A Review, Shangria-La Rasa Ria. Sabah – Borneo

I’ve dreamed of Borneo. Dreamed of lush green rainforest, white sandbeaches with the bluest of waters and hiding amongst the greenery my favourite land animal, the Orangutan. The sole purpose of my trip was to see an Orangutan, be it in the rehabilitation centres I knew I wanted to see this amazing mammal for myself and I chose my whole trip around this one desire.

Last year on my return from my year in Australia I had the opportunity thanks to Malaysia Airways to go! As I was traveling via Kuala Lumpur the airline offer discounted seats for internal flights, meaning at the time I would only be paying £60 for my return flight into Kota Kinabalu, How could I pass up a chance like that? 

My arrival in to Kota Kinabalu wasn’t the most spectacular as there was heavy rain, my luggage had been misplaced and I hadn’t slept 24 hours but driving into the grounds of the hotel I perked right up.

We were greeted upon exiting the taxi an offered a seat in the lush reception area while we were checked in. Everything was immaculate and the service impeccable. 

We were shown to our room and advised they would do everything they could to help with my luggage and offered to call as soon as they knew anything more.

Waking into the room was a breath of fresh air, it was stunning. With large twin beds and a day bed area there was room for us to spread ourselves out, and trust me when I say I’ve never slept in a bed so comfortable… I now need to know the down count in the pillows and duvet to purchase so I can try and replicate the same comfort in my own home! 😉 

We choose to use the coffee terrace for our breakfast each morning while staying and throughly enjoyed it. With heaps of choice ranging from local cuisine to a more westernised version of bacon and eggs with pancakes and pastries. There was always plenty of choice, with fresh juices and even a children’s area with low level serving areas for them to help themselves. 

We used the coffee terrace for most lunches and one of our evening meals and found the menu to have a wide varied choice with a mixture of Malay dishes, light meals and vegetarian options. Prices were fair and give you a chance to have a less expensive meal as there’s not much choice outside of the hotel for dining. 

 We dinned in Nann the Indian restaurant for one of our evening meals and were very impressed. Having booked a table through reservations a couple of hours prior we made our way downstairs. Service was very quick and friendly and with the options of set menus or a la carte we were spoilt for choice. The curry’s could come cooked to order with mild, medium or hot and could be ordered with all of your expected sides. Overall costs were not as expensive as I expected either, it was definitely my favourite meal during our stay. 

We also ate in the Tepi Laut Makan Street, Where on certain days staff will perform the traditional dances of Sabah . I liked the set up here with a food market vibe you were able to go around differnt ‘stalls’ to order dishes like stir fry, curries, western snacks and finger foods.

The main draw to the hotel though is the onsite nature reserve! With its own orangutan rehabilitation programme at the time there was 3 young who you can visit and watch their feeding. Ive wrote a whole other post of this to share some of pictures and explain a little more about how the Rasa Ria plays a part in the conservation in the local wildlife.

The hotel grounds were beautiful, as you would expect from a 5* resort and it was lovely takinga walk down the expanse of beach and gardens. Plenty of loungers for everyone without truly ever feeling like your amongst a crowd.

We also took advantage of the tours on offer from the hotel, before we arrived the hotel contacted me with a list of day trips and excursions we could pre book before our arrival. We booked on a bike tour into a local village for a spot of market shopping and we also participated in a few free activies  on offer in the hotel like weaving lessons and cooking classes.

The rasa ria was above my expectations and I’m thrilled to say I’ve stayed here finally! I highly recommend to anyone thinking of travelling to the area.