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“Stunning resort with amazing staff”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Stunning resort with amazing staff”
Reviewed September 11, 2012

We stayed at Gaya Island as part of our honeymoon trip in early September and I can honestly say that it did not feel like the resort was not finished or that shops were not open!

The villas are absolutely beautiful, the pool perfect for cooling off in (and not at all crowded) and a fantastic reef for snorkelling.

The restaurant has some of the best food around, cooked fresh by the chefs in the open restaurant and good value for money (approx. 120 MYR for 3 course meal and a beer). The pastry chef, Yusra, makes the most exceptional desserts! When we left she came running onto the speedboat with a box of freshly baked macaroons for us to take away. Such a personal touch!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kkanga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you very much for your review of Gaya Island Resort, we are all glad that you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to our resort soon,

Kind regards,

James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We stayed at the Gaya Island for four nights at the end of August. We had read the reviews on trip advisor and were a little concerned but were reassured by our travel agent that the resort was ready for paying guests.

To be honest we are so glad we ignored the reviews and went with our gut instinct. We can understand why some people have raised a few issues but our view is that these are inevitable with new resorts and if you can get over the fact that yes the vegetation needs to grow to cover the new structures and that occasionally (and we stress occassionally here) that things might not be up to 5 star standard, they are remedied absolutely immediately. For example our room wasn't ready when we first arrived but straight away we were taken to the bar for a complementary lunch and drinks which was delicious. The staff are fantastic, so helpful and extremely attentive.

The room was impeccable. We had a fantastic view over the small bay and felt like we were nestled in to the rain forest. We had just spent a week in the jungle so all we really wanted to do was relax and enjoy ourselves which was what we did. We enjoyed the snorkelling with paul and Scott (names we think?!) and the cookery course. We enjoyed the food in the bar, feast village and fishermans cove and although yes maybe expensive but this is a five star resort!

We'd particularly like to thank Karoline who made our stay extra special and also Joy who worked in the feast village/ fishermans cove.

Only recommendations would be that the road up to the villas could be made aesthetically pleasing either by painting it or putting down paving. Also we felt it would have been useful to have more of an information pack in our room, about the resort etc and individual facilities, prices, timings etc.

All in all a wonderful end to a great holiday!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank OnTheGo3711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you very much for your review of Gaya Island Resort, we are all glad that you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to our resort soon,

Kind regards,

James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We have just arrived back from our trip and spent 4 nights at the Gaya Island Resort from 26-30 Aug. As a honeymoon couple, we had read the reviews and were anxious that the resort would not be ready, on arrival we were relieved that this was not the case the resort was beautiful.

We received a warm welcome and was shown to our room immediately. The room we stayed in was spacious and was decorated very nicely, however there is still some evidence that work had been carried out recently, e.g dusty corners and masking tape, however, the rooms are very comfortable. The grounds surrounding the villas is still a little raw, and lots of planting was happening during our stay, I'm sure once the plants have matured it will look lovely.

The food and the staff were brilliant, the main feast village serves buffet style starters and desserts and you choose a made to order main course. We felt that the food was exceptional and was presented beautifully (particularly the dessert counter!), compared to some of the other resorts where quantity is more important than quality. The staff were very attentive, they were always very helpful and nothing was too much. We also had a picnic hamper and had this served on the beach. A small canopy was set up, with blankets and pillows and we had a lovely relaxing afternoon.

During our stay the Spa villiage was open and we had a Malay massage. There were still workmen milling around the spa but the therapy rooms and lobby are ready and are as lovely as the rest of the hotel.

We went scuba diving, the dive centre at the resort were really helpful with explaining everything and were really enthusiastic, we couldn't wait to go after speaking to them. We are not PADI trained so went for the one day try dive. We went out to Sapi Island which is about a 20 minute boat ride away. I was quite nervous but the dive instructors Richard and James were really good and explained everything clearly and were reassuring.

