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“9.8/10 great place!”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Italy
Level Contributor
170 reviews
156 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“9.8/10 great place!”
Reviewed January 12, 2013

I just came back with a bunch of Italian colleagues from this resort that is located right on the beach but on the edge of the jungle.
For this reason everybody must accept that we are a bit in the wild and mosquitos, animals are quite common to be find. Even the sound of the jungle especially at night is quite astonishing.
As somebody else has already written the resort is brand new.
For sure if you are looking for excitement this is not the place for you. Is more a place for a romantic and relaxing vacation.

Many pros and very few cons.

Let's start with the few cons: there is not a net right after the door at the entrance of the room this basically forces you to keep closed the door at night otherwise you will have flies and mosquitos coming in.
Other negative thing is that the AC does not have the DRY function. This force you to sleep with the AC on at night, whereas with the dry function simply you can remove the humidity from the room. In room phones even if they are cordless they work only on next the base. Maybe they should change them. Last thing probably a chemical pest treatment especially against the ants must be done frequently specially in the room premises.

For the rest what can I say, the place is magical. Right beside the beach that at first sight does not seem nothing exeptional but you will soon realize that the coral reef is only 40/50 meters from there! Water is quite warm. Service is highly trained, very gentle ready to help you with everything you need. Food excellent, they even organized for the last night a barbecue on the baech. The Spa is amazing and even the massages are not very expensive.
Rooms are huge with a a bathtub resembling a small pool, a huge shower and 2 sinks, plenty of amenities in the bathroom and bathrobe available for you. For the clothes there is a big cloakroom.
We went twice snorkeling which was free of charge. Also did the jungle excursion. Both are worth to do.

In my opinion definitely a place where to go.

Room Tip: Make sure you get rooms starting from 8XX they are on a better position. Our room was 820 and was ex...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank dottorsocrates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Borneo!

I note overall you had a relaxing break and enjoyed the services and facilities offered. I would like thank you very much on your valuable comments shared in your review with us on our areas for further improvements. On the ants found in your room, we have check your room and it is now treated and back in our selling inventory.

I hope to welcome you back with us in time to come and till we meet again, me and team would like to wish you all the best!

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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English first
Level Contributor
58 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2013

The service here is without parallel, the staff are courteous, considerate and always smiling. The beach is beautiful, the sea sparkling clear (though pretty shallow) and the size of the tub in our room was immense.

The bedrooms are not huge, but the bed is v comfy and we thoroughly enjoyed the size of the bathroom (which does take up almost half of the villa).

And the view of mt Kinabalu is worth waking up at dawn to see (the sky is clearest then). Some of the villas are a lithe overlooked.

The transfer and welcome were smooth (other than the wait we had at the airport due to terminal confusion). I would recommend you confirm which terminal you are arriving at. However they made up for the delay with a private boat transfer.

We were spending 4 nights here as part of our honeymoon, and completely unexpectedly we discovered our room to be rose petal strewn, a bath had been drawn and a bottle of cold bubbly was on ice. The coordination between staff is excellent.

There is snorkelling and a jungle walk which are complimentary and v interesting and beautiful.

We had an all inclusive deal (which was superb) - the food was utterly yummy (with the exception of the noodle dishes on the lunch menu). The fine dining at fisher mans cove was wonderful - although a little more light would make the experience better - I would loved to have seen more of the beautiful presentation.

It is an idyllic and extremely friendly paradise and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Sallyswpea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

New Year greetings!

Many thanks on your review and we all here at Gaya Island Resort are glad that you had a memorable time with us and enjoyed the services and facilities.

We note on your terminal confusion at the airport upon your arrival. Allow us to explain on the terminals, there are two terminals here, called Terminal 1 & Terminal 2. Upon booking your ticket, please check on the terminal you will be landing and quote your terminal to our reservation agents and/or if you are arranging transfers on your own, this is a very helpful information to avoid confusions on where you will be waiting for your pick-up.

Hope the above is clear and if you need further assistance please do give us a call at your earliest convenience.

Till we meet again, we wish you and family all the best!

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hong kong
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Escape to natural beauty and away from it all to this hidden gem
I stayed 7 nights at beautiful Gaya Island Resort near Kota Kinabalu and found it to be one of the nicest places for relaxing and absolutely tranquil ambience I have stayed at. A great combination of a low impact resort,with the villa scattered amongst beautiful virgin rainforest , white sand, blue water beaches for snorkelling and high quality amenities. The infinity pool overlooking the beach has an amazing views, private beach and seaside hammocks for lounge on the beach under amazing tall trees. Restaurants and the food are great and the Fisherman Cove offers a unique menu with a fabulous setting under the stars.
There is a large list of activities from morning yoga class, guided snorkelling to Jungle Trail with Justin, the naturalist or cooking class with the chef. The Spa is amazing set in the jungle with a staff that is so friendly, helpful and give great massages, body scrubs, private or group meditation and yoga classes. The staff, dedicated “smiling” employees to give you an unbeatable service and make your holiday exemplary, are extremely friendly and fabulous and management is committed to making this one of the best eco-friendly resorts in Asia.
I would highly recommend anyone to go there!!! And I will be back with friends.

