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“Really wanted to love this place - but sadly disappointed” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   Polish Bay | Gaya Island, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Price
30% Off 2nd & 3rd Night!
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Hong Kong, China
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Really wanted to love this place - but sadly disappointed”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

Bunga Raya is one of the most beautiful places we've stayed. The surroundings are magnificent, with snorkelling right off the beach in front of the resort, really well kept grounds, and easy access to the sister resort or into town for a change of scenery.
Staff were lovely, and choice of activities were great. We took one of the tours to a nearby island for snorkelling, and it was a real highlight - as were completing the discover scuba diving course over at the sister resort.

What really let us down was the terrible management. Staff were really doing their best, but just weren't trained to the standards we'd expect for such an otherwise lovely place.

Without wanting to list all the issues in great detail - we were left horribly disappointed by the end of the trip and were upset numerous times throughout.

We pre-booked activities through the reservations department and received confirmation of our bookings by email, but all bookings were lost and until i re-forwarded the confirmations, staff were convinced we hadn't made any reservations and even when confirmed, they were very vague about times of activities, giving us conflicting details.
We were even sent off to the wrong island for our day trip - luckily we still enjoyed the place we hadn't selected.

Room service was so bad it was hard at times to tell anyone had been in our room, except that they'd cleared the towels without leaving a replacement and left a cupboard open with its interior light on for all our belongings to be in clear view from the path.

There were a number of blackouts during our stay - one of which lasted from afternoon through late evening, leaving us stuck in our stuffy room in the pitch dark of the jungle, and another lasting half the night which meant that we were unable to charge cameras or phones - or sleep due to the lack of air-con.

The worst part was this was acknowledged officially by no-one, no generic letter of explanation under the door, no apology and no efforts to make up in any way for the evenings lost to the blackouts.

This could be a really fantastic place if only they'd bring in a little attention to detail. With direct flights from Hong Kong to KK, this would be the ultimate weekend getaway for us. I am very easy going, but have received far superior service at budget accommodations - Bunga Raya is absolutely not living up to its potential.

I honestly hope they can pick up their game, as I'd love to return.

We stayed in August 2013, but have just created a TripAdvisor account now - and this is still bugging us, so we're adding the belated review.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rainer S, Executive Assistant Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Lim,
thank you for your feedback from your stay with us last year in August. As we have discussed during your stay we have clearly failed in fulfilling our promises in delivering our services on your pre-booked activities. Please rest assured that all of the mentioned issues have been discussed with all management and associates in order to better our services. In the meantime we believe that we have succeeded in many ways since your visit in quite a few aspects of our services based on the feedback from our guests in various social media as well as in direct conversations with our customers.
We do regret your discomfort and the inconvenience caused as we were not meeting up your expectations as well as our standards during your visit and we hope to welcome you back again to our resort and I am looking forward for a more optimistic relationship with you as our valued customer in the future.
With best regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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270 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
UK
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Well where does one begin … from the moment you step onto the long jetty dotted with its beautiful displays of bougainvillea and quiet shady huts above the water, you have this feeling that you've come to a very special place.

Before we were shown to our room, we were given a tour in one of the resort's many golf buggies, and everyone we met on the way were so smiley and friendly. Our room was traditional Malay style, positioned high on a hilltop with a lovely large balcony where you could sit and take in the stunning view of the bay whilst listening to all the wonderful sounds of the jungle surrounding you. No need for an alarm clock here, we relied on the monkeys who would play mischievously with the ashtray on our balcony table first thing in the morning! Yes, you are on the edge of a 3,000 year old rainforest, and if you love wildlife you will be in your element. An early morning jungle canopy walk with Chris is a must, he is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about everything that lives and breathes on this island, including the very many different hibiscus grown here.

There are two restaurants - The Longhouse where one can enjoy either a traditional or continental style breakfast and in the evenings sample more traditional Malay fayre, and the Pantai Grill, which is set close to the beach offering a more European style menu including fantastic steaks or freshly caught fish. Food portions at both restaurants are extremely generous, and the food is really delicious.

Bunga Raya certainly has the best beach on the island, and you can snorkel off the jetty, or take a complimentary kayak into the clear waters of the bay. We spent most of our days lazing around the infinity swimming pool, which for the amount of time we spent there was very quiet and relaxing, and if you want to retreat from the sun there are a few little raised shady huts.

