We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful location, but a rollercoaster experience”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 11 more sites!
Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Finland
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Beautiful location, but a rollercoaster experience”
Reviewed May 1, 2011

We reserved two nights at Bunga Raya to top our two-week trip with some luxurious relaxation.

The location was amazing and our bungalow was just beautiful, located at the edge of the jungle, but still having an ocean view. We spent an entire day by the pool and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing.. There were a number of small things that made us feel the staff wasn't very well trained to operate a high-level resort. As the place was opened only 15 months ago, some of it may have been teething problems.

The level of service varied a lot. Sometimes it was really good and sometimes very amateur. Just small things, such as ordering two cappucinos and getting only one, not being offered more bread/water/wine at dinner, not finding a waiter around to take us to our table, having the buggy driver dump water from the rain covers on our laps, etc.

The Koi restaurant of the resort was also a mixed experience. Many of the dishes on the dinner menu were very nice and fine dining style. I had delicious beef carpaccio, red snapper and mushroom soup. Also my husband's prawn dish was great. But on the last night there I chose beef tenderloin, expecting something special. I was surprised when I was presented with a huge plate with about a pound of meat, plain French fries and ketchup! I would have loved it on any other day, but that night I was expecting something very different. It would help to unify the menu - or have a separate section for the more hearty dishes.

They were also doing some landscaping at the resort, so part of the lawn just outside the restaurant was covered in sand and there was a bobcat just standing by the footpath - an eyesore. And nobody seemed to be in any hurry to fix it.

The infinity pool was beautiful, but there were also leaves in the pool in the morning and the person in charge was just sitting in his booth reading a book. And on one morning, we had to wait an hour for pool towels being shipped from the mainland.

Don't get me wrong - we had a lovely stay. Maybe it the resort had been less expensive, I would have been happier. But considering that this place was more expensive than our 5-star honeymoon hotel in Mauritius, we expected the same level of service.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MintTruffle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GayanaEco, Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, May 2, 2011
Dear Trip Advisor Contributor,

Thank you for your candid information on your stay. We have made a note on your comments and will certainly look at each individual point. As we have stated previously it is only through comments such as yours, we can truly grow and become better. Once again Thank you for caring.

On behalf of the General Manager Mr.Tomas Andersen
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

487 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    268
    140
    42
    24
    13
See reviews for
119
281
8
5
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2011

Bunga Raya was the relaxing beachside holiday we were after. It's a small, friendly and quiet eco-resort, and we really enjoyed our stay. Things you may want to know if you are thinking of staying there:

Pros:
- the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. We felt well cared for from the moment they greeted us at the jetty with a cool drink and towel, explaining everything we needed to know; to after we'd left when we discovered we'd left some items behind in our room and they couriered them to us.
- the rooms are lovely. Simply decorated and very spacious.
- the Malaysian food at the resort is wonderful and well priced. Cheap satay sticks by the beach for lunch each day (only 1 RM per stick!); great a la carte breakfast with amazing nasi goreng; lots of delicious and reasonably priced options for dinner each night from the Malay + Chinese menu at Koi restaruant. Such a nice change from other resorts where they charge a lot for food that isn't as authentic or tasty.
- we chose the 3 night package which included several spa treatments, all of which were wonderful. It was good value.
- the room comes with a free minibar of fizzy drinks, beer, juice, water, tea and coffee (from your own little espresso machine!) which is restocked once a day. A nice touch.
- there is a free cocktail hour each evening by the pool.
- free kayaks available - we had fun one day paddling over to see the little monkeys nearby

Cons:
- there is a major shipping lane nearby, so the sea in the bay is not sparkling clean. Although the staff clean the beach often and remove rubbish etc, this is not the place to choose if you want to swim in the sea or snorkel. However, from your hammock or private deck the beach still looks beautiful.
- it can be rainy some times (we had a couple of days of heavy rain, but also two days of beautiful sunshine)
- the European-style food at the resort is not as good as the Malaysian food. But you're in Malaysia, so why not just enjoy the local food? It's excellent.
- one day about 40 Swedish tourists came for lunch, which probably tripled the number of visitors at the resort for the day. Only about 7 of the villas were occupied during our stay, so I guess they sometimes make ends meet by having tour groups for the day. But we didn't find it any problem having the tour group there as they were down at the main pool and we had our own private plunge pool so hardly noticed them - and the resort staff told us a day in advance that the group would be coming so we planned to keep away from the main pool that day.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the beach villas - private plunge pool!
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ladyadventurers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, May 7, 2011
Thank you for the feedback it will really assist in motivating the teameven further to hear how we managed to wow you. I am especially pleased how you find our resort is good value for money, I too get irritated when you pay far too much for something really mediocre.

