Our guide Hazel from ‘Borneo Tours and Travels’ described the property to us. “From one end, standing in the midst of a blanket of white sand, every room has a spectacular view of the blue ocean,” she said. In spite of building a picture in my head about how the property would look, I was spellbound while I entered The Shangri La’s Rasa Ria. This stunning resort is set amidst acres of tropical gardens on one side and a beautiful beach on the other. Here is an excerpt about a few things which we did and absolutely loved in this 5-star Luxury property located on the ‘Pantai Dalit’ Beach.

The Food Spread

For the foodie in you, the breakfast buffet at ‘Shangri La Rasa Ria’ promises to satisfy every craving which you’ve probably had! Right from a million varieties of cheese, juices and fruits to the tastiest pizzas and local delicacies, this place had it all. Dinner was served in their ‘Indian fine dining Restaurant’, one of the five restaurants on the property 🙂 The food was personalized to your liking and flavours were on point! If your food is great, isn’t half your holiday totally sorted?

Outdoor Sunrise breakfast spread at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort
Sunrise breakfast spread (the buffet spread at the hotel is 10x this!). Photo credits: Kitty Iyer

The Hospitality

Should I tell you about how they sang a goodbye song for us when we left Rasa Ria? Or how a bunch of them trekked with us to see us go crazy at the view of the sunrise in Rasa Ria? Right from suggesting the best cocktails during sunset to welcoming us to the resort, their hospitality is top notch. I was looked after like a princess. The staff were cheerful and always looking out for us and waving at us in every corner of the resort. Big hugs to the folks in Rasa Ria!

Sunsets @ Rasa Ria

There is something magical about watching the sun go down a little by little from the beach with the waves keeping you company. Even though I missed ‘the really cute ceremony’ on the beach for the sunset by the lovely people of Rasa Ria, I got a chance to see the marvellous show all by myself from my room balcony. There are very few things in my life that have topped what I saw.  The colours the sky turned into and how beautifully the clouds complimented it. Would I call it the most beautiful sunset ever? Maybe. But what I saw was very special. Go to Rasa Ria for the sunset. It’s something you will never forget.

Sunset at the beach at Shangri La Rasa ria resort
Photo credits: Kitty Iyer

Sunrise @Rasa Ria:

If I can see the sunset from my room, it’s pretty obvious I can’t see the sunrise. We trekked for the sunrise. We left our rooms at 5.15 am to be there on the top of the cliff at 6 am so we can catch the sunrise. I can’t say much about sunrises, I am not a morning person, but it was what I saw, was magnificent. Fresh orange juice and the sun rising, the beach below us and a clear view of Kinabalu Mountain. We had a nice little breakfast post the sunrise.

View of the sunrise with the beach and the river at Shangri La Rasa ria resort
Photo credits: Kitty Iyer

The Room & The Services

Our gorgeous room was in the ocean wing. This wing has a private entrance, a pool and a Jacuzzi/ hot tub in every room. Our rooms were overlooking the sunny wind-swept seashore. They had placed little nibbles in the room along with a very sweet welcome note. We also had a pillow menu, where we could order a pillow to our liking. How cool is that? But the most favourite part is their bath service. I simply called and ordered a bubble bath and when I came back to my room after a tiring trek, it was all ready.  By the end of our stay, it almost felt like we were leaving a big family behind. They even sang a goodbye song for us. Sigh!

Balcony with bath and seating Shangri La Rasa ria resort
Photo credits: Kitty Iyer
Twin bed room at Shangri La Rasa ria resort
Photo credits: Kitty Iyer


I have a special respect for those who care for the environment. The first thing I noticed in our room in Shangri La Rasa Ria, apart from the magnificent view is the fact that they had glass bottled water for every guest and not a plastic bottle. During the sunset cocktail, we met the General Manager of Shangri La Rasa Ria and she was talking about all the initiatives the team at Rasa Ria are taking towards using lesser plastic and planting more trees and almost a mini forest. Kudos to the team! 😀

Fruit and bottled water at Shangri La Rasa ria resort
Photo credits: Kitty Iyer

The Massage

Being such a big fan of massages and going to the spa, I’ve got massages in a lot of places around the world. But the one in Shangri La Rasa Ria tops everything till date. Right from the location to the expertise, the masseuse got it bang on! By the beach, in a small gazebo, with the sound of the waves, I got a massage which is the most unforgettable experience ever!

Here’s the thing about Shangri La Rasa Ria. There’s something for every kind of traveller. You into trekking, there’s something for you! You into beach adventure activities? There’s parasailing, banana boat, jet skis and so much more, are you a beach bum? They have the best cocktail bar next to the beach! Are you a sucker for good massages? Their massage by the beach is the best I’ve ever gotten! Are you a sucker for a pool? It’s got 2 gorgeous pools overlooking the beach.

Go for the views, go for the hospitality, and go for the food. Shangri La will surprise you during every chance they get 🙂

How to Reach Shangri La Rasa Ria?

Shangri La Rasa Ria is just 40 minutes to 1-hour drive from the beautiful city of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. I travelled from Bangalore on Malindo Air. Let me know how you liked Rasa Ria and Sabah. Click here to read the rest of my blogs on Sabah.

Also read: From headhunters to bead makers – The fascinating indigenous tribes of North Borneo.

Also read: Your private paradise island getaway – Manukan Island.


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