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Wow Wow and Wow again!
Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort (Malaysia)
Member Name: catsholiday
Shangri La Rasa Ria Resort (Malaysia)
Advantages: Perfection in a hotel
Disadvantages: A bit far out of town for any sightseeing
RASA RIA - KOTA KINABALU
This hotel was luxury in the ultimate and the most luxurious we have ever stayed in. We had four days at the end of our Laos Borneo holiday in this hotel to chill and recover from all the flights before we went home and back to miserable weather in England. When my parents lived in Malaysia I remember the Rasa Sayang being built in Penang but this is another rung up from that hotel even though owned by the same company.
When we arrived at the hotel rather grubby and dingy looking as we had just been out in the rain forest and yet we were welcomed as though we were the King and Queen. First of all our driver took us to one part of the hotel which is where we were booked into and as we arrived we were told we had been given an upgrade to the superior Ocean rooms from the Garden room we had been booked into. We were very chuffed with this as not only are the rooms superior but you get to use other pools and also you can go to have breakfast in a special dining room too.
The first impressions of the hotel are fabulous - everyone smiles and the reception area is opulent but comfortable, a perfect representation of the rest of the hotel as it turns out.
After a bong on the gong to announce our arrival, we were shown to some comfortable chairs and given drinks and cold towels .The lovely tiny young ladies in their very slim fitting uniforms welcomed us and then asked us to come to the reception desk to complete a few bits and pieces then one of them escorted us to our room while a porter took our cases for us.
Wow and Wow! I have never seen such a fabulous room. Firstly it was enormous. The room itself had two queen beds which they rushed around and made into a 'double' so huge we had to wave to each other. This was really comfortable and the pillows were large but soft and just perfect for me after the odd ones we had enjoyed when in the rainforest.
Beside the bed was a chaise long with silk cushions. - I did try lying on here and looking elegant but somehow it didn't quite do it despite the setting, I think it was me that spoiled the effect.
A large round table with chairs was in one corner and on that table was a fruit bowl and also some chocolates to welcome us. These were refreshed daily and the fruit was something different each day.
Next to the table was a desk and inside the drawers we discovered everything you might ever need from glue to scissors, stapler to writing stuff and sticky tape. I have never had that in any hotel before. Internet access was available free.
Our bathroom had an enormous walk in shower, two basins and all the toiletries were all L'Occitane. I have seen these selling on Ebay for a lot of money and I di collect mine daily but gave them away to our children when we got back. The toilet was separated from the rest of the large bathroom by a sliding glass screen.
Between the bedroom and bathroom was a dressing area with wardrobe and drawers as well as a cupboard for shoes and a safe. There were soft cloth bags for beach stuff, flip flops and slippers also for our use and I think you could take them with you but we didn't.
The piece de resistance was the balcony which not only had a really comfortable sunlounger and chairs but also had a huge tiled bath. Seriously i could almost swim in it and there was plenty of room for two. This had screens you could bring down with the touch of a button so that you could enjoy you double romantic bath in privacy. You could ask for special aromatherapy oils and massage as well but they were not cheap so we just filled it and tried to lie back and enjoy the relaxation but in truth it looked more exciting than it was as it was not that comfortable and I kept sliding down and floating around rather than being able to just lie back and read.
GARDENS AND POOL
The gardens were stunning and even though there was some building work going on at the other end of the hotel we could still walk around and enjoy the gardens and there were several pools to sit around and enjoy in various places around the resort.
WILD LIFE RESERVE
There is also a special Orang-utan Sancturay within the hotel grounds and you can pay extra to go and see the Orang-utans being fed. We didn't do this as we had already seen Orang-utans in the rainforest in the wild and nothing could better that.
We did however go on a night walk which promised all sorts of nocturnal animals but sadly we didn't see anything much at all so we were a bit fed up that we had paid for a bit of a waste of time and were also glad that we had seen Orang-utans in the wild and in Sepilok Reserve which was much better .
the hotel organised many trips including to visit Kota Kinabalu, Mount Kinabalu and also a fire fly trip. We had already seen fire Flies on a river just outside Kuala Lumpur but I persuaded my husband to do this and it was fabulous. I have written a review on this previously on this site 'Twinkle twinkle Little fire Flies'. You are collected from the hotel and taken in small lepa lepa boats up the river and you do get to see these wonderful creatures up close.
COAST: Because we had been upgraded to the Ocean rooms we were able to have our breakfast in the 'Coast' dining room. This had the most sumptuous buffet I have even seen with champagne and Bucks fizz too. They also gave you a menu to select particular specialities such as eggs Benedictine , Malay specialities, salmon fillet and so much more. I was not that bothered by the cooked menu as there was so much to choose from on the buffet from sushi through to wonderful tropical fruit and the disgusting chicken porridge was there as well.
This was built to represent a Malay street market and so it was a buffet and you could eat as much as you like and the choices ranged from lots of freshly prepared seafood through to Indian options, Malay options and Chinese options. The desserts were better than they usually are in Malaysia and I was really so full whenever we ate there which was twice in the four nights!
This was not a cheap meal but as you really could eat as much as you liked you got your money's worth really.
One thing I was impressed with is that a 10% service charge is included in the price of everything, so tipping is not expected at all. This means that the service charge is equally shared between all staff which is a far fairer system that just waiting on staff getting the tips.
OTHER DINING OPTIONS
The choice and quality were both excellent. We ate twice at the Malay buffet restaurant which wasn't cheap but the choices were so many and you could eat as much or little as you wanted. There were other restaurant options from the more formal 'Coast' through to Japanese and Indian places. Breakfast was in served in two places but as we were in the Ocean wing we ate at the more formal option which had champagne as much as you wanted, a buffet and a menu of freshly cooked items as well.
The other thing was that as you sat around the pool which was specifically for the garden rooms the lovely staff brought you little tasters during the day and these were things like spring rolls so with a few of those that took care of lunch most days for us.
There was a great gym with shower and toiletries, water and fruit were also supplied in there too. In the cafe there were a number of Mac computers for guests to use, We made some use of these and also used the wifi in here on my laptop. They were happy to print off our boarding passes for us when we checked in for our flight and on the last day after we had checked out of our room we spent the afternoon in here relaxing before we were picked up and taken to the airport.
There was a spa but treatments were sort of UK prices so we didn't bother as we had enjoyed massages in Laos recently.
Golf on an 18 hole championship course designed by Ted Parslow but again this costs extra.
For adventurous types and water enthusiasts there were a variety of sports, including jet-skiing, kayaking, banana boat rides and windsurfing.
Although the setting is perfect with a beach of perfect white sand, lovely pools and beautiful gardens it is a long way out of town so this is somewhere you go and stay on the resort to enjoy what they offer so two stars off because of that.
It is a fair way out from the city of Kinabalu so you needed either a taxi or the shuttle ride to get there and that takes a lot of your day. So we chose not to bother as there was nothing much we desperately wanted to see in Kinabalu.
VALUE FOR MONEY
This was not so much more than some of the other hotels in the area but the difference in what you get is worth every penny. Food and drink was not cheap and you were pretty much forced to eat here as you were a long way out of town. I think that would be my major criticism in that you had to eat in the hotel or use most of the day or evening getting into Kota Kinabalu for an alternative.
A truly luxurious resort but it is some way from the city so if you want to visit Mt Kinabalu and the town then I suggest staying in town to do that then moving out here for a luxurious relaxation after that.
I could go on and on about this hotel but I think you get the idea, Total luxury.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Summary: A trulu luxurious hotel
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