As it turned out, the nicest place we stayed our entire honeymoon was the first stop on our three-week Tour de Asia. Normally, you’d think it would be better to save the last, but actually after the chaos in reaching Borneo, it was just the escape we imagined.
In the Kota Kinabalu area, there are two Shangri-La hotels. As Borneo isn’t exactly know for luxe lodging—and it was our honeymoon after all; there would be no skimping on accommodation now of all times—we knew we wanted to stay at one of these properties, whether the Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, located in KK, or Rasa Ria, set 45 minutes out of town. The Shangri-La is a global brand, headquartered in Asia, and has a stellar reputation. I’d never stayed at one of their resorts before, and you know me: I never miss out on an opportunity to check out lavish, five-star digs if it’s within my power!
But the question was which to choose? My first instinct was to stick in town, as I had absolutely no clue how easy it would be to get around by taxi (far easier than you’d think; cheaper, too). Plus, I didn’t really want to be secluded from society. Or did I…
Fellow travel blogger and my once-colleague Abby convinced me otherwise. “The one place you must stay while in Borneo is Rasa Ria!” she said via e-mail. And, well, the girl lives in the tropics, in a small beach town in Costa Rica, so I pretty much trust her opinion on paradise.
So, we checked into Rasa Ria for three nights. And were mighty glad we did, too.
The rooms were nothing short of amazing. The pool was divine, and even had a lap area (which SVV and I used at 7am each morning to get a little cardio).
The restaurants, particularly the Indian joint, were phenomenal (the food only went downhill after we left Rasa Ria). The views weren’t bad either.
And they even left us an amenity! Startling likenesses of ourselves, too. The cuteness kills. These little guys sit on my office bookshelf, as a daily reminder of our amazing time at Rasa Ria.
There was plenty to do, yet we found ourselves doing a whole lot of nothing. An early morning swim, a nice hearty brunch in the Coast restaurant, then we’d camp out under the pool, where SVV manned his post under the umbrella—“I don’t see any commitment to the tan,” I’d tell him—while I braved the scorching heat and humidity, jumping in the pool every 15 minutes, only to have the water evaporate the moment I got out.
The snorkeling on the west coast of Borneo isn’t that great, so we stuck to the pool in lieu of the ocean. We meant to take out one of the free sea kayaks one afternoon, we really did, but somehow never found “the time” to do so.
We read a lot of books—I managed to finish nine in a two-week period via my Kindle—and watched a lot of Netflix movies I brought along. About the only non-relaxation activity we did at Rasa Ria was a nature trek and orangutan viewing (to come next week).
But best of all, for once—a rarity—I was in this stunning place, on this isolated, tropical isle, and I had someone to share it all with.
*All photos taken with a Canon T1i, 10-20mm lens and 17-855mm lens, housed in a LowePro SlingShot.
**For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby.
These pictures are sooo great. I especially love the one of you in the chaise lounge. (And is that you jumping in the first shot? LOVE IT.)
Was just looking at Borneo online yesterday! Is it too romantic for a single traveler?
CHECK out the form of that lap swimmer! PERFECT!
Is that a bathtub on your balcony? I’m impressed!
Wow looks amazing! I can’t wait to hear about the jungle trek! I’ll be staying at one of the Shangri-La’s in Singapore and this got me so excited for it! I’ve been freaking out about all the bugs in Borneo (I’m going in December) how bad was it?
love that last line!
You sure can jump girl! Looks a peaceful place to kick back. But I can’t believe you read so many books on your honeymoon. What’s up with that? You two are a cute little pair of monkeys.
So, I can’t decide if the glow in the last photo is because of the gorgeous lighting or from your smiles. You both look fantastic and crazy happy, and I hope the glow never fades!
A funny little story about that place: When Bonnie and I were back packing in 2000 we stayed in KK for about a week. We were on a tight budget, so we stayed at a cheap hostel in town. But after almost six months of back packing and budget living we craved a little luxury. Therefore, we took the bus to that very same hotel several times and walked through the reception with our heads high as if we lived there (and more or less owned the place) and walked straight to the pool area, where we relaxed and enjoyed the pool all day. It was so great. Only problem was, that we couldn’t order anything to eat or drink, because then they would ask what room number to put it on, and that risk was too big after all:)
Love the pics! Perfect getaway.
I like the place! So adorable!
Lovely pictures! looks like you’ve had fun.
Looks like you’re happy. Nice photos !