Where to Stay in Sabah: Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort Kota Kinabalu
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu (Malaysian Borneo) is the ideal place to stay in Sabah. Just outside of the city, it offers something for couples (read: adults only) and families alike! I could live very happily at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu on the giant, private Pantai Dalit Beach. As media taking part in their “Day in Paradise” package, I was invited to check out a couple of the calm, but still majestic, rooms on each side of the property.
Getting to Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort
Kota Kinabalu City itself isn’t very big. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort says it’s located about 40 minutes from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and 35 minutes from KK City’s downtown core. Getting to the property from my first accommodations in Sabah took about half an hour, and the way back didn’t feel very long at all as I was in good company. These estimates are surely with traffic, which I hear can get pretty bad, but was fine throughout my entire stay.
Each Malaysian-themed room is surrounded by 400 acres of tropical forest. Many offer a spectacular beachfront view, as well. The resort offers an eco-friendly championship golf course and Spa at Dalit Bay which welcome you to the grounds. I spent the morning touring the property and even got to spend some time at the Shangri-La’s private beach – which was empty since everyone was either at the pool or on an excursion. The resort also has a Nature Interpretation Centre and Nature Reserve which I got to visit on my Day in Paradise experience. While the only wildlife I got to visit during my stay was a little garden snake, we had a great hike and I got to see some birds of prey flying free.
Playing at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
There are a plethora of ways to keep busy at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort. The wall of activities was full of exciting events the day I spent there, and I could have played for a week and still never have experienced it all! The wide variety of recreation facilities include:
• The Spa at Dalit Bay
• 18-hole championship golf course, club house, putting green and driving range
• Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort’s own nature reserve featuring native animals and plants
• Free-form swimming pool with children’s pool
• Water sport activities, fishing, and river boat tours
• Health club with gymnasium and reflexology treatments
• Horseback riding, cycling, nature walks and tree-top canopy
• A floodlit tennis court
• Tours to Mount Kinabalu, jungle treks, and wildlife reserves
• White-water rafting (seasonal)
• Summit breakfast
• Wall climbing
“You decide to go horse riding today. Don’t forget about deep sea fishing tomorrow. Even the kids have their own fun club. And the more adventurous ones get to help the rangers look after the animals in the resort’s care. Twilight happens all too soon. But with sunset cocktails and dinner in a beach-side gazebo served by your own private butler, you don’t really mind.”
Dining at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort has a mix of 9 cafes, lounges, bars, and restaurants each with a different theme and atmosphere. You could feel like you’re dining at a different place on the island for every meal without ever leaving the property. I was on the go throughout my whole day in paradise and still managed to enjoy some amazing eats!
I enjoyed and incredible beef rendang at Tepi Laut Makan Street – a 220 seat restaurant in the Garden Wing serving local hawker specialties. I had a rum cocktail in a coconut at the Sampan Bar – a 60 seat Beachfront bar serving cocktails and other beverages.
We ordered the entire menu and got curried away at Naan, Flavours of India – a 95 seat modern Indian restaurant in the Garden Wing boasting plenty of awards for its North Indian cuisine. More on how I indulged in my next article on Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and my experiences on my Day in Paradise – stay tuned!
Garden Wing Rooms at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
Since the Garden Wing is closer to the lobby and activities at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, it tends to be a little more popular with families. There are 326 guestrooms in the Garden Wing each overlooking the forest, garden or sea. Garden Wing rooms include complimentary breakfast at Coffee Terrace, too!
Ocean Wing Rooms at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
The Ocean Wing rooms at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu are absolutely worth the little extra spend. The rooms are removed from the hustle and bustle of the lobby and the bars and lounges. There’s a pool right outside your balcony and the sprawling private beach not far away. The rooms are larger and far more impressive for a number of reasons.
My primary reason for loving the Ocean Wing was the massive balcony with Jacuzzi. Rumour has it they’ll do it up as a “bath indulgence” with epsom salts, bubble bath, or even rose petals once throughout your stay. The walk-in closet, mammoth bathroom (with L’Occitane en Provence toiletries), and complimentary mini-bar didn’t hurt!
From arrival to departure, guests of the Ocean Wing will enjoy an elevated holiday experience with special privileges and personalised services, including:
- Complimentary breakfast at Oceano
- Exclusive invitation for pre-dinner drinks and canapes in the Sunset Pavilion
- Complimentary minibar, replenished daily
- Complimentary bath indulgence
- Extensive pillow menu
- Complimentary Wi-Fi and broadband Internet access
All Guestrooms at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort feature:
• 24-hour in-room dining
• Complimentary broadband Internet access
• IDD telephone and voice mail
• Cable TV and in-house movies
• Tea / coffee making facilities
• In-room safe
• Hairdryer, bathrobe and slippers