It wasn't until the following morning, that I took time to inspect my room and its facilities. Having spent many thousands of nights in hotels across the globe, I have to confess that this was the best I'd ever come across.
The room itself was large (as was the bed). Double sliding doors led to its balcony. Not the usual type with a small table, a couple of hard-backed chairs and not enough room to swing the proverbial cat - but one sporting a huge (6ft x 5ft) glazed bathtub, an even bigger lounger bed complete with scatter cushions, a table, a pair of rattan easy chairs, electrically operated privacy screens and an overhead fan that actually did what its designer had wanted it to. Sunset views were spectacular indeed.
What came as a real surprise, was when one of the 'front office' staff introduced me to the room's facilities. She asked, Please select a preference from the Pillow and the Perfume Menus and I will instruct the housekeeper accordingly.
Oops! This was a new one on me. I admit now, to having asked her to explain?
As to the hotel's dining options, I was even more impressed. Housed in separate buildings and sited in various areas of the grounds, each catered for guest's preferences, Malay specialities, Japanese Sushi, Western A la Carte, Indian, Italian, Chinese, American and any combination requested.
I never heard a single complaint about food quality or presentation.
The hotel's staff outnumbered guests by three to one and that delivered impeccable service, no matter in what area a guest happened to be, by one of the three pools, near the beach, working out in the gym, partaking in a morning routine of Tai Chi, or lounging on one's own balcony sipping a G&T.
For the golf fanatics, the hotel's minibus can deposit them outside the entrance to the Dalit Bay Country Club (belonging to the hotel) in less than three minutes. The 18 hole course is sited among the most beautiful scenery, the backdrop to its signature hole for example, being where the azure blue of the sea, meets the gently flowing green of a river, truly stunning!
What else? Well, three swimming pools are on offer. A large (three section) one to the front of the hotel's Ocean Wing, another of equal size but furnished with an array of water slides for adults and children alike, near the Garden Wing, and a smaller (semi-hidden) one shaded with an overhead translucent sheet and sited in a manicured lawn for those who seek seclusion.
A fully equipped gym with expert staff, is large enough for the most nervous of patrons to exercise without being constantly overlooked by the more adventurous.
There's mini golf, tennis and water sports available too. Constantly evident was space, in fact acres of it. This meant, that whatever activity (or otherwise) one chose to indulge in, there was a feeling of freedom.
The highlight and real benefit of being a guest at this hotel, is the fact that it has its own Orang Utan Sanctuary located in the forest, which borders its northern edge. The jungle, its paths and canopy walks are maintained by full time hotel staff and inspected and certificated annually by the Malaysian Wildlife and Forestry Department.
On a closing note, as with any country, there are myriads of other things to see and do. I merely 'scratched the surface' during the 12 days I spent there.
What is certain however, is that I'll allocate more of them when I return.
November 20th 2011.
It is an extremely good hotel, where rooms, food outlets, bars and staff were absolutely first rate. We had a top floor sea view room in the Garden wing with an excellent view of the grounds, white powder sand beach and above all the stunning sunsets.
There are 4 restaurants, ranging from an excellent coffee shop, (where breakfast is taken) serving an all day menu (far better than average) ranging from Malaysian food, through steaks to club sandwiches. The breakfast was of a very high standard. There is also a teppan-yaki restaurant (Kozan), a good Indian restaurant (Naan), a contemporary restaurant with n unusual themed appearance (Coast)serving mainly Western / fusion cuisine and Tepi Laut / Makan Street serving a lunch menu and changing into a hawker centre theme (and failing badly) in the evenings. Drinks (especially alcoholic0 were rather expensive.
There are also a few bars - most noteworthy of which are the cocktail bar at "Coast" where happy hour coincides with the most stunning sunsets - viewed from the terrace and the lobby lounge where there is music / entertainment in the evening. There is a large shop, selling a wide range of goods - from mosquito repellent, through drinks and ice cream to clothing and souvenirs. Trips can also be organised from a couple of agents (sited near the main shop).
The resort has a golf course (Dalit Bay Country Club) where the spa is also located. Water sports are available and there is an orang-utan rescue centre - which is not to be missed. Several people commented that the view of the orang-utans was better than at Sepilok. The Ocean wing features a main pool and a children
Travel operator: None
We were half board and could eat at any of the restaurants. The food was fantastic and plentiful. For a 5 star hotel the food and bar prices were very reasonable. one pound for a coke, cocktails four pounds, approx
Travel operator: independant
The location of the hotel is a bit remote from any town so can feel isolated. They run a shuttle bus for a charge which goes to Kota Kinabalu and the sister hotel.
The nature reserve which is attached to the hotel is really good with lots of activities you can do, watching the baby orang utans being fed is lovely.
The hotel offers lots of things to do as in boat trips,walks, bike rides, horse riding ect..
The restaurants are excellent and not too expensive for the quality of food, buffet in evening about
Travel operator: Hayes and Jarvis
The hotel and grounds were spotless, and cleaning and general gardening was carried out every day.
Food was top drawer! We never experienced one bad meal there. The buffet breakfast was immense, i had never seen so much variety (but the tea wasn't much kop though!)Staff were 5 star, couldn't do enough. Entertainment was v.good.......But there was only 2 acts throughout our stay, so a bit repetetive....but still good!
Location was excellent, even though i did put a 3, this was because it was a good 20-25 miles away from anywhere else!! The only problem i have with this hotel was the price of drinks (18-20 Ringgit for half a lager, when we went the exchange rate was 6.27 Ringgit to the pound!!) so in terms that i understand......
Travel operator: Kuoni
For us, the most outstanding memory will be our visits to see the orang utans and catching glimpses of them swinging around the trees from the hotel. The beach is fabulous - long and sandy - and is swept every morning. Views of the sunset from our bedroom window were also a nightly treat.
Travel operator: Premier Holidays
Rooms and service were outstanding.
The food was great in all five restaurants. Prices were a bit high for Malaysia, but the quality more than made up for this.
The coast restaurant is really special.
Travel operator: robert broad travel
The hotel is located on the most beautiful beach I have ever stayed on and as their is no other hotel nearby it is essentially a huge private beach. Strolling along the beach early in the morning or evening was a delight although the sand flies in the summer months do make sunbathing on the beach unadvisable. This doesn't matter as you can still get the view from the lovely gardens.
Food in the four restaurants was all excellent. The award winning Coast restaurant is very impressive in terms of design and food but a little too formal for our liking.
Although our first visit was solely for the wildlife oportunities we returned the year after for the wonderful people. I have been lucky enough to travel widely but can honestly say this hotel has the greatest staff i have ever found in a hotel. Nothing was too much trouble but it was always delivered in a friendly manner. Call me a softy but when they sang goodbye to us I couldn't avoid shedding a fair few tears. I cannot fault them.
During the day there is a good range of activities on offer including water polo, football, cookery lessons and various children's activities to name a few. Obviously the big daytime expereince is feeding time for the orangs, twice daily. I needed a season ticket I went so often!! One tip is to take the shuttle bus to the siter hotel and take the boat to the local islands from there as this is much cheaper than the packaged versions on offer and you can extend the day at the other hotel by using the facilties for a little variety. Evening entertainment suited us fine but could perhaps be alittle low-key for some visitors, especially if staying for more than a week. Don't miss the highly entertaining kitchen band literally made up of various members of the kitchen staff. The downside of the great location is that you are fairly confined to the hotel unless you wish to use taxis into Kota Kinabalu as the shuttle bus isn't very freuent.
We will definately go back to the Rasa Ria.
Travel operator: independent
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