We were happy to see our hotel pick up waiting at the airport for us on arrival.
45 minutes later we were welcomed by the “bong” at the Shangri-la Rasi Ria.
It was an impressive resort with a lovely white sand beach stretching 17 km long. Mount Kota Kinabalu can be seen from the beach in the morning. The hotel has its own nature Reserve and scheduled orangutan viewings. This is what brought us here.
The rooms here are beautiful , with a split level dividing the living area and sleeping area. We chose the garden view as it was a bit less expensive than the beach view. The first room we were given however was very musty . To the managers credit , when he heard we weren’t pleased ,he insisted on moving us. The next room was much better ,but it was a bother to gather all our belongings ,repacking and moving .This is by no means a budget stay at $230.00 a night plus tax and no breakfast .Since it is a ways out of town we had no choice but to eat all our meals here which really added to our bill.It was lovely though for a bit of a splurge.
With an engaging range of outdoor activities, including a Nature Reserve, Orang Utan education centre and an ecologically friendly championship golf course, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort offers the best of Sabah in a lush, 400-acre tropical setting beside exquisite Pantai Dalit Beach.
It took several days, to figure out just how to explain the atmosphere... like a cruise ship, but on land. Your every want and desire is anticipated, excellent service, spotless, and the staff is multilingual. There is enough child activities to keep the little ones busy, and nice semi quite places for the adults.
There is a lot to be said for this resort, however it isn't for everyone.
If you just want a nice 5 star resort.
Have young children.
Like hanging out on the beach.
Feel the need to be pampered.
Rookie world traveler.
Just spent sometime in the 'real' world, and need to recharge.
This is the place for you.
If you want to to experience the real local culture, see an abundance of wildlife, or be close to shopping I would suggest checking other places.
Unique Quality: The property is large enough that you can don't feel crowded. The beach is over 2 miles long, of clean sand!
The sunsets are some of the best I've seen in the world!
The 'in house' tour desk, can set you up for an assortment of on property activities, such as nature walks (day or night), watching the orangs, and boat trips. (all for a fee) The also offer shuttle service to town.
The tour desk can set you up for off property excursions, ranging from a couple of hours, to several days.
Wonderful food! Many local dishes offered, however the spices have been tamed down noticeably.
One of the best beaches I've seen anywhere in the world. Cleaned daily.
Nice pools, including one for kids.
The orangs! All are young, going through stage 1 of their habitation. When ready the are moved on to the main sanctuary for stages 2 & 3, before being released (if possible). Staff is very capable and happy to answering questions.
Directions: About 30 minute car ride from KK. Any cab will know the place
We are Americans on a 3-year stint in Asia, and with so many vacation choices, we have actually come here TWICE (when kids were 2, 4, 6 and again when 3, 5, 7). Both times for a full week, and we never left the resort the second time. Great service, beautiful area, nice facilities. I would highly recommend this as a vacation spot for families
Unique Quality: The pool is super! Waterslide was a big hit, as was the 1 meter monitor lizard that swam across the pool when being chased by a couple of boys.
The OrangUtan sanctuary is nice...it is hard to get a 2-year-old into an animal that you are not right next to (you get ~15 meters away from them), but they are beautiful, and the walk to their platform was really nice. They have a small petting zoo, which ironically has a rather moody American Turkey that is none too happy to be in a petting zoo, and which I needed to shoo away from my kids a few times (its beak is at eye level for a toddler).
One thing not to miss is the Kids Club....LOTS of activities for all ages. Ask to sign up for the special ceremony they have each night where they have a fire dance....all kids ages 3-10 would love to participate. They have a pirate ship that can be climbed, one of those ropes with a pulley on it you can slide down (like the US Army boot camp advertisement), and a great trampoline that is built inground.
The beach is okay. Not great, not bad.
I will be hard pressed to find a friendlier staff elsewhere. The Rasa Ria is a beautiful resort where one instantly feels at home. There are tons of activities for guests, and top-notch restaurants. I could stay here for weeks at a time!
Directions: about 45 minutes from downtown
We made a reservation through their web and had a garden view room with a package that included ilimited laundry, breakfast buffet, mechanic water sports, dinner buffet and credit US$20 for any other attraction, we chose the Orangutan Reserve (RM100). The cost for night was RM863.
We had one of the most incredible dinner at COAST, their famous and awarded restaurant. We had salmon, buffalo mozzarella, duck breast, steak, prawn fettuccini, vegetables and fondant for dessert RM367 minus the credit included into the room rate (RM140), paid RM227. Off course is fine dinning, so the portions are small but absolutely fantastic and the decoration is gorgeous. Be around 6:00 p.m. to see the sunset!!!.
The orangutan reserve is not worth it if you already have seen orangutans before. There was a small platform with 3 babies being fed and the tourist were not so close to take good picture (at least not with a normal camera 3X optical zoom) besides the orangutans only wanted food and then didn’t want play around the trees nor the ropes, so we stayed there almost 1 hour and nothing special happened.
