Much has been said of the very good service at Gaya Island resort, so I won't waste too many words on that except to say, it's hard to top this kind of service that treats you like a member of royalty. On top of that, the staff were also very child friendly. My three-year-old son had resisted donning a life vest for the speed boat ride to the resort but one of the staff at the waiting lounge at the Marina actually talked him into doing so. Also, a waiter at the Feast Village made my son feel important, laying out cutlery before him and handing him a menu, just like he was an adult.
Our room was great, can't really complain about it, except for the crazy light switches, which I never figured out. The bathroom and even the bathtub was insanely big, but how luxurious is that! Lovely rain shower in the shower cubicle too.
We went on a nature walk with the resident naturalist, Justin, who was extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in Borneo, and learnt a lot of things during the walk. Did you know that termites operate a caste system within their nest? Or that you could tell directions by looking at tree roots? Quite mind-boggling, this. Justin was also very friendly and stopped to talk every time we ran into him around the resort.
The water around the resort was very clear and we could see plenty of fish just standing at the jetty - you don't even need to get wet. But I was told that if you went snorkelling around the house reef (we didn't), you could see even more, which sounds fantastic. At night, light beams are shone into the water at the jetty and they attract the bigger fish, such as the giant trevally, and sometimes, even schools of squid. On the night we ventured to the jetty, we saw many giant trevally flipping around madly in the water and sometimes even leaping out into the air. It was exciting.
The Spa Village took the meaning of heavenly to another level. My treatment room faced the forest and while I had a foot scrub on the verandah of the treatment room, I could hear waves lapping at the seashore just beyond while gazing out at the greenery. The massage itself was good and the therapist was very skilled. The treatment room had glass walls and you could choose to draw the curtains for privacy or leave them open so you could look out to the forest. Unfortunately, I made an appointment late in the day and it was already dark, so I couldn't see anything. But i'm sure the outside would have looked great in the day.
While I was at the spa, my husband entertained our kid at the playroom, which was well stocked with toys of all sorts. My son loved the playroom and went at least three rounds playing with every toy there. There was another room stocked with playthings for older children such as wii, but that was chargeable.
The place was also extremely well-maintained. We saw groups of workers spending all afternoon raking the beach and cleaning up seaweed that had floated towards shore. While it was true that there was still some minor construction work going on, it seemed to mostly consist of workmen plastering the walls of the road leading to our villa. That didn't bother us.
Food at Feast Village was decent and portions, generous. Ingredients used were premium. The menu had both Western and Asian fare, but I felt the Asian fare was done better. Breakfast was either an ala carte buffet or a self-service buffet spread, depending on the number of guests staying in the resort that particular day but both were good.
Prices on the menu were not low, but I figured this being an island, everything had to be imported, which contributes to the cost.
In all, it was a very nice vacation although I wish the pool didn't close that early (7pm). An after-dinner dip would have been very nice, especially in the tropical heat. And I also hope smoking can be banned at the poolside (or throughout the common areas of the resort).
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- Also Known As:
- Gaya Island Resort Malaysia/Pulau Gaya