I recently spent five nights with my husband at the Bunga Raya Island Resort.
We had been to Gaya Island on diving and snorkeling trips last Easter and were keen to spend more time there.
The resort is stunning - just what we were looking for. It truly is an island paradise and if the tide is kind the beach is pristine- if not the staff are on to it! Our villa was gorgeous. We had number 8 which is the only deluxe villa on two levels. We absolutely loved it and thought it beautifully appointed - we particularly liked waking up to all the jungle noises. We had ocean views from both verandas, and with the bedroom being on the upper level it felt very private without being too far from reception or the jetty. Housekeeping were excellent, responding to any request in a very prompt and friendly manner. The Spa is also a real treat. Yes it is more expensive than their branch in town, but it is well worth it. The surroundings are much more relaxing and the therapists very attentive and professional. Highly recommended. We enjoyed the Canopy Walk and wished we'd had time to do more treks. However the main reason for coming to the island was to be handy for diving and we only managed to fit in the mini trek in due to the diving being booked out on the first day. We also fitted in a trip over to MERC on our last morning. This was well worth doing and we wished we had had time to snorkel at the Gayana to take a look at the reef reconstruction programme they are working on.
Unfortunately the holiday was not quite the perfect luxury escape we were hoping for as there are still problems with the Food Service - we hear that a consultant is on his way from Singapore which is great news. Meanwhile the breakfast buffet at The Koi is far from what you'd expect from a top-end resort- strangely the buffet at the Gayana Eco Resort was way better. However do not let this put you off as there is a good breakfast menu available and the staff are more than happy to accommodate bespoke orders for you. Everything that we tried was delicious, super fresh and well presented.
The Koi Restaurant on the whole was fine. The menu now offers plenty of choice and the local fare we chose was tasty. Our main issue with the Koi dinner service was the tardiness in delivering our drinks. This struck us as somewhat bizarre as they have won awards for their wine cellar which is worth a visit- most impressive. We often had to chase our wine repeatedly and even then ended up receiving it after we had got our main course, by which time we did not really want it and it was not chilled either! We went over to Alu Alu at the Gayana one night. That was much more relaxing. Great food and super service- no wine chasing necessary!
The Pantai Grill on the other hand was awful. We only went there for lunch. The first day it was OK, but it was down hill from there. Dodgy prawns, rotten crab, lettuce that was past its best - even the fries were cooked in rank old oil. Best avoided. We had better fare at the basic beach cafe on Sapi Island.
We loved the Gaya Island experience and the fact that, although you are only 20 minutes from KK , you could be miles way. Unlike the other resorts on the Island, from Bunga Raya, you can not actually see the City at all. Despite the disappointment of missing a day of diving- easily fixed -we'll book in advance next time and the inconsistent Food and Beverage Service, we would definitely like to go back next year. We are hoping that the the guru from Singapore will work his magic and will keep an eye on the reviews. This really is a special place and with a little bit of TLC it could be absolutely idyllic.
- 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 Resort And Spa
- Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu
- Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Malaysia/Pulau Gaya