wanted to bring our girl for an excursion to an island and let her experience the real seawater and witness the marine life. After all, Baby Shark and the sealife has left such an immense influence on her.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

The conventional way of getting into Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and do island hopping is via Jesselton Ferry Terminal but we learnt that Shangri-La Tanjung Aru has a private jetty - STAR Marina that exclusively provide water sport service and island transfer to the resort's guests. Such a convenient!

The resort has arranged an early trip for us to travel to Pulau Manukan via STAR Marina. Though this was our girl first boat trip, she braced herself and remained relatively calm throughout the speed boat journey (suddenly feel proud as parents). The boat trip was short, probably about 15 minutes and we did not feel any boat sickness as the journey was smooth.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Despite the country was transiting into endemic, Manukan Island was full of local people. Many people came here for snorkeling as Manukan Island have designated places cordoned by buoys for snorkeling, though the best snorkeling spot may at the eastern coast of Sabah. Our girl was still too young for snorkeling (minimum age is 4 years old to fit the equipments) but she did enjoy the water time, splashing water while we took turn for snorkeling. Great thing about STAR Marina is that they provide rental or snorkeling equipments too.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Lunch was provided and delivered by the resort to Manukan Island. What an impeccable service the resort is providing! You may arrange with the resort for the food too if you are coming via their private jetty. 

Marine Conservation Centre


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Upon returning from the island excursion, our girl suddenly has her affection toward marine life multiplied and she wanted to see more fish. We thought we had to resort to YouTube (we stopped giving her TV or phone time) to show her the fishes but fortunately we got to know that the resort houses a marine conservation centre, just right behind STAR Marina.

The marine conservation centre in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru is manned by the resort marine biologist and has several objectives, such as promote reef restorations and conserve marine life. Though it is small in size but our girl was satisfied by gazing at the starfish and clownfish in the centre. She even requested to make a return trip to the centre on next day just to see the starfish and bid farewall before we depart to airport. 

Chi, The Spa


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Last but not least, I am thankful to the resort for arranging a spa pampering session at Chi, The Spa in conjunction with Mother's Day. I totally forgot it was Mother's Day, as my life has been pretty much devoted into taking care of my girl. 

The spa sits on an island connected by a private causeway in the resort, which offers an amazingly comfortable ambiance for a spa session. It was relaxing, and a perfect way to wind up my 5 days 4 nights in Sabah before departing to hometown and face the reality. 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

Thanks to Shangri-La's Team, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru and Firefly Airlines for making this vacation a reality.

In conclusion


The stay in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru was pleasant and we could not find any flaws in between. Its strategic location near to the town and airport, along with a short stretch of private beach makes here a perfect spot for a staycation. 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu Sabah Staycation

A few reasons that I would come back here again for sure is their pool facilities and impeccable services displayed by the resort crews. Furthermore, the price is justifiable as it is a 5 star resort, which was previously built to cater for the King's meeting in Sabah (now you know why the resort is good). Though I am not sure when I would be back to Sabah again but I am looking for that day.

Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort
Website: https://www.shangri-la.com/en/kotakinabalu/tanjungaruresort/


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