The Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is a fantastic place to escape city life.
This is Malaysian beach luxury it its best. The Shangri-La hotel brand has been embedded as a part of Malaysian beach life and culture for over 50 years, and this property in Penang overlooking Batu Ferringhi Beach is sensational for families, couples or even singles.
The Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa is rich in culture and tradition and set on what was once a colonial era estate which is what gives it such a grand, opulent feel. It is the ultimate Malaysian location to holiday and revel in towering trees, everything a luxury 5 star hotel has to offer, and ocean views and sea air.
The verdant highly manicured 12 hectares of gardens surrounding the property and are magnificent and sit right on the edge of the ocean, creating an oasis of calm and natural beauty. Towering rain trees preside over it as well as hammocks and chairs, ideal for a quiet read. When the property was built 45 years ago, it was actually designed around the tress, not the other way around.
Like many Shangri-La resorts, the property has a two tiered accommodation wings, the Garden and Rasa wings. Each has its own breakfast area, pool and restaurant. Architecture is distinctively Minangkabu in style, a traditional classic Malay style.
The pool in the Rasa wing is adults only, and he breakfast a la carte. Over at The Garden Wing there is a huge buffet breakfast and the option to sit by the pool.
The Rasa wing overlooking the gardens is the most upmarket section of the hotel, where I stayed for two nights with my twins, 11, in April 2019, in a Rasa Premier Room as a guest of the hotel.
The room was expansive, some 62 square metres, and was flooded with natural light. The features included a huge lounge area, large writing desk, large double bed and extensive dressing area.
The spacious bathroom had a shower with three shower heads, with various sprays and water power to select from. My children loved the mini bar which was free and re-stocked daily.
On our huge balcony sat a spectacular bath which staff would fill with rose petals and bath oils on request.
There are even electronic blinds to provide privacy at the push of a button, so you can relax in privacy whilst feeling the ocean breeze in the open air. The in-house beauty products provided are L’Occitane.
The hotel is littered with genuine Malaysian artefacts and traditional items. In our room, for example, a hat-like cover for some complimentary sweets was actually a tudung saji, a traditional food cover made from leaves. The complimentary sweets were changed daily.
A well stocked gym sits between the two wings, complimentary for all guests. My children loved both the golf course and concrete tennis courts as well as a human-sized chess set in the gardens.
A pool table provided us with some pre-dinner fun in the Garden Wing too.Adventure zone, located at the Shangri-La Golden Sands property next door with a series of slides was a huge hit amongst all of the kids staying at the property.
The highlight for me during our stay was the Chi Spa. The ultimate escape. Located in a tropical palm garden, with a circular central feature including a stone art water feature, it’s designed for total relaxation. And the treatments are exceptional. This is undoubtedly where you find your chi – excuse the pun!
The spa itself has a number of wooden paths leading to it, surrounded by reeds and trees.
Complimentary High tea as well as cocktail hour for Rasa Club guests was another highlight. High tea was served at 3pm with tiered sweet and savoury offerings and a choice of teas.
The cocktails were red or white wines with a generous serving of local Malaysian pre-dinner snacks.
The restaurant offering is also excellent, and guests at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang resort and Spa are able to access The Shangri-La Golden Sands as well and charge back to the room.
The Spice market cafe in The Garden Wing was our family’s favourite. We had their buffet dinner, and we usually don’t like buffets but the selection of food was very, very fresh and included a lot of seafood, from crabs to sushimi, sushi and mussels.
The location of the hotel at the start of a long line of 4 and 5 star hotels means alternative dining options are plentiful and close for long staying guests. There is also a night market with a smattering of cheap stalls where you can have some fun bargaining.