Balai Isabel

R&R at Kota Kinabalu’s Shangri-la Rasa Ria

Until last Friday afternoon, I was in Kota Kinabalu, living a Travelife.

Ironically, after so much traveling, I wanted peace and quiet, away from everything – so as soon as I’d returned to Manila from the Middle East and hosted three dinners on three consecutive evenings, I was out again the following day on a Cebu Pacific flight to Kota Kinabalu.

It was just good timing. Someone wanted to play golf, and a couple of people wanted to just spa and hang out by the beach. So when they suggested I join them, I simply said: “Why not?”


With WiFi and my trusty Mac, the world is literally my office anyway.
Also, almost the entire Travelife team was away on business trips all over Asia last week, so there really was no point in me staying home when everyone else on my team was on a Travelife.


One of our contributing editors was in Guam, practically our entire editorial and business teams were in three separate places in Thailand, and my managing editor was in Korea.

So I basically spent the whole of last week in a bathing suit in Kota Kinabalu, working on my computer on the beach or in the giant tub on my terrace.

I’m a big fan of Kota Kinabalu, by the way. I was just here with the Travelife team last May, and obviously I like it enough to come again in a span of four months for R&R.


It’s a no-brainer, actually, as there’s a direct flight between Manila and Kota Kinabalu, and when you land in KK, the infrastructure is pretty good. No one hassles you for a ride or a tour at the airport exit, the scenery is nice and pleasant, and everything is within comfortable driving distance.

It’s very good and convenient for getting away from it all. Best of all, KK has great hotels so there’s no need to compromise if you like the luxe life. Just make sure you book the right rooms.

What was on my iPod
in Kota Kinabalu
David Pack
David Pack
James Blunt

We were booked at the Ocean Wing of the Shangri-la Rasa Ria, which is the best resort on the island. There’s another luxe resort in Kota Kinabalu just off the mainland of Borneo that I also want to try one of these days; but it’s more work in terms of travel time, as you need to hop on a boat from Jesselton Pier to get there.

However, this very trip will literally take you away from everything and transport you to centuries of nature.
I’m so going to do this one weekend, the next time I get a chance.

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But so far, I’ve stayed twice in a row at the Shangri-la Rasa Ria and I like it.
It’s a nice holiday because the rooms are very relaxing.

In the Ocean Wing, too, most of the rooms have spa bathtubs for two on the terrace, so that adds to the fun.
On my last trip, I stayed on the top floor of the Ocean Wing, and from the spa bathtub you have a most amazing sunset view and complete privacy.

This time, I wanted to just take lots of walks by the beach and hang out by the pool, so I asked for a ground floor Ocean Wing room. It was perfect. I could walk out from my terrace straight to breakfast or whatever it was I wanted to do.

ROOMS #173 & 174

By the way, friends or families traveling together might want to book rooms # 173 and 174 on the ground floor of the Ocean Wing because you can close these two rooms off just like an apartment with lots of privacy.

It’s especially good if you’re traveling with kids because there’s no need to take elevators or staircases to get to the action.


And what did I do for four days in KK? Well, I only left the resort once, and that was to visit two dress shops selling hand-painted traditional Malaysian clothes.

One of my friends wanted to visit the local museum so he rented a car and driver, and dropped me off at the shopping center on the way.

At one of the stores, I found a gown that I’d passed up on my last visit in May, and this time it was calling my name. I figured that if I’d come face-to-face with it on two visits to KK four months apart, well, then that gown and I were meant to be.

Just another couple of days in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



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