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“The Highs and the Lows”

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 8, 2013

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.

Room Tip: We really loved our deluxe villa (#8), however if you don't like steps you might prefer one of t...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PerthSquirrel
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 reviewResponded April 19, 2013

Thank you for sharing your experience, constructive feedback is always appreciated. We are taking many steps in improving our food and beverage offerings and I am sure you will be able to see a big difference when you hopefully return next year.
Having said this, I am really pleased you enjoyed your time with us, thank you for sharing.

all the best

Tomas

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Reviewed April 5, 2013

The resort consists of 52 villas and we stayed in a two room suite for four nights. The room is big and comfortable but the toilet has to be renovated and upgraded.

We experienced some little troubles including water dripping from the air conditioner. Moreover, there was no hot water supply in one of our rooms and my kids had to use my toilet for shower. I have to say this is not a luxury hotel but we should expect something better given the room rate charged.

However, this won't bother us much. The location is wonderful. It is 20 minutes by boat from the mainland and there are free scheduled boat services taking the hotel guests back and forth. The beach is beautiful and it is more or less kind of private beach for the hotel guests. However, there is one drawback that the monsoon season was just over and there was lots of rubbish in the first two days of our stay. The staff trid very hard to clean the beach but there is no way they could pick all the rubbish by hand.

Since the third day, the current changed and there was no more rubbish. It is a beautiful beach with pristine water. I was surprised when I snorkelled around. There are more coral reef than expected and they are alive and healthy. It is no need to travel to any other island for snorkelling.

Finally, I must say the staff are very friendly and coopoerative. In fact, there were few guests and the staff could pay very close attention to our needs such as late check out and special dinner arrangement. I can still remember their names. They are Brian, Fauzi, Johnathan, and Zam. Thanks for all your help to make my stay a wonderful one.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank HongKongSunseeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

The resort, a 20 minute boat ride from Kota Kinabalu, is an isolated piece of paradise. Built around an idyllic transparent water and white sand beach bay, the villas appear to be part of the natural scenery. Our tree-house villa, hidden in the lush vegetation, was cosy, clean, well furnished and decorated and most of all very romantic.
The staff is certainly one of the most friendly we have ever experienced. They are very kind, helpful and systematically trying to anticipate clients' needs. Some of them, although full of good will, seem under-trained and could do with some coaching and supervision.
The jungle SPA is absolutely fantastic; offering good quality treatment in the heart of the rainforest. The two restaurants serve good food, which does not however qualify for 5 star standards.
Areas for improvement are clearly identified and working hard at them should allow this resort to reach its full potential.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank zoe_2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

Many thanks to the wonderful staff of Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa for making my honeymoon an unforgettable experience. Few of them deserves special mentioning;

Chris, for being helpful and most resourceful
Fauzi, friendly and attentive to our needs

My wife and I really enjoyed our stay in the tree top villa and I would highly recommend the tree top villa for those who are looking for a quiet and romantic atmosphere by the sea.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank FitriEzwan
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 reviewResponded April 19, 2013

Thank you for visiting us, we are thrilled you enjoyed your honeymoon in Bunga Raya.
I shall let Chris and Fauzi know you enjoyed their services.
We hope to see you back in paradise in the near future again.

Best wishes

Tomas

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Reviewed March 23, 2013

If you are looking for a luxury Asian beach holiday in an amazing resort experiencing everything Asian service has to offer, go somewhere else. It is like the owner ran out of money during construction, never had enough to complete the construction and gave up before thinking about the management and service quality.

In summary: Dirty rooms; Fawlty towers service; poor (not terrible) food; 7* Maldives Prices; Unhelpful response to complaints; Senior staff on holiday during Christmas and New Year; Thoroughly inappropriate for a young family.

Room Tip: Book at a different hotel!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank GlobalGulliver
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 reviewResponded March 24, 2013

I am truly sorry you did not enjoy your stay with us back in in April 2012. However you will be pleased to know that a lot of work on both hardware and software has been put in place since then. We are fully committed to service excellence and will always invite guest to comment constructively, ideally during their stay, so any lingering issues can be rectified immediately.

Thank you

Tomas

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Reviewed March 11, 2013

the staff are exceptionally friendly and obliging. The food is great but not 5 star although this is being worked on. The villas are lovely but i would strongly recommend paying up for one with a plunge pool on the beach as most are in the very dense tree canopy with little or no sunlight. The infinity pool is lovely though with plenty of loungers. There is obviously a rubbish problem in the sea but the beach is constantly cleaned to try to keep on top of it. If you are sensitive to noise i would strongly recommend earplugs as the jungle noise is amazing! if you have a villa high on the hill the buggy service is very efficient. we stayed 5 nights to overcome the jet lag for which it is great but you may want to be aware that walking is limitd as it is the jungle unless you take a guide to do a jungle walk.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank victoriabristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

I booked the villa resort with my wife. it was for our anniversary.
we want to make the occasion special and at a location secluded from typical crowded resort.
BungaRaya gave us that. What make the resort special is the treatment we got from everyone. From reception at Jesselton Point, to arrival, during our stay, and departure. I even managed to surprised my wife with a special arrangement, assisted by resort staff.
some items to improve though- the food (to make it more variety, and more presentable), the beach (to conduct more regular cleanup), TV (to make the reception upto normal acceptable view), and more snacks in the room. I like the coffee machine very much.
to the management , i want to give credit to the following staff for their hospitality during our stay - Ica, Enny, AKIbrahim, Matt, Brian, Mary (the guitarist) . and many more that I cannot recalled.
keep up with a good work and keep improving.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank MrHanns
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, 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: $296 - $576 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Resort And Spa
Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Malaysia/Pulau Gaya

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