Not a Resort Family? Think Again |

Not a Resort Family? Think Again.

Not a Resort Family? Think Again.

‘I am not a resort person’ … at least that’s what I thought before we went on a family holiday to Sabah, Borneo. Our family of five had never stayed in a resort before, but during our recent trip to Kota Kinabalu we had the opportunity to stay at three:

The Magellan Sutera Resort is a five star resort situated in the beautiful Sutera Harbour, just 10 minutes drive from the heart of Kota Kinabalu. Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort  is also only 10 minutes from town and boasts a spectacular sunset vantage point from the Sunset Bar. The Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort is 40 minutes from the International Airport and sits between lush rainforest and a long white sandy beach.

I have officially been converted to LOVING resorts, especially with young children in tow. The two words that best describe the reasons behind my new love affair are EASY and FUN!

Kids Clubs

All the resorts we visited had Kids Clubs and our kids loved the different toys and activities on offer. Our children are aged 5, 2 and 1 year. Kids aged 4+ can be left at most kids clubs without a parent, which means you can have some alone time on your holiday. Younger children can use the Kids Clubs when accompanied by a parent or babysitter.

We also discovered the kids clubs are the perfect place to make a dash to during tropical downpour – who wants to be stuck in your room when you could be playing musical statues instead?


Resorts make family dining easy, offering a range of cafes and restaurants all on site. Whether it be buffet breakfast overlooking the water, five star dining once kids have gone to bed or a poolside cocktail with your meal, you can do it all at the resort.

My kids loved the buffet breakfasts and there was always a special kids section set up where they could choose their own meals. A great mix of western and local food on offer ensured everyone had plenty to eat and even tried a few new things.

Water slides and Pools

In a hot, tropical climate there’s nothing nicer than a few hours in the pool each day. The resorts we stayed at each had waterslides – a huge hit with our kids. Special mention for Shangri La Tanjung Aru with Borneo’s first family friendly Water Play Area complete with water slides for adults, children and toddlers, a super splash bucket, water fountains and water balloon battle stations. For parents with young children, there’s also a children’s slide and a padded toddler’s pool. Our kids had fun and quickly made new friends in the pool at every resort.

Great Rooms

Resorts cater for any need you could have in your room – extra supplies of crispy apples each day (my children adore apples), bottled water, a different style of pillow if your little ones like foam instead of down, room service and even non slip mats in the bath for kids. All our resort rooms had easy-to-use air conditioning, big beds and even drying racks on the balconies for your swimmers. The Family Room at the Magellan Sutera Resort was a standout, with two separate bedrooms and a large living area that had plenty of space for three young children.


Resorts offer a wide range of activities to keep everyone in the family entertained. You can do everything from a cooking class, horse riding, coconut leaf weaving, traditional massages, even pool volleyball! The Shangri La Rasa Ria have an amazing selection of unique family friendly activities – Ranger for the Day where children help rangers with their daily work at the Orang-utan sanctuary, Pony Rides, Sea Sports or Firefly Watching. You should never hear your children say “I’m bored” while at a resort!!

Our holiday to Sabah may have been the first time we have stayed in resorts but I can assure you it won’t be the last!

Wondering what else there is to do in Kota Kinabalu other than enjoy resort life? I tackled Mount Kinabalu


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Linda Anderson

About the Author Linda Anderson

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