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Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort - Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia | Hotel Review


Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort - Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

First Impression/Lobby - After seeing the commercials for Malaysia on TV the past few months I was ready for a great stay at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort. As we pulled into the resort, I was impressed with what I was seeing. I was ready to experience Malaysia, Simply Asia, as the commercials say.

When we pulled up, we were greeted by resort staffs that were waiting to welcome us. The welcome was not a warm, from the heart welcome, but more of a forced, going-through-the- motions welcome. The lobby, large, open-air, a bit sterile, commercial and stale.

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Reception - Registration was slow. An imprint of the card, a copy of the passport, and a couple signatures should not be as difficult and drawn out of a process as it was.

The Room - Our suite was spacious with pleasant colors: beiges, honey, browns and tans. A huge bedroom with plenty of closet space with an attached, not so large bathroom. The living room was huge with a separate dining area, guest bathroom and small kitchenette complete with a few waters, sodas and energy drinks. Huge windowed doors opened to a wrap around balcony and offered great views of the grounds and beach. As nice as it was, it just did not have any wow factor.

Room Service - Room Service was consistently on time and accurate. The fare was decent, not anything special, but decent.

Concierge - Dinner reservations were handled by the hotel and an in-house travel agency handled boat charters and scuba diving trips. This set-up is not my first choice for making arrangements, but the travel agent was great, and she was able to meet our needs. However, it is not a replacement for a quality, on-staff concierge.

Restaurants - We tried Nann, Rasa Ria's Indian Restaurant and Coast, their fine dining restaurant. Surprisingly, Nann was excellent. Nann offered an extensive menu and we were able to order ala' carte' and have it in our room. There is nothing better than having your dinner in the privacy of your own room, especially when you have your own dining area.

Nann was so good, we actually wanted to do it again, however, they changed the restaurant to a buffet dinner and moved it to the hotel lobby lounge. We tried it and it was horrible! I am not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but unless they were trying to ruin it, they failed. Coast on the other hand, was the hidden gem at Rasa Ria.

We reserved one of Coast's private beachfront cabanas for a private dinner. With soft music playing and candles lighting the cabana we had a fabulous dinner. Service was impeccable, the meal divine, the memories, priceless.

Lunch, both service and the food, from the Pool Restaurant left much to be desired. Trying to get service was a challenge in itself. Once you did, you had better not be in a hurry; it took a very long time to get a salad and a pasta dish. When it did come, it attracted a swarm of little flies. As you can imagine, the lunch did not end up being one we would like to repeat.

Overall Impression - Sharngri La's Rasa Ria Resort is a nice resort with a beautiful beach and well-maintained rooms. During my stay there, it was rare that I was ever wowed. Service was lackluster and the resort had a very commercial feeling. They are in process of adding a new wing to the resort, which I think, will only deteriorate service and increase the commercial feeling of the resort. Sometimes bigger is better but in this case I am afraid it will just take Rasa Ria backwards.

The question I like to ask at this point is "would I stay at Rasa Ria again? In this case, it is an easy answer, no.

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