June 10, 2017

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is a luxury resort in the Tuaran District of Kota Kinabalu, which is popular holiday destination in the State of Sabah in Malaysia. The resort is situated along Pantai Dalit Beach and is surrounded by 400 acres of tropical forest. The resort's name includes the Malay phrase "Rasa Ria" which means "Sense of Fun" or "Feeling of Happiness" in English.

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is just a 45 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport. When flying to Kota Kinabalu from Manila, I recommend taking the Phlippines AirAsia flight Z2 501 which arrives in Kota Kinabalu at 11:05am. To get to the resort from the airport, you can either book Shangri-La's shuttle service or book a GrabCar using the Grab mobile application.

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa consists of two wings. The Garden Wing is the main wing of the resort where most of the dining outlets of the resort are located. The Ocean Wing is the exclusive part of the resort with its own driveway, lobby and amenities reserved for Ocean Wing guests.


Guest Room
Superior Rainforest Room
Deluxe Garden View Room
Deluxe Sea View Room
Executive Sea View Room

Executive Suite
Specialty Suite

Premier Room

We drove straight to the lobby of the Ocean Wing where I would stay for two nights. Walking into the Ocean Wing lobby, a ceremonial hitting of the gong welcomed my arrival and it was followed by the playing of the kulintangan. We arrived at the resort at around 1:00pm which was still too early for the official check-in time. Fortunately, my room was already available.


Premier Room | Ocean Wing

I stayed in a Premier Room which is the only room category available in the Ocean Wing. There are a total of 173 Premier Rooms, each offering spacious accommodation, a sense of isolation and spectacular views of the Bornean sunset.

  • luxuriously spacious at 90 square meters
  • private terrace with an oversized outdoor bathtub
  • complimentary bath indulgence
  • complimentary minibar
  • exclusive breakfast Ocean Italian Restaurant

The Ocean Wing is located in a semi-secluded part of the resort with the rooms facing a verdant garden and the corridors facing a dense forest. Exotic birds are a common sight at the gardens and even at the room terraces, and if you are lucky, the resort's resident parrot and hornbill might pay you a visit.

Fountain leading to the Swimming Pool of the Ocean Wing

The Ocean Wing also has its own swimming pool which is accessible from the Ocean Wing lobby. The swimming pool at the Ocean Wing is exclusive for Ocean Wing guests only which makes it less crowded compared to the swimming pool at the Garden Wing.

Swimming at the Garden Wing

The swimming pool at the Garden Wing, on the other hand, is open to all guests of the resort, including those staying at the Ocean Wing. The Garden Wing swimming pool is much bigger and features a slide. This makes this swimming pool very popular among families.

One of the main attractions of Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is the long stretch of Pantai Dalit Beach which is popular for swimming and a host of complimentary watersport activities such as ocean kayaking, boggie boarding and catamaran sailing.

Other watersports and recreational activities are available such as jetskiing, banana boat riding, windsurfing, parasailing, and many more. Guests can vist the resort's Spa & Recreation Information Center (Garden Wing) for the complete list of activities available and their corresponding prices.

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa has a total of seven dining outlets offering a variety of cuisines ranging from Western to Asian, Japanese to Indian, as well as classic and regional Malaysian cuisines. You will never run out of dining options while staying at the resort. Here are some of the restaurants I tried during my stay.


Oceano Italian Restaurant | Ocean Wing

Oceano Italian Restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine in a relaxed and casual setting. The restaurant is located at Level 1 of the Ocean Wing and is open for lunch and dinner. Air-conditioned and al-fresco dining areas are available.

Tepi Laut Makan Street | Garden Wing

Tepi Laut Makan Street is the resort's Malaysian restaurant which features street food and classic Malay dishes. Highlight of the restaurant is the nightly Makan Street buffet where guests can sample Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes prepared at the restaurant's live cooking stations.

Chef Roslan Adnan | Tepi Laut Makan Street

Tepi Laut Makan Street is also open for lunch and serves a la carte dishes. Discover the diverse Flavors of Malaysian Cuisine with dishes prepared by Chef Roslan Adnan, a native of Sabah.

Kozan Teppan-yaki is the resort's Japanese restaurant. Only open for dinner, the restaurant serves a wide variety of teppanyaki dishes prepared right in front of the guests. The chefs will even entertain guests with fired up grilling of dishes.

An overnight stay at the Ocean Wing comes with complimentary breakfast for two persons, which guests can enjoy in one of the these three venues:

  • buffet breakfast at Oceano Italian Restaurant (Ocean Wing exclusive)
  • buffet breakfast Coffee Terrace (located at the Garden Wing)
  • a la carte in-room dining from the breakfast menu (Ocean Wing exclusive)

If you are staying for more that one night, you can actually choose to have your breakfast at one venue only or try all different venues.


Breakfast at Oceano Italian Restaurant | Ocean Wing

During my stay at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, I chose to have my Breakfast at Oceano Italian Restaurant. because I prefer a quieter venue for breakfast. On my next visit to the resort, I might give Coffee Terrace a try because I heard that there's a more extensive food choices there, plus I had to try the famous teh tarik which is prepared by one of the restaurant's staff.

