Vacationista: Shangri-la Rasa Ria Resort and Spa Kota Kinabalu


So I found myself spending some R&R in one of the best hotels I’ve been to so far – Shangri-la Rasa Ria Resort and Spa Kota Kinabalu – with two of my favorite people during the Holy Week break.  
Knowing Shangri-la Hotels, you’d only expect the best of the best. Unfortunately, we didn’t start out on the right foot. We had booked at the hotel for our second day in Kota Kinabalu (KK) and they confirmed that we would be picked up by their shuttle bus from Wisma Merdeka at 2:15pm. Unfortunately, after waiting for 20 minutes and after a call, we found out pick-up was at 4pm. So we just wasted about 2 hours of waiting, which could have been spent at the resort hotel, but we made up for it by going around the mall. Right on schedule, the shuttle bus arrived at 4pm and we were finally on our way to the resort. Immediately upon check-in, we were served welcome drinks then the manager approached us and talked to my sister (I was busy going around the lobby).

 The manager offered complimentary shuttle bus pick-up and drop-off (was supposed to pay RM30 per person per way even for checked-in guests so that’s a lot of savings) and after my sister’s inquiry, the manager also offered complimentary late check-out, to make up for the lost time. So it was all good. Shangri-la can be depended on to make things better. Haha! We even requested to have our room transferred to somewhere nearer the lobby and they obliged.  

 The room, as always with Shangri-la, was pretty and immaculate. Big, comfy beds, huge restroom and a balcony overlooking the pool and even a part of the ocean.  

 I like the fact that they have welcome fruits and have now used glass bottles for their waters (yey for the environment!).  

 There is no time for rest for people like me who want to make the most of vacation time so after a quick change, me and sis went out to explore. Kung maka-explore, kala mo aakyat ng bundok. Haha! Went around the resort and of course, first order of business was checking out the beach front.  

 OMG. Super huge beach front! 3km long of beach front, in fact. Super gorgeous!


We decided to have dinner at their international buffet. You actually have 5 choices for their in-house restaurants. Aside from the international buffet, you may opt for Italian, Japanese and Indian, all on ala-carte basis, and a Malaysian buffet. Once in Shangri-la, you won’t be able to walk to a nearby resto since it’s pretty far from ‘civilization’. If you want to go out, you’ll have to take the shuttle, if still available, or a taxi. The international buffet at Coffee Terrace was about RM150 per person. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed by their spread. You’ll have the usual congees, sushis, steak, Malaysian and Western food, as well as the fruits, salad and dessert bar.  

 This is how I eat in buffets: tiny servings so I can try everything then just get more of what I like. As my mom said, lugi na kami sa buffets because we don’t eat as much as before. Hehe. Of course, loaded up on my fave dragon fruit since it’s expensive in Manila.  

 The next morning, I woke up earlier than my mom and sis so I walked around, discovering the resort and spent some time on the beach front, reflecting. 

I passed by the Games Area which I found interesting. Aside from the usual ‘games’ found like bike rentals, ping pong tables and chess, I also saw a sungka and a majong table. Talk about diversity! This huge chess board was actually by the pool area, something similar to the one I saw in Melbourne.

 At the beachfront, I had the whole stretch to myself and perhaps one or two tourists. Still in awe how long, wide and huge their beachfront is.

Hotel breakfast buffets will always be a fave of mine! I usually look forward to this regardless of the hotel. They had a better spread than dinner – like a lot of choices from Korean to Malaysian food- and generally, the food was good. Of course, there was no bacon so that was a bummer. Haha! Their latte macchiato was super yummy! This was all I ate which again is proof that lugi na kami sa buffet.

 Our first activity for the day was a trip to the Orangutan Reserve inside the resort premises. I actually didn’t care much for them (since I have graduated from zoos and the like) but my sister really wanted to go so we did. They advised for closed shoes, pants and sleeved tops plus lots of insect repellant but these are just precautions by the hotel. In reality, at least for us Pinoys, no need for the extra paraphernalia. It costs about RM100 per person for approximately an hour of easy hike. There’s a trail and a guide so no worries if you’ve never done this before. One of our hike mates was an old lady with a cane! Cool lady. The start time is at 10am but call time is at 9:30am because you’ll still have to register and pay at the front desk of the reserve. While waiting for the others- the group was about 40 people- a documentary was being shown at the waiting area. Once everyone has registered, the guide will welcome you then off you go!  

 Passed by a Wildlife Pantry (susyal!) and a Nocturnal cage with two deers. Hike is fairly easy though; I’m not much of a hiker so I joked to my sister that I wanted to quit already. Haha!  

 In about 20 minutes or less, you’ll reach the viewing area, which has three levels. After seeing the orangutans, I spent a few minutes doing one of my favorite past times – watching people! Look at them pointing their cameras to the orangutans. Hehehe.

Shangri-la has two baby orangutans, ages 2 and 4 if I’m not mistaken, both of which they take care of until such a time they can release them. Aside from them, there were also the ‘regular’ monkeys which we normally see. They hurriedly went to the platform where the orangutans’ food were then stole them! I knew they knew they shouldn’t get the food because they would climb hastily to the food, get as much food as they could, then stuff it in their mouths once they were in the trees again. Naughty monkeys.

 After a few more minutes of watching them, we went back to the room, changed clothes and headed to the beach!

 We got out at high noon so the sun was too harsh to actually stay in the middle of the sand – though there were seats with umbrellas – so we opted to stay by the poolside, under the trees and in the cool water. Beach towels are available along with iced water. Frisbees are also free to use. We lounged in the underwater chairs to cool off then I spent some time on one of the chairs, just soaking in the sun and being grateful for some time away (though in reality, I still had some sideline work to do because of a work event). Going back to the city, we availed of our complimentary shuttle bus and went down on Wisma Merdeka.  

 I’m delighted that I was able to spend some time with my favorite human beings (mom and sis) doing one of the things we love (traveling) in one of our favorite combined destinations (the city and beach). Next post, will share more on our city adventure. =)



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