Room Tip: I was in room 804 at the far end so away from everything and a great view to the ocean and mount kin...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank adrienne l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

We are so very glad that you had a memorable time with us.

You enjoyed your villa with it's touch to suit the nature and the contemporary and relaxing hammocks at our beach, which are indeed more famous then the lounges with our guests and the Spa facilities and experienced were above norm. May I suggest upon your return you pamper your self to our signature massage, Rolling Wave. It's a beautiful experience set of put-together treatments and it's our best selling experience.

I have shared your comments with the team and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and family Happy 2013 and all the best!

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Having been a guest at YTL hotels / resorts, expectations were high coming to the new Gaya Island Resort and unfortunately we found the service 'Hit and Miss' at the resort. A handful of the staff were more experienced and were absolutely fantastic with their service, however we found majority of the staff were inexperienced. It's hard not to draw comparisons with the other resorts like Pangkor Laut where we found the level of service from staff more consistent.

Resort is still new and hence many of the staff are still inexperienced. We found we had to resort to speaking to the more experienced staff to request for things as many of the younger staff were less confident and seemed unsure of how to manage requests (although well intentioned).

Overall, it's a nice place to visit for families or anyone looking for a quiet getaway. Definitely disappointed by our experience as we expected more from a YTL resort.

Room Tip: Some rooms / villas can be a bit far from the Feast Village / restaurants / pools. If walking is an...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank wanderlust93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

New Year greetings from Borneo!

Firstly, I would like to apologize on the areas that performed poorly as shared by your self in your review. Your comments are indeed vital guide for us to look into our areas for further improvements and assuring your good self nothing less but an improved services upon your return on the areas.

I also would like to take this opportunity to wish you and family Happy 2013 and all the best in your business and personal undertakings.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Selangor
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2013

In spite of having read the previous reviews about teething problems, etc at GIR, our first impression was still a bit disappointing. Subconsciously it was hard not to draw comparisons with big sister Pangkor Laut. The "rawness" of GIR (undergrown trees, concrete droppings on tiled walkways, lack of that tropical paradise lushness, etc.) lets you down a little at first, but as you settle in, you discover that its shortcomings are way way more than compensated for by their superb service & excellent food, and that spectacular sunrise view of Mt Kinabalu.

You're treated like royalty right from the check-in at the marina lounge, and there's not a single employee who falls short of YTL customer service standards - kudos to their GM & training team! Only a section of the rooms were open during our stay & construction works were audible during the day but never intruded into our stay.

Room was comfy, spacious & well thought out, though a little more raw & somehow felt less opulent than PL's. Pay attention during the room intro & you should be shown where those tricky light switches are located.

Diningwise, despite few restaurants, food was top-notch - generous helpings & premium ingredients. The breakfast spread may first appear a bit modest, but we enjoyed everything we stacked on our plates. Pastry/dessert Chef Yusra's dessert creations at Feast Village are also superb! At lunch, it's great to kick back with beer in hand at the pool bar's daybeds while enjoying the view of Mt K.

If you're checking in during weekends or busier periods, book your nature walk & snorkeling slots early (upon arrival) to secure your spots with Justin & Scott who respectively make the nature walk & snorkeling experiences really rich, don't miss! Bring along mozzie repellant for the nature walk & keep your fingers crossed for a sight of the bearded pigs, we noticed tracks along the beach early one morning!

We celebrated my husband's birthday during the trip & appreciated the Feast Village team putting together a cake & song for us presented very sincerely, plus a simple birthday experience after dinner :)

One other minor area for improvement: the service entrance for the kitchen staff is unconcealed & located on the same path leading to the villas. While staff were always friendly & well behaved, I felt that some of the magic was diminished by the sight of bags of dirty linens & shifting of furniture along this entrance.

Will definitely return to GIR in the future once it's had more time to reach its full natural potential to bloom further into paradise!

Room Tip: The Gaya Villas do not have a view of the sea or Mt K, obstructed by trees. But villa daybeds at upp...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lollypork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear Guest,

Many thanks on your stay and review and we are happy to understand that you had a memorable stay with us. I have shared your comments with the team and congratulate them on their job-well-done.

Before I end, I would like to wish you, family and friends Happy 2013 and all the best!