One of the unique features of Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is the existence of a Nature Reserve within the property. The resort's Garden Wing lies next to a forested hill which spans 64 acres with one end extending to the sea.

One of the fun ways to experience the Nature Reserve is by hiking to its summit through a guided tour organized by the resort's Nature Interpretation Center. Well experienced guides will walk you through the dense forest. Watch out for some exotic animals and insects along the way.

After a 30 minute hike to the summit, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape and seascape, and on a perfect cloudless day, you can even see the summit of Mount Kinabalu. Make your experience extra special by booking a Breakfast at the Summit. It was indeed the most memorable breakfast I ever had.

Breakfast at the Summit | Nature Reserve

Another way to experience the Nature Reserve is to visit it at night time. The forest comes alive with nocturnal animals and insects hunting for food in total darkness. Wear the night vision goggles and let your sense of hearing, and with the help of the guides, lead you to these creatures of the night.

When I did the night walk in the Nature Reserve, I was able to see a snake and a bearcat. The cool thing about their night vision goggles is that they allow you to capture photos. After the night walk, your guide will send the photos to your email. Above are some photos of the snake and the bearcat I saw.

Sabah is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse regions of Malaysia. One of the major tribes of Sabah are the Murut people. During Wednesday and Saturday, you can have a glimpse of the Murut cuture through the Cultural Night Presentation at Tepi Laut.

The Bajau people is another one of the three major tribes of Sabah. The Bajau are know for their house on stilts, and many of them reside along the banks of the Mengkabong River.

Guests staying at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa can join the Cruise of Mengkabong River, a guided tour that will bring you to a community of Bajau. To get there, the speedboat will have to navigate through a dense mangrove forest. This is another way to appreciate nature in Sabah.

Once you reach the Bajau community, you will welcomed to an actual Bajau residence to have a first hand experience of being inside a house on stilts. It was a humid day, but I noticed that it was cooler inside the house than it was outside. Somehow, the materials they used to build the house insulate the interior from the heat.

We were also served with a native Bajau snack made of rice. They were like rice cakes that have pan fried. They also served us brewed coffee made with locally grown coffee beans. It was a quick visit and an educating experience at the same time.

Another pride of Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club. The natural bodies of water that surrounds this 18-hole championship golf course do not only add to the challenge of the game, but also offers stunning views of the surrounding nature.

Highlight of the course was the Signature Hole #11 which offers a spectacular view of the mouth of the river with the vast South China Sea at the background. Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club also has an Aquatic Driving Range, the only one of its kind in Sabah. Learning golf can't get any more exciting when aiming for a hole in the middle of a lake, and the golf balls can actually float on water. How cool is that?!?

Aquatic Driving Range | Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club by Shangri-La
Of course, I did not let the chance pass of learning golf straight from Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club's Director of Golf, Mr. Aaron Johnston, a fully-qualified AAA member of the Australia PGA with a Level 5 Coaching Diploma from the Australian Coaching Councils National Accreditation Scheme. Golf Lessons at Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club ranges from a 60-minute driving range lesson to a 2-hour 9-hole playing lesson.

Whether you're staying for one night, two nights or five nights, you will never run out of activities to enjoy at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu. With its wealth of gustatory and recreational options, as well as natural and cultural attractions, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa allows you to experience Sabah within the comfort of the property.

It was indeed an awesome weekend spent at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa. With a heavy heart, the time has come to leave Kota Kinabalu for another adventure in Malaysia. I really don't wanna leave and just call this resort my home, so it's not yet good bye. I will surely miss Rasa Ria, my home and my family in Sabah.

Don't forget to provide your Golden Circle (GC) Membership Number when making your room reservation, upon check-in or upon payment in order to earn GC Award Points. You can then redeem these GC Award Points to pay, in full or in part, your future dining bills at any participating Shangri-La restaurants around the world. You can also convert your points to free overnight stays. If you're not yet a Golden Circle member, you can join here for free.

Earn Points
Earn 1 GC Award Point for each USD 1 qualifying spend when dining at over 500 participating restaurants & bars worldwide. GC Award Points will be credited to a your account two weeks after the date of transaction.

Earn 1 GC Award Point for each USD 1 qualifying spend when staying at Shangri-La, Kerry Hotel, Traders Hotel or Hotel Jen.

Earn 1 GC Award Point for each USD 1 qualifying spend at CHI, The Spa.
Redeem Points
Redeem your points instantly at any Shangri-La restaurants & bars with 10 GC Award Points covering every USD 1 of your dining bill. You may also choose to redeem your points for dining vouchers online. 

Redeem your points for free room night stays at any Shangri-La, Kerry Hotel, Traders Hotel or Hotel Jen worldwide. 

Redeem spa vouchers at CHI, The Spa, exquisite fine wines, and signature "Shangri-La" fragrance.

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Pantai Dalit Beach, Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Contact: +60 (088) 797-888
Email: rrr@shangri-la.com
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