Put reality on hold in the tranquil oasis of Kota Kinabalu
The Crayola-hued skies offer a magical and serene experience that will remain etched in your mind.
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa in Borneo’s Kota Kinabalu is a legitimate tropical paradise and the perfect palace for escape.
Borneo may be famed for its lush wildlife filled jungle – notably orangutans – but, with a visit to Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu your primary concern will not be where to watch the animals, but where best to catch the sunset.
On the Horizon
The hotel brings luxury to Kota Kinabalu by offering visitors a full range of opulent experiences. Holistic treatments can be found at CHI, The Spa while the hotel’s world-class restaurants cater for every taste. The spacious rooms start from 506 square feet, with suites spanning as large as 2,572 square feet. While both mountain and sea views are available, the latter vistas are arguably preferable. A generous balcony provides the perfect private place to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in Asia.
If, however, you’d like some company – and a well-served cocktail or two – the resort’s Sunset Bar is idyllic. Arrive early and grab a lounger to watch the sun dip below the horizon. The Crayola-hued skies offer a magical and serene experience that will remain etched in your mind.
Mornings are best started with a hearty breakfast. The resort’s Café TATU provides an exceptional international buffet and it’s the best way get into a relaxed frame of mind. The open-kitchen design adds a sense of showmanship as you watch your meal being prepared before your very eyes.
A resort highlight is the 2,000-square metre pool which includes a gorgeous infinity pool and a tapered coastal area for kids. Also for youngsters – and the young at heart – are three waterslides and a host of water-based games, monitored at all times by the hotel’s competent staff. Despite its popularity, deck chairs are always available around the pool, and if you wish to take a dip in the sea, the hotel has its own private beach providing an idyllic retreat in which to unwind.
While some holidaymakers aim to do as little as possible, it’s worth taking a short trip to explore some of the outlying islands around Kota Kinabalu. The nearby island of Sipadan is known to be one of the best diving sites in the world and became famous after renowned undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau raved about its diverse marine life.
Crystal clear blue waters guarantee perfect visibility at depth and the coral reef is home to a huge variety of marine wildlife. From cheeky clownfish to large sea eels and turtles, it’s a magnificent environment worth taking the time to explore. Conservation efforts mean that there are a number of artificial reefs growing and it’s amazing to see their slow, but obvious progress. Unexpected colourful treasures equally await those who prefer snorkelling. Divers and swimmers are advised to wear a thin wetsuit to protect themselves from stingers as the area is home to a large number of jellyfish and extra care should be taken.
Taste of Malaysia
The city of Kota Kinabalu itself is small, bustling and welcoming. A cab ride into town costs around US$15. Consider taking some time away from the resort to pay a visit to the food market, open every night with stalls selling fried snacks, noodles and seafood , also a firm favourite with locals. Those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat as the deep-fried banana is particularly moorish and the local peanut butter centred sponge exceptional.
Easy access from the main Kota Kinabalu airport means that the hotel is best suited for those seeking a tranquil break. Local leisure pursuits are enough to excite the most adventurous traveller, while foodies can embrace culinary adventures. For families, the hotel is an ideal one-stop leisure complex where adults can enjoy spa treatments as youngsters splash in the safety of their own dedicated pool.
For those seeking a secluded paradise, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa fulfils all the criteria: serene beaches, majestic sunsets and a laid back coastal pace of life. As you watch the sun set after another blissful day, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is the one to leave.
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As coincidence would have it we are in the process of organising a visit to Tangjung Aru from the 17th June so we look forward to catching up with some old friends at one of our favourite holiday destinations!
Gary, Ann, Trere and Naetan Barber