After doing quite a bit of traveling, mostly staying in hostels in and around Asia, the accommodations I stay in on my trips these days tend to be a combination of hostels and luxurious hotels or resorts, much like what I did for my trip to Borneo. One has to experience some lavishness once in a while, right?
After eight days of traveling around the northern part of the island of Borneo, we checked into the beautiful and internationally renowned Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu. I’m not sure whether it was the idea of having the pleasure of sunbathing on a secluded private beach or brunching at the multi-cuisine breakfast buffet that drew me in, but either way I’m pretty glad we stayed there. The Shangri-La five-star resort has over 490 exquisitely designed guest rooms that stretch across two wings—the Garden Wing and the Ocean Wing, both boasting beautiful views of either the sea or the lush surrounding forrest.
As we entered the hotel the lobby our luggage was quickly taken care of and we were encouraged to take a seat as we were waiting to check in. Unfortunately for me, I was pretty ill from some street food I’d eaten the night before (you can have a read/laugh about that here) but was kindly offered some ice water and a cold compress as I melted onto the hotel reception couch.
Spacious Luxury Rooms with a Balcony Jacuzzi
We chose a Ocean Wing Premier room, consisting of two (seriously comfortable) double beds and a smaller bed, which I assume would have been for children as it was quite small and less comfortable than the main beds. The bathroom was spacious and extremely clean, with a double sink in the middle and a toilet and shower on either side. The best thing about this room was, of course, the balcony jacuzzi overlooking the private beach! We made full use of this to relax after a long (and extremely tiring) day of sunbathing.
A Private Beach and Three Pools, You Say?
One of the most unique things about the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort is the private access to its very own beach. Take some time to walk out to this deserted stretch of white sand and get lost for a few hours in the baking sun. If the beach isn’t your thing, the Shangri-La has a multitude of swimming pools complete with sun-loungers and pool-side service from the nearby bars. Why not kick back with a few piña coladas in the sun?
Seriously Spoilt For Dinner Choices
The Shangri-La has seven different restaurants to choose from, offering different types of food to suit everyone’s taste. We chose to eat at Cafe Tatu and opted for some Western food after my bad experience with Asian food the night before. I ordered a vegetarian ravioli dish washed down with a delicious glass of red wine—probably not the best choice for a bad stomach but, hey, I was on holiday after all. After dinner, the girls booked in for a massage down the at resort spa which apparently is amazing.
The Breakfast Buffet is Not for the Faint-Hearted
Well, this was something truly amazing! Probably the best breakfast buffet I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. There must have at least five different cuisines from around the world; I didn’t even know where to start! There was an array of bread, spreads and fruits along with hot foods such as eggs and bacon, as well as a whole station dedicated to pancakes.
The Sunset is One to End All Sunsets
I’d heard about the sunsets at this resort, but I has no idea how beautiful this was really going to be. At around 5 PM, the sun starts to set, turning the entire sky bright pink as it retires slowly over the China Sea. We were lucky enough to witness this from our room balcony, which was a real treat. It has to be the best sunset I’ve seen.
On our final night (after us all getting ill!) we decided room service was in order. Nearly all the restaurants on the resort make food to order and have it delivered right to your room door. Easy.
We checked out of the Shangri-La all still fairly ill, however, refreshed from the outstanding service we’d received at the resort. I would definitely recommend staying here, even if it’s only for a night or two of luxury. Book your next stay at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria resort here.