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“Paradise Island”

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 29, 2010

I am going to struggle to keep this review to a minimum because i could talk about Bunga Raya for forever and a day! To say we had a perfect stay is the understatement of the year. When we arrived in KK last september, we stood on the harbour and joked that the fancy speedboat emblazened with 'Bunga Raya' was waiting for us. Never in a million did we think it really was! This should've been our first guess that we were in for a real treat. After being checked in at the harbour, we were escorted by the manager to the speed boat and sped across the most beautiful seascape imaginable. When we arrived on the Jetty of the hotel we were met by all the staff complete with iced tea and cold towels. As it turns out we were only the second guests ever to have stayed on the island and we were also the only guests on the island for our entire week. (A stay which could not be planned or ever recreated i think!) As a result of this, and because we were celebrating our wedding anniversary we were upgraded from the mountain villa which we had booked, to a beach front villa.
The villa was stunning. We were completely speechless. All the villa's have their own mini garden, a bridge over a small stream which leads to the beach and a private plunge pool! Incidently no-one would be disappointed with a mountain villa either, we were given guided tour of them all and the views from high up are incredible. [The only downfall with those is that they are amoungst the Reinforest and there are a lot of mosquitos up there and apparently a few pesky marquaques].
Over our week we were utterly spoilt. Starting each day with a picnic hamper left on the veranda with ice cold fruit juice and muffins in (to keep you going until breakfast which was delivered within minutes of showing our faces each morning!!). Lunch - if you could find an appetite was taken at the bar on the beach. We enjoyed many chicken satay skewers there! Our evening meals were taken anywhere we fancied, they surprised us with a different location every single night without fail. But without question, the best we had was a seven course beach barbeque for our anniversary. A table was set on the sand and decorations had been made from shells. We nearly exploded with all the incredible food, which included a freshly caught red snapper and a fruit cake big enough for 50 people!! Also that day they took us around to the Gayana resort to show us around the eco centre and there they let us plant some coral and feed sharks and turtles! The fish restaurant there is fantastic and well worth a trip.
When we left all the staff came to wave us off and it truly felt like we were saying goodbye to friends. They even blared out Brian Adams as we sped off into the distance! The manager, whose day off it was, even came to say goodbye at the harbour!!
We cannot reccommend this place enough, I've barely scratched the surface of all the lovely things they did for us that week. It's more than a hotel, it's a very special experience and worth every single one of those 14hours on the plane, plus taxi's and speed boats!! Everyone needs some Bunga Raya in their life.

Above and beyond the call of any hotel -we also like true dopes left our camera, with over a thousand holiday pics on, in a taxi! Bunga Raya staff, somehow managed to locate the taxi driver, retrieve our camera and post it to us in England, long after we left. Needless to say we are eternally grateful to them for not only our stay there, but for our memories on photo too.

Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Hayroe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 26, 2010

We have spent the last 3 days of our honeymoon here, and it is just great. Only 8 of the more than 40 bungalows were occupied and we felt like being in a private resort; the last evening we could even create our own menu, together with the cook, for our last dinner...
We had the beach villa, with our own plunge pool. The villa looks great, the private plunge pool is a relief in this warm weather. The staff were more than friendly, and very helpful. So, just great!
Koen and Klaske from Holland.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank kvli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2010

I imagine Bunga Raya's pristine private beach on the isolated backside of Gaya Island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu is what Thailand was like before it became over commericalized and overrun with tourists. It is a truly special gem that no one seems to really know about yet - as it is apparently only 1 year old. Part of me doesnt want to give it up to the public, but I feel almost guilty trying to keep it still so exclusive (for the next time I go :) ) I travel extensively from the US to Asia for work and usually try to tag on a few vacation days while I am out there to go somewhere new. One of my HK counterparts mentioned the Kota area to me for some R&R and after doing extensive research on Bali vs Kota vs Langkawi - ended up on Kota as its a quick direct 3 hr flight from HKG (as well as KL/Sing/KOR) and is a lot cheaper than Bali. I found Bunga Raya via Zuji and Tripadvisor, and was pleased with all the reviews. I liked the fact it was intimate and boutique as opposed to some massive business hotel/resort like the Shangri-la properties (plus I heard from a couple that changed to Bunga that the Shangri-La Rasa Ria beach has jellyfish) It is on the backside of Gaya Island right off the coast of Kota on a private jungle-surrounded tourqouise glass water beach - and looks out on to the South China Sea and nothing else - no other civilization anywhere in sight even though its just actually 30 min away. GORGEOUS. I fell in love with it from the moment we pulled up in the ferry (I swear easier and more convenient than you think) and walked across the jetty into the open air reception. There are teak handcrafted bungalows that dot the hills - all surrounded by lush landscaping of palms and bunga (hibiscus flowers) it is truly a sight! The staff was all wonderful and warm and accomodated my every need - including sometimes some picky eating habits. The food was delicious - the greens and fruits all fresh, the fish was to die for. I ended up eating at Koi the little open air restaurant there every day I was there (except for the wonderful lunch they served to me towel side on the beach). I took advantage of the off shore snorkeling, and yoga and found their instructor to be fantastic - she did a fusion of bikram and pilates for me that just killed! In a good way of course! Just make sure for those sort of free activities you let them know you are interested the day before so they can make sure the instructor is on the island. The Spa is amazing as well - set in the jungle-trees in literal tree-houses across a foot bridge. So cute! My room was amazing, I chose the "value" superior room - and they gave me the best one which overlooked the lower level beachside huts and the beach, as well as being surrounded by jungle trees that come alive with cicadas and monkeys at night. The pool is also lovely, a large infinity pool overlooking the beach. But why use the pool when you have the warm clear calm waters of the ocean and can swim with angel fish? They actually swam around me while I was wading. You can also use the facilities over at Gayana if you choose - they have a dive center and a great open air seafood restaurant. Also there is frequent ferry service between the 2 resorts and Kota if you ever feel landlocked. The only thing I can't figure out is why I was one of 5 total guests in the entire resort during my stay! It was fantastically empty and I felt like it was literally my own private getaway island. I couldnt believe my luck - nor could the other lovely couples I met (from HK, Australia, UK) who also couldnt believe their luck. One of the couples was trying to extend their stay, and I met another couple who was looking to switch into Bunga from another resort. I honestly think that people just don't know about this place yet or maybe don't know that it is actually really easy to get to, that it is truly an undiscovered paradise. If you are looking for somewhere exclusive, unique, exotic, beautiful, friendly, where you can just unwind and do nothing but enjoy your surroundings, Bunga Raya is a truly special place for you. I actually think this is one of the few places I might return to - and have already gotten some of my co-workers who do the same trips excited to come to Bunga their next time out! Please please please discover this magical place for yourself!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank hapakdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2010

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank MrZippo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2010

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Maddymenzies11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2010

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank KohSamui07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2010

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank mt_bar84
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: $227 - $513 (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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