One thing that was not so pleasant was the routine mosquito 'fogging', where insect repellent is sprayed around the resort. I understand that this is necessary to manage the insects, but we were unfortunate to be inside the villa at the time that this happened. The fog came in through the air-con vents and it felt like we were being smoked out of the villa, the smoke alarm went off and we had to open the doors and vacate the room for about 45 minutes for it to clear. The smell was unpleasant in a confined space. We did mention this to staff and they apologised sincerely for this. I don't know whether we were a bit unlucky that the fogger's came right past our villa as it may not have been like that in other villas, but i would advise not to be in your room when this happens.

Overall we had a lovely stay and would like to come back in a few years time, maybe for an anniversary and i am sure that the resort will be perfect.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank OxfordKatieC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you for your feedback on your stay at Gaya Island. I can see from your review that your stay was far from your expectations and apologize for the various shortcomings and inconveniences which you experienced.

These are far from common occurrences and certainly not representative of our usual high standard of service, facilities and upkeep of the property.

Rest assured I have been through your feedback with our team and analyzed where opportunities for improvement lie, how we best achieve that task and will be acting swiftly to see it through

I understand your disappointment but sincerely hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you for a return stay in the future to rebuild your confidence in our brand and resort.

Warm regards,
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome
Level Contributor
33 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2012 via mobile

Very nice structure, rooms comfortable and with a great visual on jungle or on the sea. Very good cantin and restaurant. Swimming pool big with a bar in the flank of it. Personnel warm and professional. Maybe a bit expensive the lunch-dinner prices considering also the basis price for the room. In 2012 the structure was still not completed, but yet very comfortable. I am sure then in few months will be a 5 star in every points of this classification.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Augustus82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you very much for your review of Gaya Island Resort, we are all glad that you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to our resort soon,

Kind regards,

James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Andrews, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

My family and I spent 4 nights (21st -25th August, 2012 ) in this stunning resort. In case you are wondering where this place is since it has just been newly opened (1st of August 2012), it is on an island located just off Kota Kinabalu (KK) , Sabah, East Malaysia .

Once we arrived in KK, my family and I took a taxi from the airport to the serene Sanctuary Harbour where a boat took us across to the resort. I enjoyed my view from the second level of the luxurious white yacht. All five of us were just amazed at the scene before our eyes – the turquoise blue sea, the calm clear sky and the many little islands we saw on our way besides enjoying the cool breeze . The holiday pretty much started from when we arrived in KK since the town itself is beautiful and abounds with lush greenery unlike the concrete jungle of any city. I will now describe some of the activities, the cuisine on the resort, our room as well as the facilities provided in the resort.

Once on the resort, my family and I went for the private snorkelling session as we preferred to be given extra attention while swimming in the open sea. It was scary at first as it was our first time, but that perception changed once we started seeing sea creatures such as the clown fishes, sea urchins, groupers and a variety of sea corals. It was an amazing experience as we were able to see live what we used to watch on the National Geographic channel.

Besides, we also loved taking a dip in the pool which is so uniquely positioned that it overlooks the blue sea. So, we could have the seaview while swimming. We also managed to take a full body spa the day before we left. It was a wonderful experience as the spa is set in a tranquil place giving customers a peaceful feeling.

The meals were really interesting , from the presentation to the taste. I’d recommend the seafood as it is fresh and yummy as well. They serve a variety of sea foods such as lobsters, prawns, scallops, river fish and a variety of clams. What surprised me most was when the chefs suddenly appeared to warmly greet the customers with cheer and smiles , every now and then, just to make sure we are happy with their cooking. The waiters/ waitresses were also exceptionally friendly as they greeted us and helped us in any way they could to make us enjoy the food better.

Our rooms were meticulously clean complete with state-of-the-art TV set, double beds and a spacious bathroom. We were really happy with the condition of the room since it was maintained well. Lastly, I’d like to point out the other facilities provided in the resort. There’s a library complete with two computers with free internet access, a gym room, a souvenir store and a state-of-the-art spa, to name a few. All in all, we had a great experience there and I’d suggest those who would love to take a break from a busy life to make a quick dash to this wonderful resort.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Nageswary N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you very much for your review of Gaya Island Resort, we are all glad that you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to our resort soon,

Kind regards,

James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

If you read the other reviews you will get the flavour. The resort has been rushed to be ready and is not up to the usual luxury standard. However the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful so I am sure it will get there. I have to say we were very surprised that the manager was pretty invisible to us. There is a lot he/she needs to attend to.
So Starting on the positive.

