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“final stop on our honeymoon”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Level 4 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“final stop on our honeymoon”
Reviewed March 20, 2014

I had to be harsh when reviewing Gaya Island resort as it was the final of 4 stops on our honeymoon tour of Borneo. We decided to go for ultimate luxury to finish our stay and booked 5 nights here. Had we not stopped at some of our previous hotels I may have scored it higher but I have to use them as a comparison.
This was one of the more expensive aspects of our stay and I don't feel it was the best way to spend our money.
The staff were faultless and of course paid us a little extra attention due to us being on honeymoon. I did, however, feel more attention was paid to certain other couples and families staying at the resort that clearly had a lot more cash available to them then ourselves, but I guess that's the nature of the business. We originally upgraded to the food package thinking we could save money this way but after a day we realised that unless we ate three course meals at all times of the day this just wasn't going to pay off so we cancelled it.
The food was very nice. We treated ourselves to a private meal on the beach which was beautiful and I would definitely recommend it for some extra romance. Families are restricted to the buffet area which is still amazing, with cuisine from all over the world.
We went to the private beach a couple of times during our stay and it's well worth a visit, particularly if you want someone a little quieter and enjoy a swim in the sea.
Our room was incredible! Very luxurious with a fantastic view. I loved the huge bath tub! The hotel grounds itself definitely needed more time to grow into itself. There was a lot of empty space between room that needed vegetation to grow around it to hide the foundations. The ponds were also a little low on water which made it look a little scruffy around the edges, but I'm sure this will be fine in time as it had only been open just less than a year when we went. We didn't do the nature walk, simple because we had spent two nights in the rainforest lodge in Danum valley and there was no way it was going to compare.
I was starting to feel a little cabin fever after 5 days as there isn't much to do except sit and sunbathe, which is lovely if that's what you want I guess.
Like I say, if we hadn't been to places such as Danum Valley and Kapali / Sipadan then this probably would have been rated much higher but for value for money it just doesn't compare experience wise. I had to be honest. (really I would have liked to give it 3 and a half as it was good, just not very good).

Room Tip: We had a corner room which gave us a fabulous view across the sea and resort.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bug_et_denny
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, April 12, 2014
Dear Bug_Et_Denny,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort- a walking resort!

Thank you for your stay and review. Thank you very much for your view and I am happy to read that your enjoyed the services and facilities as a whole.

I would like to share that we have now enhanced our activities calendar. Total 20 different activities/experiences are now available for our guests to choose from with averaging 5 to 6 different activities on offer daily.

Again, thank you very much on your review and I look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bunbury, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2014

We landed at the airport and caught a taxi to the Sutura harbour marina. There was a lovely welcome from the representatives in the office at the marina. We hopped on the boat for a 10 minute ride to the resort then lazed by the pool whilst they got the room ready, as we arrived early in the morning. The pool is wonderful for relaxation and long enough for good laps. The rooms were beautiful and spacious and overlooking a stream with ocean glimpses. There was ample shampoo, conditioner and body soap and lots of other bathroom items in the rooms. The dining is expensive compared to the mainland but it was good quality. The Fisherman's Cove fish restaurant served beautifully cooked fish and had a selection of breads and sorbet entree as part of the main meal. The ambience and view from this restaurant was very romantic. There was a lovely library with internet access and a well equipped gym. We tried the diving and was a bit disappointed with the March diving as there was red tide clouding the water and the dives were rather shallow. We were advised the diving is best from May to Aug and they often can get to better locations at that time of the year. I would not recommend this location for the disabled as the was stairs to get to all areas and a wooden walkway and stairs to get to all rooms. There is a private beach that a boat goes to every hour on the half which is a lovely beach to relax on. They only serve a fixed price three course lunch at the private beach which we thought odd as they would have had substantially more customers if they served light meals for lunch. We had a lovely time there and we felt so relaxed with the wonderful service, as the lovely Malay people always provide. We look forward to our next trip to KK and I'm sure Gaya will be on the itinerary.

Room Tip: Request close to restaurant area as some rooms are quite a long walk to get to.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tropicstraveller_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm Regards
James
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2014

We loved this place and our week long stay was absolutely fabulous. I was a bit nervous given some of the reviews but really, this is a fantastic hotel. It's smallish, didn't feel crowded and the landscaping is quite dramatic - some of the lodges literally are in the jungle, but it's lovely that they've kept the rainforest feel to the surroundings! We had the basic villa but it was great - amazing double bath, comfy huge bed, walk in wardrobe and brilliant views! The pool is perfect for swimming and has a nice bar, the food at the different restaurants is pricey but not ridiculous, and the complementary nature walks, yoga sessions & trips to the other beaches etc were brilliant - and so were the young but friendly staff. The island is outside KK so it's not in the middle of nowhere - but it's quiet and beatiful. Loved it & would happily recommend to my friends!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LauraonHoliday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm Regards
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2014

My partner and I stayed at the Gaya Island Resort for 3 and a half days. The rooms are large and modern with a very good layout. They have a massive bathtub and a walk in closet. All the rooms are the same size just different locations. We stayed in the Bayu Villa. I would ask for a villa close to reception because some of the rooms are really far away.

Staff are efficient and incredibly polite. They think of everything so you can just relax the whole time.

The spa village is definitely worth a visit. Staff again were lovely. Everyone remembers your name. The treatments are carried out in your room with private bathroom and balcony. They started by massaging our shoulders and feet on the balcony, all you can hear are the waves. Amazing experience.

Food options for a vegetarian are quite limited but they did make an effort to make other dishes that were not on the menu.

We took the residence package which worked out at a better value as it included meals. I felt the food was over priced in the restaurant.

They have a private beach that they can take you to every hour, it's just 5mins speedboat ride away. Beach is gorgeous, there is a restaurant there too.

Overall a lovely place that we will return to. We had a fabulous time. Great for couples, although there were a couple of families with babies there too.

You will have a great time! Enjoy!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LondonTravel_bug7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm Regards
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I spent a few days here during our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. The staff were unbelievably welcoming and really went the extra mile to make our stay special. We did some diving on the island which was organised by the resort. It was a small walk to our room but it was through lush jungle with monkeys, wild boar and hornbills at our door. Truly special. We loved the reading room, a great place to relax out of the sun or during the tropical rain. Almost didn't book because of some reviews on here bit so glad we did.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Jungleboysteve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm Regards
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Had a great time. Visited Gaya Island Resort on family holiday in July. The resort is so idyllic. Staff were also very warm and friendly.

Smallish pool which can get crowded, but private beach a short boat ride away more than compensates. We arranged for a picnic lunch at the private beach on my wife's birthday. Food came in a carefully prepared basket hamper, which was delicious.

Rooms were very spacious, with a double sized bathtub! Of course the rooms were spotless and well maintained. Very satisfied. It can be a bit of a trek to the rooms further away from the reception, especially those on the hill. They were arrange in 4 rooms to each "Villa", which can be a walk from the main building where the restaurants are located.

The staff noticed it was my wife's birthday, and surprised us with a birthday cake at breakfast the next day! (As we didn't make it to dinner). It was this sort of personal touch that made our stay so special.

Thank you!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Andrew W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm Regards
James
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hampshire, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2014

Gaya Island Resort is a perfect place to chill out for a few days after the challenge of a tour of other parts of Borneo especially if that has involved a rather different style of accommodation and transportation. The location of Gaya Island off the coast at Kota Kinabalu makes it convenient for the airport and all the transfer links by boat seem to be extremely efficient. The villa type accommodation is of a very high standard and one just needs to understand a few quirks such as that there is no hot water unless you have the air conditioning turned on. The swimming pool is great and we found a particular pleasure was using the private beach in a cove about five minutes in a boat from the main part of the resort. Another pleasure was in the nature walks conducted by Justin who has a real passion for the surrounding nature reserve and all that it contains and represents.

The staff were friendly and enthusiastic although service was occasionally slow and sometimes unreliable including food orders, laundry delivery and service at table. Most of the staff went out of their way to be charming.

A couple of blemishes on what is a wonderful location. The villas are spread around over an extended area and what is not made clear in advance is that those with ocean views are actually up quite long and steep concrete roads and the villas we were initially allocated would have meant hikes in hot conditions and we had already done a lot of these in other parts of Borneo. We were readily switched to villas much closer to the restaurant, beach and swimming pool area and we were very glad that we made that switch. The manager Kirinjit Singh, who was most friendly and helpful, told us that they that had planned to use golf buggies but they apparently slip on the steep concrete roads after heavy rain. A design fault our architect companion felt should have been addressed. Perhaps a couple of lifts - there are currently none - would help.

The only other blemish is the ambience of the cafeteria where breakfast and other meals are available. We chose to have all our evening meals in what is called Fisherman's Cove which was extremely good and had some real style. It was interesting that the Catch of the Day was consistently sea bass rather than more varied species of fish but we much enjoyed several evenings of fine dining, although with a restricted menu.

We came away thoroughly refreshed and relaxed and it was especially appreciated that Mr Singh took the trouble to be at the dock to see us off - not we think because we had been quite demanding!

I would happily return to Gaya Island Resort and the best tip is to be aware of the need to understand that there are some constraints resulting from the site which is built in a nature reserve.

Room Tip: Check the location to make sure that you will not be involved in hikes up hills after a good dinner.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank itinerant2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
James_YTL, Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this review, December 10, 2015
Greetings from Borneo!

Thank you for this lovely review from your visit to Gaya Island Resort.

I am glad you had a wonderful experience and that you thoroughly enjoyed everything from the views through to our perfect and convenient location in Kota Kinabalu.

I have shared your comments with the team for them to enjoy also.

Thank you again, we look forward to seeing you back for another relaxing visit on your next trip to Kota Kinabalu

Warm 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 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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