Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu
Destinations,  Kota Kinabalu,  Malaysia

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu: An Amazing Tropical Paradise for the Entire Family 

When it comes to a family resort in Kota Kinabalu, there is simply nothing like Shangri-La Tanjung Aru. As the only city beachfront resort on the island, this family resort comes complete with breathtaking views, luxurious suites, and a range of thrilling family-friendly activities that warrant an unforgettable family getaway. Imagine zooming down waterslides that rival those of a theme park or indulging in tasty summer treats at an interactive ice cream bar – this tropical paradise of a resort offers endless fun and entertainment for both kids and kids at heart! And if those are still not enough, you will be treated to the most stunning sunset in all of Borneo. In this article, we will delve deeper into the reasons why you should embark on a family vacation at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu. Get ready for an adventure-filled journey that you and your loved ones will cherish forever.

10 Reasons to Embark on an Adventure-Filled Family Vacation at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu

1. A paradise for the senses 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu - Paradise in tropical retreat

Situated just 10 minutes away from the city, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, is a luxurious, tranquil resort that provides the setting for an extraordinary tropical retreat for the entire family.  As soon as you arrive, you will be surrounded by Borneo’s natural beauty – a feast for all your senses. See the breathtaking views of lush gardens, the grandeur of Mount Kinabalu, the sea, and the surrounding islands. Savour the delectable cuisine and inhale the fresh sea breeze that will invigorate you. Above all, revel in the warm hospitality and charm of Sabahan culture with the friendly and welcoming staff at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru.

2. Relax with afternoon tea at the Horizon Lounge

Horizon Lounge

Once we arrived at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu we headed straight to their exclusive Horizon Lounge. From here alone, you will see how the resort truly welcomes their guests warmly. They offer afternoon tea (at night, tea becomes cocktails!) so we could unwind for a while before getting settled in our accommodation. What’s also great is the lounge’s stylish and luxurious interiors – it is warm, cosy, and at the same time, boasts a delightful blend of Borneo elements which make the space even more unique. The seats were very comfortable as well, and they have little rooms to watch TV which our little one adored.  Overall, it looked like a great start to a wonderful stay! 

little Ally  at the Horizon Lounge
Our little Ally getting cosy at the Horizon Lounge


3. Enjoy captivating ocean views from your hotel suite 

MJ and kids with the views of the sea

Kota Kinabalu is called a tropical paradise for nothing. The views of the sea are just stunning! Luckily, we could gaze at this incredible sight even while in the comfort of our hotel suite. We stayed in Room 222, a Tanjung Wing Executive Seaview Suite, and from there, we got a clear view of the azure South China Sea. The suite’s open balcony was the perfect spot to take in all the beauty of our surroundings. We could not get enough of it!

Inside the suite was just as nice. Light and airy, our Tanjung Suite was decorated with subtle marine-inspired tones that blended seamlessly with the azure sea on the outside. Furthermore, the suite was not only spacious but also comfortable, furnished with modern amenities that added to our enjoyable stay. The living and dining room offered much space for our little tot Ally to run around, though she also loved hanging around in our suite’s comfortable sofas. 

The bathroom was huge as well, and comes complete with a jacuzzi that had plenty of room for a couple to soak in.

4. Splash around the resort’s mini waterpark

mini waterpark

Now for the fun part! Did you know that there is a mini waterpark right inside Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu? We can actually see it right from our hotel suite. It is no Aquaventure Atlantis nor Adventure Cove Waterpark, but it boasts incredibly fun slides for both adults and children to enjoy. The first and only one of its kind in the entire Borneo, this fun water play area is comprised of different sections dedicated to guests of various ages. 

Our family of four getting ready for the sun (and slides)! 
Our family of four getting ready for the sun (and slides)!
Little Ally on a shallow pool perfect for children
Little Ally on a shallow pool perfect for children

The water play area boasts a range of thrilling amenities, including water battle stations equipped with water balloon launchers, a 2,000 sqm swimming pool with a tapered shoreline for children, and an infinity pool designated for adults. Aside from the huge slides, what you should absolutely not miss out on is the chance to get showered by a giant water bucket. Sound really fun, right? Trust us, this is an absolute must-try activity, especially if you visit during the summer season. With Kota Kinabalu’s tropical climate, it feels like summer all year round, so perhaps what we are trying to say is that you should try this activity no matter what! 

 giant water bucket

Speaking of summer, a fun day out in the sun is not complete without some ice cream. Here at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, they have the tastiest frozen treats, which are the perfect respite to this sunny island’s weather. A place that they say where sweets truly rule, Cool Box is an interactive ice cream bar offering a range of delightful ice cream treats and toppings. Be sure to try their Banana Split, Whoopie Pie, and Taco ice cream (tastes even better than it sounds)! 

The perfect treat to beat the heat
The perfect treat to beat the heat

5. Stay cool in the Cool Zone 

Ally in Cool Zone

Now, as we all know, it gets really hot in Kota Kinabalu, so perhaps it is not the best idea to let your kids soak up the sun outside every single day. Luckily, the resort has a perfect solution that ensures children can have fun while remaining cool and comfortable – the Cool Zone. This place is actually an indoor Kids Club where children and parents are both welcome. You will notice that the walls are beautifully handpainted, featuring aquatic and land animals found only in Sabah. Our little Ally had so much fun there, and she especially enjoyed the slide that she went on repeatedly. There is also a creativity area for children to develop painting, crafting and other inventive skills. 

