Who: Claire, Dave & their boys Jeremiah (4) and Tobias (1)
When: 13-16th of April 2013
Where: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We have been before as a family of three and my husband went with his family at least a dozen times as a child!
How was the flight?
I chose Hong Kong Airlines because both flights were around lunchtime and I hoped Tobias would nap (he obliged). Both flights were very undersold which was nice for us. On the way there we had the bulkhead which we had requested through our travel agent. It was good to have the extra space. On the return, they didn’t give us the bulkhead even though itwas empty, and when I moved up there after take-off told me I’d have to pay extra with my credit card for those seats, I think HKD$300-400 per seat. I was a bit annoyed since we hadn’t been charged extra on the outbound flight and the only explanation they would give me was ‘company policy’. Out of desperation I agreed to pay the extra but as it turned out their credit card machine wasn’t working and they decided to let me sit there for free. I wasn’t thrilled with their customer service though.
We got a taxi from the airport, 30 ringgit flat fee and takes 10 minutes.
We booked an Executive Suite in the Tanjung Wing, which is the older wing of the hotel. It’s the first time we’ve booked a suite there and I’ll definitely do it again. Although it felt like a smallish suite it was great to have 2 rooms and 2 bathrooms. They provided a cot for Tobias and rather than asking for a fold out bed for Jeremiah, which would have taken up a lot of space, I made him up a bed on the floor next to us, using one of the sun lounger matrresses from our balcony.
I think it’s a very kid friendly resort. The staff were all lovely to my children and the facilities are great for kids. Traveling with two small kids, I really didn’t want to do anything adventurous, but with the kids club (Cool Zone), small beach, pools and water slides we didn’t get bored in the four days we were there. We didn’t swim in the water off the beach though as there were jellyfish warnings.
Everyone loved the buffet breakfast and my fairly picky four year old found plenty to eat that he liked. On previous trips to the Tanjung Aru, I have found the food service to be a bit slow but there was a definite improvement this time.
The shop in the hotel is very pricey so I packed snacks, nappies, sun cream etc but of course there’s always something you forget (in my case, aftersun cream and sunglasses) and I was stung at the expense!
Overall – I’ll definitely go back to the Tanjung Aru, I think it’s great for a short stay fun trip with kids.
For another review on Tanjung Aru, click here