One massage away to ‘CHI’

Chi, The Spa STAR

Spa day! How many time do you treat yourself nowadays? Once a month? Occasionally when you need to destress? Or never? Some will take leave to go on holiday, but would you consider taking that day off just to be pampered at a spa? Or even better including spa in your holiday itinerary.

A spa day doesn’t always sound needed during stressful times, in fact, you can’t even think of having one at that time. Think of it as a rewarding pleasure for yourself. A wellness programme, to relax those tense muscles every now and then. Go celebrate birthday, job promotion or perhaps anniversary?

If you need more medical benefit excuses, a spa session could help lower your blood pressure and reduce stiffness in the body.

I have been having a stiff shoulder recently. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t thank myself enough nowadays. Taking less holidays even when I can, working over the weekend? How do I appreciate my efforts?

So I did something that I haven’t done for so long, that is to book a spa day! For me, myself and I. 


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu (STAR) recently introduced the ‘Urutan Malaysia’ package, ‘Malaysian holistic wellness experience’. I was sold on that description, and signed up for it.

I came with a peace of mind, knowing well that STAR never disappoints me with their spa service (or hospitality service overall). The last time I stepped into this little ‘Eden’ was in the year 2021. I describe it as Eden because while you are in the resort, entering Chi, The Spa is like stepping into a mini private resort, complete with individual villas. Tastefully decorated, pleasing to all senses. Oasis per se.

“Hello and welcome to the Chi, The Spa” I was greeted warmly. I felt welcomed. The spa-esque smell of the reception helps to set up the relaxing mood and makes me more excited.

The Urutan Malaysia is a wellness experience introduced by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia to promote traditional healing massage that combines the techniques passed down from generation to generation from Malaysia’s diverse culture – the Malay, Chinese, Indian and natives from Sabah & Sarawak. Feel the culture’s element incorporated in a massage session using a traditional blend of oil massage.


After registering, I was greeted by my masseuse and whisked away to my villa. She gave a tour of my villa and briefed me about each facility. Each villa is separated into two parts, a private room and the massage room. Both as big as a hotel room and certain villas are equipped with a jacuzzi or sauna. I was told that they also provide couple spa packages. 

After prepping, I was shown the massage oil that will be used. My masseuse was so nice that she explained carefully what the blend is made up of and the benefits of each ingredient. Especially for the Urutan Malaysia package, Chi The Spa used locally produced massage oil of lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger and pandan made up the oil blend.

I honestly enjoyed the lingering scent that was calming and not overpowering. The whole session is about 90 minutes. Sounds too long? Not at all!  Because once you are in that ‘Zen’, you will want to wish it was longer.

My session started with a pleasant herbal foot soak. Then my masseuse demonstrated the Chinese Qi Gong technique breathing which I echoed her motion slowly. Breath in and out to release. Indian head massage and reflexology proceeded, calming me before beginning the full body massage.

She has a small frame but I certainly wouldn’t underestimate her ability for one bit. Her massage hit the right pressure points, yet gently. I could doze off while my masseuse was massaging me. It was so satisfying and relaxing. I feel like all my tension has instantly melted off and I have forgotten all my other concerns (at that moment).


The soothing music in the background was fittingly comforting too. This is the moment that I wish time had a pause button. I needed this…ME time

When it was over, I moved my shoulders up and down, and wondered to myself “Wow did my masseuse’s magic hand calm thy stressful muscle? I felt light, did I shed some pounds off?”

I took my sweet time and appreciated every corner of the spa room as the massage ended and I was politely due to leave this sanctuary.


I left the villa feeling rejuvenated, like a high spirited person. For me, that one spa treatment certainly lifted my energy and motivation. It worked wonders! 

I am glad that I signed up for this session. A day in the spa is a way of thanking your body. Relax, soak in the moment and unwind. You can only do too much so don’t stress yourself too hard.

To end the day on a high note, I indulged myself with the English high-tea offered by the resort. Perfect to reflect the downtime and enjoy the resort’s beautiful view. This particular high-tea is a replicated menu from the Shangri-La The Shard Hotel London. A taste of Great Britain in tropical Borneo. I was told though that this Sereni-tea by the Sea offer is only until 28th February 2023.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort

I stayed longer, just in time to savor Kota Kinabalu’s one of a kind sunset show in all its glory from Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, Kota Kinabalu perimeters. Many guests hang around the resort at this hour to take photos of the sunset. I did too, a sweet ending to my spa day.

Remember, it’s okay to have ME time and thank YOU for all your efforts.

Last reviewed: October 5, 2023

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