Great staff
Great location
Good villas, if you go up higher
Great snorkelling

What needs fixing

Sort the booking system out. We booked as a family and our villas were not interconnecting though geo did sort out two next to each other.
In many places the finishing is v sub standard (mastic on the floors, hand prints on walls cupboards don't fit) I assume there will be a re close to fix these
The food is very good but the main dining area feels like a works cantine
The sun umbrellas are about the size of a golf umbrella
The telephone system is too "clever". The network is often down and is very hard to hear and to make yourself understood
The central water feature needs a real re think.
As I said as far as we are aware we didn't see or talk to the manager (we were there 5 nights). He/she could learn a lot from just seeing what was and was not working and talking to the guests (always the sign of the best hotels)

In conclusion unless you get a great deal now is not the time to go. We have been lucky to stay in some great Asian hotels and this is not yet up to the expected standard. However the staff are great and the fundamentals are there.

Room Tip: If you are fit ask for high up rooms
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Lesterfam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you for your feedback on your stay at Gaya Island. I can see from your review that your stay was far from your expectations and apologize for the various shortcomings and inconveniences which you experienced.

These are far from common occurrences and certainly not representative of our usual high standard of service, facilities and upkeep of the property.

Rest assured I have been through your feedback with our team and analyzed where opportunities for improvement lie, how we best achieve that task and will be acting swiftly to see it through

I understand your disappointment but sincerely hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you for a return stay in the future to rebuild your confidence in our brand and resort.

Warm regards,
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lelystad
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 23, 2012

Because we arrived the 1th of August, the day the Resort opened their doors, we were very curious about everything. After a great boottrip with an awesome yacht, we were welcomed by several extreme kind ladies, who offered us a refreshment which tasted very good.

It was disappointing that there were several things not ready yet, especially while we asked our bookingagent in The Netherlands, weeks before we went there, if everything would be ready and he confirmed that.

Because I was very disappointed the Spa wasn't ready, I called my bookingagent. He contacted the Resort and they came up with a great offer, so I could still have my "Spa experience", and even more...
They solved it very well, however I would have appreciate it if I knew this before.

The staff was very compassionate and kind for me and their service and kindness was really great, Especially thanks to Silvia, Viviene,Joy,Jeoffrey, Miriam. They really know how to make a guest feel welcome and at home.

Yes, the Resort had some issues in the beginning, but, hey, when you're starting up something new, there will always be some "beginners problems"!
The location is beautiful, the sea with the "homereef" is inviting, the food is good (friendly cooks and the open kitchen is very inviting), the desserts are even better (thanks to the patissier, never tasted a chocolate cake as good as hers) and the activities are promissing.

If the Resort is totally finished and they can really achive everything they promiss in their activitiesprogramme, I would gladly returm there someday to experience "the whole package".

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KH2102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2016
Thank you very much for your review of Gaya Island Resort, we are all glad that you enjoyed your stay with us, and I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to our resort soon,

Kind regards,

James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gaya Island Resort

Property: Gaya Island Resort
Address: Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park | Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Pulau Gaya 88000, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Gaya Island Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 121
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gaya Island Resort is located on Pulau Gaya, the largest of a cluster of five islands that form the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a natural conservation area off the coast of Borneo, close to Kota Kinabalu. Gaya Island Resort has a unique setting: the land is fringed with a golden sandy beach, rocky coastal outcrops, and surrounded by coral reefs. The hilly island landscape is covered with lush tropical rainforest and an abundance of flora and fauna. And to complete this perfect setting, visible in the distance, is the stunning outline of Mount Kinabalu. The guest villa exterior respects Sabahan architecture uses local materials and blends harmoniously with the natural environment. The interior living space is designed with contemporary elegance to create warmth, comfort and a serene indoor setting. Gaya Island Resort is committed to ecologically sustainable practices to minimise the carbon footprint within its environment. Therefore the resort is a waling resort and only minimal motorised vehicles are used for operational purposes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gaya Island Resort Malaysia/Pulau Gaya

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