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“Our little piece of PARADISE”

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
London, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Our little piece of PARADISE”
Reviewed 7 November 2013

First may I say that if your looking for a Shangri-La or Four Seasons, you're barking up the wrong tree. This place is so much more than just a room next to the beach.
Yes, the staff are not the most experienced I have met, however for all that they lack they make up for it ten folds by being sincere and honest with their service.

The restaurant by the beach is beautiful during dinner time, we had a wonderful meal while listening to the lull of the waves. The huts on the jetty are also a highlight, my wife who reads all the time loves her little spot there, while I snorkel in the clear waters just below.

The beautiful villas are spacious and has a rustic feel. My request for the safe to be opened, was met by a manager! who happens to also be a buggy driver and ultimately a friendly character. He explained how the resorts predominantly employs and trains the local natives to improve their lives. What an amazing effort!
Ultimately, a beautifully peaceful resort, with beautiful people.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank shellSMITH123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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486 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2013

To sumarise:

The Good

Location: 5 Star
Ambiance: 5 Star
Staff friendliness: 5 Star

The Bad
Room cleanliness: 1 star
General service: 3 Star at best
Food: 3 Star

We traveller to Bunga Raya resort ans an early Birthday present for my wife and based upon the reviews from this site. The booking was made direct with the resort teams in Sabah and we also organised airport transfer to the ferry jetty, excursion to the Rasa Ria Orangutang rehabilitation centre.
Transfer was good and driver/guide friendly and welcoming. The staff at the reception at Jessolton peir were also first class in looking after us. Boat transfer was good, however the boats are small in comparison the website of video clips you may see. Safety on the boat was good, with all passangers having to wear lif vests for the transfer.

Upon entering Polish Bay, you are greeted by a spectacular view of the resrt nestled in the virgin Malaysian jungle. The resort has been sympatheticalay built to embrace the location and it is trully a magical setting.
We were greeted by the staff and give the tour of the resort by golf buggy before being taken to our villa. We had chosen a twin room family villa which had a king room, and a seperate twin single. On initial inspection, the room appeared to be in good condition, however after a day or so, you started to see that this was not the case, and housekeeping and or services were not what you would expect from a "high end" boutique resort. Dirty cupboards, bird droppings on the window shades and quilt, poor cleaning in the bathrooms, and uncleaned areas under furniture.
The resort has changed from the pictures you see on the web as the trees and shrubs have now grown, so the area can tend to be a little untidy at times. However, a staff of cleaners keep the outside areas clean and free from any leaves that fall.
The beach was clean when we visited and the water clear for most of the time. This invites the guest to make use of the free facilitys like the kayaks, long boards, and sailing rigs. However we did not notice any jet ski's as advertised. The pool area in really ice with a 1.3 meter deep infinity pool which has a kiddy paddling area attached. When we visited, the pool was never busy and the ambiance was peacefull.
Food in general was mixed. If you are happy to eat local with a little european, you will be fine with the facilities. I personally enjoyed the food, however I would not class it as five star gourmet dining. The Pantai grill is teh beach diner and serves a mix of local, pizza, and other meals. Servie at the Pantai can be sporadic to say the least. An example of this was on one evenign we visited and it was rather busy with new arrivals that day. The order was taken and eventually served some 30 minutes later. The food was not hot, and appeared to have been sitting waiting for the servers who seemed to be very disorganised. We sent the steak back as it was not cooked to my wifes liking and recieved teh same steak back looking like it had been turned to carbon. Needless to say, this was not accepted and we did recieve a credit. However, again this is not what you expect to pay for at a "high end" resort.
The resort bar was reasonably good, however the cost is well over the odds even for a resort. As an example, the price for a shot of spirit and a mixer was around 40 RM ( 8GBP, or $12). There is a happy hour every evenng from 6pm where the first drink is free, the second half price, and subsequent drings full price. The happy hour drinks are limited to the set list and does not cover everything.
I had organised a special treat for my wifes birthday and planned to eat dinner on the beach, howver the reservations team had failed to make mention to the resort and as such it was not organised. The team managed to remedy the situation by service us dinner on our villa verandah which was great. But again another nail in the coffin for a supposed 5 star resort.

We brought the issues of cleaniness to the manager and I was bewildered by the fact that he did not seem too bothered that we were making a complaint. REading some of the other recent reviews, it's clear that our experience is not an isolated incident and as such dissapointing to see that management do not seem to improve.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic location, but nothing else. We were paying 3000RM/night including the 10% service charge (which is on EVERYTHING) and the 6% government tax (circa 600GBP, $900) and we could have stayed at the Shangri La cheaper!

I would suggest that you think long and hard before deciding on the Bunga Raya and shop around before you book.