During the North East monsoon the current will from time to time bring in undesirable rubbish unto our beautiful beach. We clean it daily and this will normally suffice. I am as dissapointed as you are seeing how some treat our spectacular sea. Having said that I wish you could see the beach and the sea today, the under visibility is close to 10 meters and not a plastic wrapper to be seen anywhere!

Once again thank you for staying with us, we hope to see you soon again.

Tomas
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2011

We have just returned from a five Night stay at Bunga Raya. Words cannot do justice to this fantastic boutique resort.
We stayed in beach bungalow No.7 which like all the beach bungalows has it's own deck, veranda and is a stones throw from the fine golden sand beach. These bungalows really have a great location - watch out for the wild boar that appears on the beach in the evening.
Whilst we were there, there were only twelve rooms occupied which made the resort seemed like it was just for us, although there were day trippers from the sister resort Guyana.
Before we went I was slightly concerned that the food choices available would be limited, but this was not so, as the Koi restraunt has two menus (western & Chinese) both of which were excellent.
The staff here could not do enough to make our stay enjoyable and really need to be commended.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank doha1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2011

Stayed there with my wife from 28 Mar to 1 Apr, a total of four nights. We took the Spa package (3 nights) and extended an additional night.
The resort is excellent, with great views.
Bunga Raya has a sister resort, Gayana, which is about 15 minutes away by speed boat.

Room: Excellent room. Spacious and simple design. Very clean. Great sea view. Very good privacy as the nearest neighbour is quite a distance away. The sound of waves could be heard from the room, but not too loud and was soothing.

Spa: We had the head, shoulder and foot massage. The ladies were very good. A very relaxing session for us. Had the jacuzzi as well and it's very nice.

Food: We love the food there. We had meals in Pantai Grill and Koi in Bunga Raya as well as Alu Alu and Macac in Gayana. Favourites: Lamb and seafood platter in Pantai Grill, Seafood Fried Rice in Koi, Seafood Fried Noodle in Macac and Chinese dishes in Alu Alu. We love the prawns and scallops. The various types of bread were nicely done as well.

Happy hour: Free drinks from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm. I love the coctails they served and my wife loves the special mocktails upon request.

Buggy service: Truly exceptional buggy service, friendly and on time. They brought us wherever we wanted to go and were always on standby. We did not wait for more than three minutes upon requesting for one.

Activities: We went for Canopy Walk, a truly breathtaking tree-top experience. We also went to Gayana for fish feeding. The king fish and giant garoupa were huge. There is a Marine Ecology Research Centre in Gayana. We love the touch-tank there.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday. We were very happy with our vacation.

Special thanks to Alvin, Elfie, Bob, Yassin, Happy and Priscilla (Bunga Raya) as well as Sheryl/Cheryl and Eduardo (Gayana) and all other friendly staff we met for making our stay a very memorable one. We miss Bunga Raya because of all of you.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LTY74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2011

