Malaysia's newest deluxe resort officially opened last night - in a wildlife sanctuary. Orangutans are sharing a headland jungle with the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. An orchid research station is also being integrated into the US$60 million beach-front project developed by Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. 'It's very much an eco-tourism attraction,' said group spokesman Joanne Watkins. 'Over 60 of the resort's 400 acres have been set aside as a wildlife sanctuary which has the blessing of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Malaysia.' Despite its jungle location, bordered by two rivers, Rasa Ria is only a 40-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu, now linked by daily flights to Hong Kong. 'One of the big advantages is that it is only a 21/2-hour flight from Hong Kong,' Ms Watkins said. The 331-room resort adjoins the 18-hole Andy Dye-designed Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club opening later this year and open to guests. There is white-water rafting, cycling, horseback riding and trekking and a children's club. Michael Andrea, Shangri-La's marketing vice president in Malaysia, said: 'The resort is expected to have strong appeal as off-beat destinations grow in demand.' Shangri-La is now the largest deluxe international hotel management company in Malaysia with six hotels and resorts. There is already one nearby in Kota Kinabalu, the Tanjung Aru Resort. The group also runs two resorts and the Shangri-La Hotel in Penang, along with another Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Three new hotels are expected to open in China - in Beihai, Shenyang and Changchun - and a Traders Hotel is planned to open in Rangoon in December. 'We now have 10 hotels in China,' Ms Watkins said. 'Although details have not been officially announced, it is likely Shangri-La will be operating up to 20 hotels in China by the turn of the century.'