Room Tip: A majority of the rooms above beach level are built on the hillside, and as such these have very ste...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NEILLIE042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2013

When I arrived on their boat and I saw that little paradise, I was extremely excited and found the concept great and the bungalows very nice. Unfortunately despite the staff being very friendly , the stay was spoiled by the total inefficiency of the staff and the poor quality of food. The young staff were left alone without supervisors. I had 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Not once they got our order right ie main courses served before starters, you wait 50 min to have your food despite the restaurant being empty. If you only go for the beauty of the place but with the price they charge one is allowed to expect a service you find in top hotels.
Its really a waste because the place and the concept is so beautiful.



Carlito79, Singapore

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Carlito291979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2013 via mobile

It s sad to see such a high potential place being so poorly managed. Let s start with the positives: fantastic nature, nice location, beautiful beach, and decent rooms (if they were clean). The negatives: the staff is just not trained, and that s the management's fault. Poor english, staff unable to respond any question one may have, they "double check", and never revert....Food is average, service is slow. Need something in the room? You ll have to call back 3 times...Want to speak to the general manager? He s in a meeting, always. Maybe he does not care his hotel is empty, who knows...
Too bad really, because Bunga Raya could (SHOULD!) do much better. Disappointing, will never go back and certainly do not recommend.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Tatchuae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Croydon, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
265 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2013

We were booked for Gayana Eco Resort but building works there meant we were offered an upgrade at the sister resort, Bunga Raya, around the island. Here there are no over water villas but the accommodation has been slotted onto the beach fringe above the mangrove line and over the hillside overlooking Polish bay whilst blending in with the surrounding rainforest. Buggies are on hand to take you round resort and some of the more remote villas are accessible for the more hardy souls by steeply winding concrete trackways and steps cast into the hillside. Moving around resort on foot can be tiring in the tropical heat and frequent downpours although exercise is no bad thing after delicious fried noodles for breakfast.
Without exception the staff are friendly, helpful and professional, all seeming to pride themselves on going the extra distance for guest satisfaction.
Some villas have better views than others but it depends what you are after: some have stunning beach views, some are nestled in the rainforest with partial sea views but a closer communion with the wildlife. Wild pigs and macaque monkeys can be seen in the grounds, hornbills fly overhead.
The standard of accommodation cannot be faulted with seemingly every aspect sorted, from the Bose sound system and large flat screen tv to the mini bar with complimentary soft drinks and beer, the efficient a/c and complimentary sarongs ( not compulsory wear). The illuminated Batik ceiling in our hilltop villa was stunning.
Happy hour in the bar 6 pm to 7 pm with first drink free and second at 50% discount. Beers at 25rm, wines from 60rm or so a glass. Comprehensive collection of wines and even a wine cellar which has been awarded 2 glasses by the Wine Spectator. Pommery was available at 45rm a glass!
Longhouse / Koi restaurant serves breakfast (hot, cooked to order), lunch and dinner. The Pantai Grill is on the beach for more relaxed lunches and dinner but can be closed in inclement weather.
We can highly recommend a stay here, to be pampered and cosseted.
One piece of constructive criticism: the lighting system in the villas is sophisticated with myriad switches. Simple labels or a printed 'idiots guide' would be useful when guests want to adjust or turn off the lighting.

Room Tip: There isn't a 'bad' room. It depends whether you want to have direct beach access, sea v...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KathIan999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 October 2013
Dear Ian,

Thank you for your Trip Advisor feedback. There is no better satisfaction for us than happy guest.
We have taken note of the light switch signage, a very good point indeed.
We hope to see you back in our part of the world in the not too distant future.

Best wishes

Tomas
General Manager, Resorts
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kelowna, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2013 via mobile

What an amazing place to relax and decompress from the crazy busy lives we have. As a family of 5 with 3 little boys, it was a great place for them and us. The polished white sand beach , seeing thr sealife so close to shore and the pool were the highlight. We enjoyed the food; and the staff were more than accommodating and respectful to our needs during our stay. From start to finish it was an adventure to a beautiful tropical island.great resort!

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 197Auscan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ilkley
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2013

We visited here in late September and it was lovely especially the pool area and beach. Only criticism was the slow service in the restaurant. Took ages for coffee. The food for dinner was not always our thing but we are all different. Took 3 times asking to have our daughter's camp bed made up. The room and bathroom could have done with a better clean. We had an exciting moment on the canopy walk with a meeting with a King cobra snake. Some people starting screaming and it reared up. This had never happened before apparently. Just remember you are in a jungle and there are wild animals around.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank virginmaryIlkley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Property: Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Address: Polish Bay, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 48
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 Resort And Spa
Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu

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