Regards,
Kirinjit Singh
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
92 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2012

Much has been said of the very good service at Gaya Island resort, so I won't waste too many words on that except to say, it's hard to top this kind of service that treats you like a member of royalty. On top of that, the staff were also very child friendly. My three-year-old son had resisted donning a life vest for the speed boat ride to the resort but one of the staff at the waiting lounge at the Marina actually talked him into doing so. Also, a waiter at the Feast Village made my son feel important, laying out cutlery before him and handing him a menu, just like he was an adult.

Our room was great, can't really complain about it, except for the crazy light switches, which I never figured out. The bathroom and even the bathtub was insanely big, but how luxurious is that! Lovely rain shower in the shower cubicle too.

We went on a nature walk with the resident naturalist, Justin, who was extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in Borneo, and learnt a lot of things during the walk. Did you know that termites operate a caste system within their nest? Or that you could tell directions by looking at tree roots? Quite mind-boggling, this. Justin was also very friendly and stopped to talk every time we ran into him around the resort.

The water around the resort was very clear and we could see plenty of fish just standing at the jetty - you don't even need to get wet. But I was told that if you went snorkelling around the house reef (we didn't), you could see even more, which sounds fantastic. At night, light beams are shone into the water at the jetty and they attract the bigger fish, such as the giant trevally, and sometimes, even schools of squid. On the night we ventured to the jetty, we saw many giant trevally flipping around madly in the water and sometimes even leaping out into the air. It was exciting.

The Spa Village took the meaning of heavenly to another level. My treatment room faced the forest and while I had a foot scrub on the verandah of the treatment room, I could hear waves lapping at the seashore just beyond while gazing out at the greenery. The massage itself was good and the therapist was very skilled. The treatment room had glass walls and you could choose to draw the curtains for privacy or leave them open so you could look out to the forest. Unfortunately, I made an appointment late in the day and it was already dark, so I couldn't see anything. But i'm sure the outside would have looked great in the day.

While I was at the spa, my husband entertained our kid at the playroom, which was well stocked with toys of all sorts. My son loved the playroom and went at least three rounds playing with every toy there. There was another room stocked with playthings for older children such as wii, but that was chargeable.

The place was also extremely well-maintained. We saw groups of workers spending all afternoon raking the beach and cleaning up seaweed that had floated towards shore. While it was true that there was still some minor construction work going on, it seemed to mostly consist of workmen plastering the walls of the road leading to our villa. That didn't bother us.

Food at Feast Village was decent and portions, generous. Ingredients used were premium. The menu had both Western and Asian fare, but I felt the Asian fare was done better. Breakfast was either an ala carte buffet or a self-service buffet spread, depending on the number of guests staying in the resort that particular day but both were good.

Prices on the menu were not low, but I figured this being an island, everything had to be imported, which contributes to the cost.

In all, it was a very nice vacation although I wish the pool didn't close that early (7pm). An after-dinner dip would have been very nice, especially in the tropical heat. And I also hope smoking can be banned at the poolside (or throughout the common areas of the resort).

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KY T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear Guest,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and family from all of us here at Gaya Island Resort!

Me and team would like to convey our highest appreciation on your support as well as on sharing your experience with us here. Me and team is glad to read that you had a memorable time with us and will return to Gaya Island Resort in time to come.

Again, many thanks on your review and all the best from all of us!

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sipoo, Finland
Level Contributor
35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2012

The hotel is max. one year old, part of the villas are getting opened in the very near future. The location is spectacular: It is located on Gaya Island, just across the city of Kota Kinabalu with Kinabalu mountain directly behind it. Especially in early morning the view is phantastic, when you can see the mountain reaching out of the clouds. The villas are built in units of four apartments (2 above, 2 below), and they are well equipped and spacious. Beware, however, of the villas with numbers 813/814/815 and 816, as this unit is build quite close to the kitchen, and the noise vom the ventilators and the smells are not to everybody's taste. Otherwise, this place is well run and up to standards. As time goes by, additional villas are opened which will be a stroll away from the central area (where check-in, pool bar, library and the main restaurants are located), but that is almost more an advantage is it becomes very secluded. We were visiting the place just at the begin of the rainy season, and so it rained at least once a day, but in between there were many sunny spots, which allowed snorkeling on the main beach, which is maintained and cleaned every day when we were there. Great place!

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms 813, 814, 815 and 816, as they are located too close to the kitchen. Similar rooms o...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Miehinkisaari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirinjit, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
Dear Guest,

Many thanks on your review and your support. We are all very glad to read on your wonderful stay with us and we hope to see you back with us in time to come.

Till we meet again, we would like to wish you, family and friends Merry Christmas and Happy 2013 ahead!

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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 walking 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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