A beautiful resort, nice pool, nice gym, beautiful and comfortable bedroom, very kind staff. It’s more quiet than Tanjung Aru, is located around 1 hour and a half from the city, has a much beautiful and large beach but not so beautiful gardens, besides I felt the food and the room was better in Tanjung Aru, and, finally… is completely isolated, there’s nothing around, so better take a package.
Both resorts are FANTASTIC!!!.
We prefer smaller exclusive luxury hotels; quiet places. For example, our favourite resort to date is The Datai in Langkawi. We could not find such a place on the Internet in or near Kota Kinabalu. We knew to expect less and were prepared for it.
We were surprised, therefore, at the absolutely amazing service at this hotel. In spite of the large number of guests with all their children, the staff was perfect and thorough in all respects. Our family had 2 rooms for 3 nights and the staff did not slip up once, not even a little bit. Management there obviously know what they are doing.
- immediate welcome upon arrival, escorted to sit in the lounge, welcoming cold towels and drinks
- the duty manager introduced himself and chatted for about 10 minutes as someone else completed check-in for us
- staff remembered our name
- On Day 2 the cleaners must have knocked our TV cable loose. We called to get the TV fixed, and was fixed within 5 minutes.
- Staff at the restaurants are clearly trained well and observe the guests closely. As soon as you turn your head looking for service, someone is right there, every time.
The food was delicious, especially the "night market". Our deluxe rooms were sound-proof, good but not decadent. The bathrooms were almost basic and sometimes the water pressure leaves something to be desired. We were on the sixth (top) floor near the centre with excellent direct water views.
The main complaint, of course, was the sheer number of guests, many of them with ill-behaved children and parents. The pool is nice, but not really large enough to handle the quantity. It was crowded enough to make my daughter nervous. This is definitely a family resort; I would warn couples to avoid this place if they want any kind of romance. (I have since read comments on the Internet contradicting this view. Maybe it was just the time of year we were there, July.)
If we go to KK again, we would stay at this hotel again. If it was a choice between here and The Datai in Langkawi, it would definitely be The Datai.
Unique Quality: The deck chairs were limited by the pool, but we usually found two after a few minutes and there were plenty more closer to the beach. There would be plenty of chairs if it were not for those particular families noted above, hogging them even when not used. The beach had nice sand and the water was reasonably clear (I tend to compare beaches with Bermuda, where they really don't compare). Once you leave the hotel grounds, there is lots of litter.
There are plenty of activities. The ATVs were fun, but we thought that the orang-utan centre was a bit of a tourist trap. It's not exactly like the monkeys are being taught to be self-sufficient, as staff dumped a bucket of slops to feed them at our 2:00 viewing (see photo). I think it's a money-making enterprise only.
Which brings me to the other major complaint. I don't mind paying good money for a good hotel, but at this place, nothing is included as part of the base price. Everything has an extra cost, and none of it is cheap, even by western standards. At the end of the day, the total might still be reasonable to a Londoner, but I didn't like the constant pay pay pay while on holiday at a resort. I would rather pay a bit more for the room and have some things included in that price.
On the same note, there are no stores or other restaurants nearby. Tip: stop in Kota Kinabalu on the way out to the hotel and stock up on munchies and drinks for the room.
Directions: 40 minutes' drive out of Kota Kinabalu. If you are 3 or more people, it's cheaper to take a taxi rather than the hotel shuttle.
A 5 star resort accommodation in Tuaran (about 20-30 minutes drive from KK). You'll get a great beach and the accommodation is very good. You really feel far away from reality. Very nice indeed, but not for those looking to party at night.
Unique Quality: You're close to Mengkabong Village which has a great view of Mt. Kinabalu-also the beach at the hotel is quite nice.
Dont go here if you are expecting a beach paradise, there are a lot better options in Malaysia. We found the beach and grounds to be dirty. The pool was crowded and the food average. On the plus side the deluxe room was lovely and the service was good.
We spent our fist week in Kuching in a hotel that when I got there I sat on the bed and cried so when we where ready to depart for KK we were very nervous. When we arrived at the Shangri-Las Rasa Ria Resort we couldn't believe our eyes. What a piece of Heavan tucked away in the Jungle. On arrival they bang the gong to welcome you, there are tradional musicians playing there music. We where escorted into the lobby and given a beautiful ice cold drink and made very welcome. Still we where worried about our room after our first disaster. We where given our room card and escorted to our room and we where totally amazed at how beautiful it was. The room was serviced daily and everything replaced. You can make your own tea and coffee. The staff where so friendly and helpful we had a couple of meals in our room after exhausting days out and I have to say it was just as good as eating at one of the 4 restaurants they have at this resort. There is a restaurant on the beach and is so romantic, the resorts normal restaurant and a Indian restuarant and a poolside restaurant.The bar upstairs had singers every night that you could sit and listen to and unwind. The pool area was fantastic and kept very clean. Under each lounge chair there is a yellow flag and when you want something you just wave the flag. They even had lounge chairs in the pool. They also catered for children very well. Not that we had any but from what we could see the looked after them very well.