Our baby Aaron also got to enjoy the Cool Zone, and we absolutely loved how there was a special section for much younger kids. The babies’ corner was really nice as it comes complete with padded walls and soft toys, ensuring that our little ones are always safe and comfortable.

Ally and Aaron in Cool Zone

The Cool Zone also offers a dedicated space for older kids, equipped with a pool and foosball table, as well as gaming consoles such as PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii. Basically, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu has everything to make every kid’s stay fun and memorable. 

6. Make the most of your Sabah vacation with an array of daily free activities

Sabah vacation with an array of daily free activities

Although a family holiday, it does not necessarily mean that we have to be with our kids 24/7.  This family resort offers babysitting services so parents can also spend some much-needed quality time without their little ones in tow. And if you are up for it, you can take part in the resort’s various daily activities. From relaxing yoga sessions looking out the picturesque sea to fun watermelon eating contests and coconut bowling competitions, there is truly something for everyone at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu. Do note that the activities change regularly, so feel free to consult with them first for the most recent schedule. 

On top of the scheduled activities, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu also boasts a variety of recreational facilities which you can explore. There is a private beach (to watch the romantic sunsets, of course), tennis courts, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course, a Leisure Centre and a Health Club.

Spacious gym
Spacious gym with top-of-the-line equipment

7. Pamper yourself with traditional Borneo treatments at Chi, The Spa

Chi, The Spa

For the most relaxing stay at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, we recommend that you treat yourself at Chi, The Spa. This tranquil oasis offers a range of traditional Borneo treatments that are sure to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Plus, all of their products are sourced from nature and reflect Sabah’s multi-cultural heritage. And did we mention that the spa is located on an island accessible via a private causeway from the main hotel? With its unique design concept, Chi, The Spa provides a truly immersive experience.

Please note that Chi, The Spa is an adult-only zone, so you may want to consider letting your kids enjoy the Cool Zone in the meantime while you indulge in some well-deserved luxury spa treatments.

Chi The Spa - traditional Borneo treatment

8. Visit STAR Marina for family-friendly water activities 

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu - STAR Marina

It will not be a complete Kota Kinabalu experience if you do not get to experience having fun in the water. Not the pool water or the water from your private jacuzzi, but the South China Sea. At Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, you can make the most of your beach vacation by visiting STAR Marina, the hotel’s very own centre for all water activities. From thrilling professional water sports activities to relaxing sunset cruises, island transfers, and fishing trips – STAR Marina has it all. They even have a learning centre for dive enthusiasts!

Furthermore, we love how Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu takes care of the underwater world as well. They share the same space after all. In line with that, they have initiated a marine conservation programme to assist the Tunku Abdul Marine Park and help save fish species like clownfish. The programme is actually under Sanctuary, Shangri-La’s Care for Nature Project, which was the company’s effort to help conserve biodiversity. 

In line with that, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu is home to the Clownfish Discovery Centre, which aims to educate guests and the local community on the clownfish and many other marine species, as well as the environmental threats they face. We highly recommend that you bring your kids here,  even the little tots would love to see Nemo and his friends in action! 

Mama Joce introducing little Ally to Nemo and his friends in action
Mama Joce introducing little Ally to Nemo and his friends in action

9. Indulge in the finest of Chinese cuisine at Shang Palace

Chinese cuisine at Shang Palace

You should never leave Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu without trying food from Shang Palace. This restaurant offers a delightful range of Chinese flavours and upholds the tradition of excellent cuisine where colour, taste, and texture are expertly balanced and blended. The food was absolutely amazing, especially their dim sum. From their extensive selection, what we highly recommend are the Steamed Charcoal Dumplings with Prawn, Scallops and Vegetables, Stir-Fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce, and the best of the lot – Deep-fried Bean Curd Rolls with Prawns. Joce does not eat bean curds but she gobbled almost everything up! Ala carte dishes such as Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fish Maw Soup were also pretty great. 

Absolutely loving the dim sum 

Other than Shang Palace, you may also try dining at the resort’s other restaurants: Takeaway, Coco-Joe’s Bar & Grill, and Café TATU. Breakfast at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu was very notable as well as they have almost everything you could imagine to start off your day right. The breakfast spread includes indoor and outdoor food stations with a delicious selection of omelettes, waffles, pancakes, and more. The best part? They have a dedicated section just for Korean food! You no longer need to travel all the way to South Korea just to try out their tasty dishes.

10. Marvel at one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu - world’s most beautiful sunsets

Many people say that Kota Kinabalu has some of the most stunning sunsets in the world. Once you see it for yourself, it gets hard to describe the experience in just one word, as the sunsets here are simply breathtaking – especially when viewed from the resort’s Sunset Bar. This bar is nothing short of heaven on earth and is regarded as one of the top seven places in the world to watch the sunset and witness Kota Kinabalu’s picturesque, colourful skies. As you wait for the majestic sun to set, you can enjoy sipping on delicious cocktails and indulge in mouthwatering appetizers too! We highly recommend booking a table for at least one night at the Sunset Bar – this is absolutely a must. 

Another place to get some drinks at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu is the Borneo Lounge & Bar. There are live performances here as well which are sure to make your night out at Sabah even more fun. 

Overall, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu offers an incredible experience to all families visiting the tropical paradise of Sabah. Our family had such a lovely time and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the family-friendly amenities that this resort has to offer! 

Book a luxurious family beachfront vacation at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu >
📍 No.20, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
📞 +60 88-327 888
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