Stayed here in July 2013 as part of the honeymoon package. Loved the hotel and setting but there are some issues to work out with management.
We arrived late at night as our flight was delayed. We had arranged an airport transfer to the port which was still waiting for us and the specially arranged boat took us to the island. We were transported straight to our room as it was late and dark. Normally I think guests get a tour and welcome drink which we missed out on. They had decorated our bed with flower petals which was nice - there was also a tray of slightly-past-it's-best fruit. Rooms are spacious and well equipped - loved the robe and slippers and daily free beers/soft drinks in the mini bar – but was surprised that there are no nets on the windows (just slatted shutters) to keep creepy crawlies out (they did get in). We saw some monkeys the first morning and a large monitor lizard. Our lodge was within walking distance to the main lobby/restaurant area, other lodges were further away and only really accessible by buggy. The staff ride around in the buggies and offer you lifts if they see you walking which is a nice touch and helpful in the heat.
We spent a lot of time by the pool or snorkelling off the jetty, there are sandflies on the beach so we stayed around the pool. Staff bring cold water which is nice. You can also rent paddleboards and other watersports equipment. We enjoyed the spa – it’s in a lovely setting in the jungle and we had several massages as part of the honeymoon package, the staff there were very friendly and the massages and products were of a good quality, although they did not read the information sheets we filled in before each massage – requests for a certain pressure/body part were ignored, filling these out was a waste of time. There is a happy hour each day where you get 1 drink free and 2nd half price, the cocktail choices were limited and service was so slow even though we were often the only people there. It would have been nice to have a small selection of snacks to purchase/included as part of the mini bar for when you get peckish.
The food generally was average/acceptable although overpriced. We enjoyed breakfast where you can order from an a la carte menu and a buffet selection. We visited Gayana one day for breakfast and to watch the fish feeding, the breakfast selection there was slightly better, I also had a nice pad thai there for lunch. I had a pizza from the Pantai grill at Bunga Raya which was quite horrible, although the staff had organised a table for us on the beach surrounded by candles which made up for it (it was exciting when the wild boars appeared and started sniffing around!). My husband generally enjoyed the fresh fish he ordered.
We experienced some issues while we were there which slightly dampened the experience. As part of the honeymoon package we were scheduled to have a meal at Alu Alu in Gayana Eco resort. We could not choose our own food but were given items from a set menu. The items included jellyfish, fish maw soup and undercooked lamb and quail (the waitress herself said the food was undercooked). We had been hoping for some nice fresh fish so we found the options very strange and limited. We could only eat the vanilla ice cream. We complained and the beverage manager at Bunga Raya said they would review the menu offered for the future but nothing was offered to compensate us.
We were due to receive a bottle of sparkling wine in our room as part of the package – this wasn’t there on arrival but when we asked for it, was delivered promptly. However for the rest of the holiday each member of staff we met continued to ask us if we had received our wine yet – they weren’t communicating.
Another night we were scheduled to have a honeymoon dinner at a beach pavilion. When we arrived they had forgotten to set up our table on the pavilion so we had to sit inside the restaurant as usual for our ‘special’ dinner. To compensate us they offered us a free bottle of wine, this was gratefully received as wine is very expensive at the resort. When checking out we found this wine was on our room bill. We reminded the manager that this was given to us for free, he did not believe us and had to ring the member of staff responsible. No apology when it turned out we were in the right.
We did the ‘flying fox’ zipline which was okay but the forest walk was a waste of money, a member of staff led us silently around a track in the forest, we learnt nothing.
We were scheduled to receive a ‘tour’ of ‘MERC’ at Gayana, no staff member was around when we arrived at our ‘tour’ slot, then we didn’t receive any tour as promised, just planted a coral and then were told to watch a video.
There is not much for children to do I wouldn’t recommend for families. One night we tried to play ping pong on the table in the ‘games room’, but they could not find a ball. There were about 3 members of staff running around trying to find one for us. It’s a lovely setting for honeymooners as it is very quiet and idyllic, but I wouldn’t bother paying the extra for the honeymoon package.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As sensual and exotic as the hibiscus flower that bears its name, Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious jewel set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo. A secluded island hideaway of 47 timbered villas, the resort is framed by white sand beach and virgin jungle. Hillside villas reflect the simplicity of the Borneo architectural style. A hilltop spa blends the finest Traditional Asian and Western treatments using restorative powers of indigenous plants and oils. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu
- Bunga Raya Island Resort And Spa