I booked the Bunga Raya having read through various reviews online. The resort itself is set on a beautiful island. However, the value versus cost is as far apart as Bunga Raya is from the mainland. Below is a list of things that occurred/need improving. We've stayed at another hotel on the mainland which is a third of the price and had a great time. I'd think very carefully about spending so much to come here - unless you know that occupancy has reached a certain level. I really hate moaning but feel that you should be aware of what you're getting....
1. A lot of rubbish was washed onto the shore. This was attributed to it being monsoon season. The beach was combed after our third day - this was when occupancy at the hotel had increased. Nevertheless, collected rubbish is swept to a rather indisrete spot at the side of the beach.
2. We were met by a 'Personal Assistant' upon arrival who said he was our first port of call if we needed anything. We didn't see him again.
3. Calls to Reception were unanswered more than 10 times during the week.
4. Wifi access was not available for the first four days even after asking. Again, once the resort had more people staying and more requests were made for internet access, it was immediately fixed. Note: wifi is only available in the reception area.
5. Breakfast: first few days waiters provided us with bread, accompaniments, fresh fruit and a choice from the a la carte menu. When occupancy increased, this suddenly changed to the buffet with not much to choose from. The a la carte menu was never to be seen again.
6. Housekeeping required daily reminders for missing items and cleaning.
7. Plunge pool was faulty. Daily requests to repair eventually saw it fixed on the third day.
8. As per other posts, the menu is very limited.
9. Evening entertainment, such as a lovely singing couple only appeared when occupancy increased.
10. Out of the three restaurants on the resort, only one was ever open.
11. The Spa is set in the jungle and relaxing. The products used are of a high standard and the facial was adequate.
12. Overall, if you visit when occupancy is higher (i'd guestimate 10 or more) you will find the Danish manager will be a lot more visible and the staff will be more attentive (but not to a 5 star resort level).

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ForeverHoliday123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GayanaEco, Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 10, 2011
Dear Trip Advisor contributor.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for visiting Sabah and Bunga Raya in particular. I have read your comments with great interest and will be the first to admit, we do not always get it right. We are a very young resort (having only been open for 15 months) so certain procedures and policies will need to be changed as we grow.
As with anything in life we only learn from our inefficiencies and mistakes so rest assure your comments are important to us so we can grow and become more efficient.
Once again thank you for your contribution, we hope to see you back in our part of the world in the not too distant future.

On behalf of the General Manager Mr.Tomas Andersen
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2011

Visited this resort island near Kota Kinabalu as a family holiday with two teenagers in Feb 2010. It was during a lull near (but not during) Chinese New Year holiday. Very few guests at the time; so we felt like we almost had the resort to ourselves. Stayed in a hillside cottage. 5-star accommodations, food, and service. The island is mostly national park/protected. The resort has a beautiful beach with clear water and a nearby coral reef (a short swim from shore). Fabulous "infinity" swimming pool. Tremendous staff. Many different water and land activities at the resort and on nearby Borneo Island. One day on Borneo, we did the day-long trek to the waterfall near Mt. Kinabalu. Overall, we had a great time. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EastWest2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 5, 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Bunga Raya in November 2010 for 3 nights and it was paradise! The transfer from the Jesselton ferry dock was very easy, a staff member met us at our taxi and showed us right to the boat. As we arrived the staff was all there to greet us, and the sight of the resort as we pulled up to the jetty was amazing. We stayed in a treehouse and it was even better than the photos on their website. The staff was attentive and very friendly. The beach was gorgeous, and using the jetskis was definitely a highlight. We jumped off the jetty right into the pristine waters, and enjoyed the complimentary snorkle gear and kayaks. The food was outstanding and plentiful! Every morning there was a basket with juice and muffins sitting on our porch, and when we went down to the lodge the breakfast spread they provided was outstanding. The chefs met with us each night and tailored the dinner meals perfectly. The pool was amazing and had gorgeous views of the cove that the resort is nestled in. I had the most amazing massage in the jungle spa. 3 days was not enough! We didn't even want to leave the resort because it was so gorgeous, but next time we would stay longer and try to make it to Kinabalu Park. We visited the sister resort Gayana, and while it was beautiful too, I still recommend the Bunga Raya for the beautiful jungle location and seclusion. This resort will exceed your expectations, I can't say enough about it!
Hillary and Anders, USA

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank worldtraveler298184
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Pulau Gaya
2.3 mi away
Gayana Eco Resort
Gayana Eco Resort
#3 of 3 in Pulau Gaya
454 reviews
12.4 mi away
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
5.0 mi away
Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
4.8 mi away
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
#4 of 92 in Kota Kinabalu
2,073 reviews
4.8 mi away
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
#6 of 92 in Kota Kinabalu
1,417 reviews
8.6 mi away
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
#12 of 92 in Kota Kinabalu
1,331 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Property: Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Address: Polish Bay, 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 #2 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Preferred Hotels, Booking.com, Priceline, Ctrip TA, Agoda, Hotels.com, Expedia, TripOnline SA, Travelocity, Hotwire, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Bunga Raya Island Resort And Spa
Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Malaysia/Pulau Gaya

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing