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“Almost Great”
Review of Gayana Eco Resort

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Gayana Eco Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Almost Great”
Reviewed July 10, 2012

Just had a 4 night stay at Gayana after upgrading to a Palm Villa before our arrival in Kota Kinabalu.
We were extremely impressed with the Palm Villa. Very Roomy, private & very nice. The plunge pool was great to have at our doorstep.

The first 2 days the water was clear & clean, but after a windy day into the bay there was a fair amount of rubbish in the water with a reduction in the clarity of the water for the next 2 days. Slightly disappointing after experiencing how pristine the water was when we arrived there.

The staff were always helpful & always tried their best, even when the language barrier got in the way they did whatever they could to help. Our wifi was really bad, but the staff provided us with a broadband modem for our stay which helped us very much.

 We loved the Alu Alu restaurant. The food was just amazing, & the staff just great.

The Merc centre was fantastic & what they are trying to achieve is to be applauded, as is their enthusiasm & excitement to their cause.

The major downside with our stay was the maintenance work being carried out on the villas on both sides of our villa,
By the second day the hammering, power tools & 5 or 6 men working right next to our villa in front of us took it's toll, & we requested to be moved due to the noise & my partner not being comfortable swimming or being on the balcony or pool in front of the the men.
The management instead of moving us, moved the workers away from us to other parts of where we were staying. The management say they had no idea work was being carried out next to us. For what you pay for a Palm Villa, you expect privacy & a quiet seclusion, & considering that there are 8 villas & all were empty but ours it wasn't good enough.
Overall we did have a great stay but we won't be visiting again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SteveOzPerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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singapore
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

My family and I stayed at the resort in June and even though it was the Malaysia/Singapore school holidays, the resort wasn't crowded.

We chose a seafront villa after reading the reviews and it's well worth it. The beach, as other reviewers have mentioned, is minuscule. So the private access to the sea goes a long way to making the difference in our trip.

Rooms are big and nicely furnished. Love the Hann toiletries and the DVD player in the room. Note that you can loan DVDs from their rather extensive library at the reception.

Food is generally good but really overpriced. The complimentary ala carte breakfast was generous and well prepared. We especially appreciated the freshly baked bread everyday.
If you can tear yourself from the island, take the complimentary boat ride to the mainland for some of your meals. Trip to mainland is only 10 minutes.

The spa is basic but the massage I had was good.

All in, the experience was awesome even though it was considered a splurge for us.

Room Tip: Choose a seafront villa
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank superbova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Linlithgow, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2012



To be fair to the resort, we came here from Bunga Raya and therefore with high expectations. Unfortunately, our initial perceptions seemed to be right. The chalets are very close together. If you can imagine Butlins on stilts then you have the picture.

We took an upgrade to a Palm Villa, which our Personal Assistant was happy to show us, after that we never saw her or anyone else again! The glass floor feature of the villa was excellent but the constant drone from the plunge pool pump caused a sleepless night for both of us. The finish of these villas is excellent but be aware because they are so far from the main buildings there is no wifi unless you stand at the front door.

We had been advised that snorkelling at Gayana was good. There certainly was a huge selection of fish to see but the amount of rubbish floating about was really off putting. There was a toilet cistern dumped in the water beside our villa - not sure about the Eco friendliness of that. 

The MERC centre attached to the resort is fantastic and the staff are very helpful and passionate. As they weren't busy we got a private tour and the opportunity to feed turtles.

The food seemed to present a good choice for fish and meat eaters.The two members of staff who 'saved' our stay at Gayana were Aziz and Celesta in the Macac restaurant. On finding out that we were vegetarian (Black Tomato had informed the resort but it didn't appear to have been passed down the line) Celesta suggested that we speak to her chef, Aziz. An hour later we were
sitting down to a specially prepared 5 course Malaysian, vegetarian meal. The food was fantastic, in fact probably the best we have ever eaten.

The two night here were more than enough, perhaps we were spoiled by Bunga Raya but we both found the amenities at Gayana limited and frankly it just seemed dirty. It really was disappointing, my advise would be give this one a miss.

Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Gingersheep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2012

5 nights here was about right for an elderly Kiwi couple. To be shown to our chalet, get changed and within ten minutes walk off our private deck into warm sea with some quite good snorkelling over coral and reef fish must be great. We snorkelled every day often before our hearty breakfast.
Rough weather brought an assortment of floating debris and plastic which was a bit off putting but soon cleared.
We enjoyed the meals at both restaurants and found the service and location excellent.
The chalet was comfortable and well equipped even to complementary beer in the mini fridge.
A real highlight was MERC, the marine research center. their information was excellent and their endeavours most praiseworthy.
We travelled on two days the fifteen minute boat ride to the sister Bunga Ria resort, a high class resort set in the jungle on a nice beach. The snorkelling here was very good and the staff really went out of their way to be helpful. There is a jungle tree walk and some good jungle trekking at Bunga Ria.

Room Tip: Make sure you get a superior chalet with your own deck and steps out over the ocean. I would not wan...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank GrahamChristchurch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penzance, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2012

We stayed here for the last few nights of our honeymoon with a spa package and we were upgraded to an ocean room for free. It was so relaxing and a perfect honeymoon location. The rooms were lovely, the snorkelling fab, food amazing and the spa treatments great. The guy that does the reflexology type foot massage is amazing. We would recommend this resort to anyone. The sister resort is worth a visit too and you can use some of your spa package there which is great. We preferred our resort as we loved the ocean bungalow. It was the perfect honeymoon choice. We never expected to stay in such a beautiful place.

Room Tip: Definately go for the ocean rooms
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Millies2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Western Australia
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2012

Spent 6 wonderful days in over water bungalow direct access to warm clean beautiful, sea teaming with colorful fish, coral, friendly staff, great food ,heaven hope to go back.

Room Tip: The overwater bungalows a must ,direct sea access, beautiful views.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Suzieq58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2012

The good bits...

This is a beautiful, beautiful resort. If you decide to stay, make sure you get one of the ocean villas - you dont come to somewhere like this to look at the jungle/mangrove area etc.

The accommodation we had was very clean, modern, in good repair - no complaints at all.

The food in all the restaurants was very good, and the choice of the fish in the AluAlu one was second to none. The staff are very enthusiastic and keen to help (but more on this later).

The management were happy to get involved when any issues arose.

The sister resort around the corner (Bunga Reya) is a free boat ride away and definitely worth a day trip for a bit of variety.


The bad bits

The staff are very enthusuiastic, but need to work on their english. Far far too many times did we order something, and the wrong thing appear. If they dont understand something, they need to know that it is 100% ok to say "I dont understand, let me get a colleague". That said, once you take this into consideration, relax, and lower your expectations, it is completely liveable-with - we certainly werent ever billed erroneously, or charged for anything incorrectly. End of day - if you need something doing promptly and correctly first time round, ask to speak with one of the managers.

Storms - more on this later, but resort staff should be more proactive in checking villas (umbrellas/terraces/etc) as storms come in, and much much quicker at repairing, tidying and restoring things once the storm has passed.

Theft - another reviewer mentioned this and I should have been more careful, but while out for dinner I left an iPad out the safe so it could download my email. Suffice to say it disappeared during turndown while we were at dinner. The Security manager was very thorough and arranged for a Police statement to be taken, but it didnt bring the ipad back.

Dive compressor - there is amazing diving to be done round here, but if you arent a diver, you may find the noise from the dive compressor irritating. It could easiily be moved / insualted / quietened but as it stands, its can be annoying noise in the morning.


Things to be aware of

There is a new resort being built across the bay. this wasnt noisy, but they were burning a lot of waste and it was an eyesore. I think its due to open in a month though, so this shouldnt necesarily impact future guests.

Weather - borneo weather is generally hot with occasional storms. expect 1.5days sun, and half a days rain/storm in a 2 day period.

The sea is not as clean as other areas of the world. The resort make a good effort to keep it clean, but especially post a storm, there may be litter. This was the same everywhere we visited around Borneo.

Room Tip: Ocean view. Anything less and you will feel jealous and want to change when you arrive.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ChrisA1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gayana Eco Resort

Property: Gayana Eco Resort
Address: Malohom Bay | Gaya Island, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Gayana Eco Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gayana Eco Resort rests serenely at the edges of Gaya Island off the coast of Borneo. 52 over water villas designed to enhance the soothing sounds of the surf, while capturing the enduring vistas of Mt. Kinabalu on the distant horizon. At its heart is about protecting and re-generating our precious Marine Ecology, and the only property to feature its own Marine Ecology Research Centre propagating Giant Clams and restoring damaged coral reefs. Striking the perfect balance of forward thinking ecology and indulgent luxury which pampers both the body and the enlightened soul. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gayana Eco Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Gayana Resort
Gayana Eco Resort Malaysia/Pulau Gaya

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