The Resort also has it's own Orangu-tan sanctuary and the wildlife around the resort is beautiful. As you eat breakfast all the little birds are flying around and chirping. I would recommend this Resort to anyone, although for the younger crowd that want to party this is not the place for you. This resort is however 50 mins from KK but we didn't need to go into the city has Tauran a small village about 15 mins away had every we needed including a major bank. The resort does offer a shuttle serivce into the city if you want to go at 80MYR return.
We had a great stay. Service and facilities were very good.
Unique Quality: Nice 5 star newly renovated hotel. Have mostly seaview rooms, all renovated 2004-2005. Nice big garden, big pool area for all ages, kids playground. Lots of activities being organized. Motorized and non motorized sea sports available. Very friendly staff. Fantastic breakfast buffet, and great Asian buffet dinner. Overall, a great place to stay.
Cons include - sandflies on beach (use lots of sunblock and insect repellant and they will not bother you). lots of jellyfish when we where there, thus couldn't swim on the sea. The beach is very very wide, thus it's a walk from the shade of the trees to the water. When we were there, hotel was full, and thus, it was difficult to get sun beds near pool - all taken. They provided mats to lay out in grass area - I thought this was good enough.
Directions: 40 mins away from the city - do not stay here if you want to go to city very often.
just returned from rasa ria what a lovely place! long journey but when we eventually drew up the driveway it felt like we'd arrived at a special secret location and i was glad we'd chosen this location over tangjun aru hotel as i wanted peace and quiet.staff are extremely welcoming and cannot do enough for you and we can probably say we've had the best food here than anywhere else in the world(and we've been to many places). alcohol isn't cheap...house red however betwwen £15-£20 per bottle. room service very good value and the tepi laut buffet unbelievable value!! the poolside bar is turned into semi open air help yourself dining and the choice and quality was faultless. we loved the black pepper flower crabs and the chocolate fountain was an added bonus!! to eat here works out about £16 per head. the nightly lighting ceremony was good fun especially for the kids,orangutans fab so cute,beach beautiful and spa beautifully done but little pricey.they have really thought of everything here i could go on and on so i'll just say i'd recommend this to everyone if you want great 5* service, food and quiet location.
Unique Quality: large pool great and poolside service fab (you just wave a red flag when you require drinks etc!!) beach and restaurants great
Spent 3 nights in Rasa Ria. Had a great time. Accomodations were excellent and the food great at relatively reasonable prices, considering average prices of similarly rated hotels. In addtiion, children under 10 years old are allowed to take buffet meals with adults free of charge.
Unique Quality: Rasa Ria has an expansive and clean beachfront with fine goldish-white sand. .In addition, it has a big heated swimming pool catering to toddlers all the way up to adults. It has a good number of recreational activities which visitors can engage in at reasonable if not minimal cost. Unique to Rasa Ria is an animal reserve caring for a number of orangutans.
One of the best resorts in Sabah, in my opinion. Lush landscapes, excellent rooms, service, food, facilities, you name it. One of the bigger ones as well
Unique Quality: the service is good but what I like most is the gradens or beachside landscapes. Among the trees and pool where you lounge, you get to see peacocks, goats and fat bunnies as well. its really quite beautiful!
Directions: About 40 minutes drive from city centre
All the stuffs are simply perfect. Better if you can ask someone who lives there to reserve the hotel for you, (the rate is cheap if its a Malaysian citizen doing the reservation).
Unique Quality: Facilities, pool, massages, spa, Tv sat......and so on. If you cannot find what you are searching for...just ask and someone will provide to give you everything you wish.
Malaysia Airline offers very good offers into some packages tips for vacations. Try to see its website before you start booking a vacation.
Directions: Kota Kinabalu - Sabah - Malaysia
Rasa Ria Sanctuary
Private dining room at Rasa Ria Resort
Just a question. My friends are going to KK soon and since I have been there, I recommended Magellan Sutera Harbour instead of Rasa Ria. They wanted to know if they can still go the nature reserve at Rasia Ria eventhough they aren't hotel guests.
Is it true that there are orang utans there too?
Personally I prefer the Rasa Ria, it's a 5* and it has 400 acres of grounds. However yes, there were Orangs at the Rasa Ria when I was last there and they had 2 feeding times daily up in the rain forest. I am not sure if you can visit if you are not a guest but I would imagine you can. Best to 'phone the hotel and ask. They may charge a small fee to go and see them.
This is the email I received from Rasa Ria a month ago:
Greeting from Shangri-la's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Thanks for the email received. Yes, our Nature Reserve open for outsider visitor but only certain time of visiting. Besides, you need 72 hours or three days in advanced booking prior to the actual visit. Conservation fee for Orang Utan viewing is RM65.00 per person and children aged 6-16 years old is RM10.00 per person.
For more information, please contact us at (6088) 792888 extension 8012/8016.
Thanks so much guys!! :)
Pantai Dalit Beach, P.O. Box 600, Kota Kinabalu
No 20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Sinsuran, Kota Kinabalu
1 Sutera Harbour Blvd, Kota Kinabalu
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Address: Pantai Dalit Beach, P.O. Box 600, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 89208, Malaysia