We booked Gaya Island Resort for 5 nights of our Honeymoon. We were fetched from the airport in a luxurious mercedes and greeted so warmly at the port before departing for the resort. The boat ride was very short, a surprise as we thought Gaya would be a bit further from Borneo Island. However we arrived and had a fantastic welcome from the staff, before being shown to our Villa. The room is a decent size, the bathroom is large with a big tub and his and hers basins and the bed was really comfortable. On our first night, we arrived back to our room to find the bed covered in roses, towels created into hearts, a bubble bath of roses just run and champagne on ice. We were thrilled! The rooms are a fair walk up the hill, but nothing any individual should struggle with. The views from our room were beautiful, on a clear day Mount Kinabalu could be seen and we also overlooked the ocean. I agree with other reviewers that the view is a bit disappointing, there are often big ships moored not far in the distance and you even have a view of part of Kota Kinabalu city, which is a bit of an eye sore. But with this said, so much about this resort makes up for the view, so we very quickly forgot about this minor shortfall...
We opted for the full meal board option and think that this was excellent value for our money. You have the option of eating at either The Feast Village, where buffet is served, or at Fisherman's Cove - an upmarket restaurant where you have access to 3 course meals. There is no limit to how many times you can eat here. Breakfast was fantastic, served at the Feast Village, there was freshly squeezed fruit juices on offer, an assortment of baked goodies of muffins, scones etc, lovely fruit, any type of eggs cooked at your request and an array of delicious breads. We had lunch every day by the pool, the menu was great, we didn't have one disappointing meal. We tried the Spider Maki Sushi, the Caesar Salad, the Burger, Gaya Sandwich, Japanese noodles - no complaints, all plated beautifully too. We had dinner at Fisherman's Cove on the first night and were so impressed by the food. Each course was presented like a 5 star restaurant, and every dish was fresh, flavoursome and divine. I had the best meal of my life on our 4th night, I chose the Catch of the Day - the lobster thermidor - and was blown away. I savoured every bite, honestly amazing! My husband, who is not a huge fan of fish, ended up ordering only fish at every meal here as he couldn't believe how delicious it all was. We did eat at the Feast Village one evening, but found it difficult to compare the food to what we had enjoyed on our first night and reverted back to the Fisherman's Cove, where no children were allowed and the views were phenomenal. Joy, the assistant restaurant manager was fantastic, she made sure our favourite table was reserved for each reservation and went out of her way to make our stay unforgettable. On our last night at the restaurant, our table was decorated with a huge bouquet of roses, candles and a personalised message. We were so impressed! On our 3rd night, we enjoyed a private beach barbecue, the table was set on the shoreline surrounded by lanterns. We ate about 4 main courses as the food just kept flowing, there was chicken, steak, lobster, prawns, mussels, and we were absolutely stuffed by the end of the night. It was just all so flavoursome, the chef was a star! I would definitely recommend booking the meal plan without a doubt, its so worth it.
The beach was lovely, and although other reviewers have mentioned a lot of litter on the shore, we never saw any. Early every morning there were about 4 people sweeping the beach for litter which must have cleared it all. However with that said, we hired stand up paddle boards and about 5m from the shore, we were going through lots of rubbish which was very disappointing, the result of an illegal floating village on the other side of Gaya Island apparently. Such a pity and quite off-putting. The pool made up for this though, it was crystal clear and the bar inside it provided many late afternoon cocktail sessions.
We both had a Malay Massage at the Spa, they were amazing...and a complimentary foot spa before was a treat! We also arranged a guided meditation session which was great and we found ourselves on the brink of a deep sleep :) The only disappointment I had was that there were no nail treatments on offer...it would have been so nice to have a mani!
Certainly worth mentioning is the service provided by ALL staff at Gaya Island Resort. It is outstanding. Everyone greets you where ever you are, nothing is too difficult to arrange, each person is always smiling...so refreshing! Bowie, the guest liaison manager was brilliant. She helped us to arrange a trip to the Nature Reserve at Shangri La Rasa Ria on our last day in Kota Kinabalu to visit the orang-utans. She checked us in to our flights the day before we left the resort and even gave us a little gift when we departed, as a treat for our Honeymoon. Such a special surprise.
We tried to arrange an Island Excursion, however to our disappointment, there was no availability on any of the 5 days we stayed there. We had a sunset cruise booked, but a sudden thundershower rained this out and the next one was only scheduled for after our departure. We did partake in a cooking course in the Fisherman's Cove restaurant, and it was lovely.
This might be a new hotel, and yes there is some exposed concrete etc, but I think that once the plants and vegetation have had a chance to grow and disguise this a bit - this won't be an issue. We spent most of our time by the pool and it was so lovely to kick back and relax. This is our first experience at a YTL hotel and is the beginning of many more holidays to come. We have been so impressed by the experience provided by Gaya Island Resort - we will be sure to recommend it to friends. Thanks for making our Honeymoon truly unforgettable!
- 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