If you crave for a change of scenery, there is a scheduled boat (free of charge) between Bunga Raya and Kota Kinabalu, or its sister resort, Gayana Eco Resort. The good thing here is that you can mix and match the restaurants between the two resorts, but unfortunately we didn't have the time to sample the fresh fish restaurant, Alu Alu, but we'll save that for another trip. At the Gayana Eco Resort you will find the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC). At MERC you can watch a 10-15 minute video in the coolness of their cinema room which shows all the commendable work they are doing to save the reef and giant clams. Unfortunately what this video does highlight is that there is still dynamite fishing going on in the surrounding waters, so it is a massively challenging task they have in hand!

Anyway enough, as Bunga Raya's secret is my secret, some of which I have just reluctantly shared with you, and if you're fortunate enough to visit I can guarantee that you will leave with a beaming smile on your face and a heavy heart filled with the warmth and kindness that the staff of Bunga Raya shower upon you. Thank you to Tomas (General Manager) and all the lovely staff who made our first trip to Borneo an unforgettable one, and we can't wait to come back.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 23 which was hilltop and had a magnificent view of the bay.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich, Germany
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2013

While writing this review, we are lucky to still be here, in paradise. As we are on our honeymoon, we wanted seclusion. A private pool. A stunning beach. A jungle escape and all with 5 star luxury and service. Bunga Raya delivered all of this and more!!!! We had the most amazing 5 days here, being pampered by the staff of the resort, the restaurants and the spa. It was as if we were the king and queen of Gaya Island. The food was very tasty and exactly what we were hoping for. We opted for the honeymoon package, which gives you a variety of great experiences and activiteis, such as a seafood candlelight dinner at the Alu Alu restaurant of the sister resort, the Gayana Eco. Spa treatments were a pure delight! Honestly, it exceeded our expectations and we couldn't have dreamed of anything better!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geneva
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

Great setting and service! The resort has the advantage of being tucked away is a secluded bay with the backdrop of the jungle, while being only 10 minutes boat ride from the main island. Staff are very friendly and attentive and are happy to go out of their way to organise a surprise, a special trip or dinner. If you like your privacy and personalised service this is the place to go.

Room Tip: We recommend the Treetop Villas. There are only two of them overlooking the bay, with a lot of priva...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zilina, Slovakia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

The resort we stayed 9 days. Incredibly beautiful nature, beautiful beach, excellent cuisine, very friendly staff. With all we were very satisfied and very happy that we met this extremely beautiful resort. Advantage was also that in the period from 16.11.2013 to 25.11.2013 in the whole resort was about 20 vacationers.
Once again I highly recommend.

Room Tip: senior villa
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013 via mobile

We booked the resort a few days prior to arrival and what a find. Looking for somewhere quiet to unwind we could not of asked for more. The staff seemed to want you to genuinely enjoy your stay and everyone from Nancy and Kate who greeted us to the two ladies who swept the path made you feel welcome. A great deal of thought seemed to have gone into the designs giving each villa a feeling of your own piece of paradise

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dresden, Germany
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

I stayed at Bunga Raya for a fortnight and had a wonderful time. Everything was to my satisfaction! If you share your wishes to the staff or hotel management they do everything possible to make your stay an unforgetable experience. If you share your complaints (I only had smaller ones) with the staff or management they will find a solution to make our stay more conveniend and confortable.

The Bunga Raya Resort is embedded in the nature of Gaya Island. You life close to monkeys, wild boars, birds, butterflies, etc..

The staff was attentive, very friendly and always willing to assit.

The only bad thing I have to remark is that many parts of the coral reef at Abdul Rahman National Park are destroyed by dynamite fishing. The local authorities, especially the coast guard, should do more against it, but is still worth to come for scuba diving!

Room Tip: Villa 21 has a nice view to the sea! Use insect repellent (provided by the resort) against sand fl...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Address: Polish Bay | Gaya Island, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As sensual and exotic as the hibiscus flower that bears its name, Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious jewel set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo. A secluded island hideaway of 47 timbered villas, the resort is framed by white sand beach and virgin jungle. Hillside villas reflect the simplicity of the Borneo architectural style. A hilltop spa blends the finest Traditional Asian and Western treatments using restorative powers of indigenous plants and oils. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Bunga Raya Island Resort And Spa
Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Malaysia/Pulau Gaya

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