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“Happy. Blissful. Serenity. The plalce we escape to”

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 November 2013

Leaving Jesselton, whizzing across the blue, slightly polluted, South China Sea and you can feel the sun, wind and water soaking up all your tension.
The staff are smiling, friendly and happy, not intrusive, always close by to help with any request or answer any question, especially about hibiscuses, wild boars or monkeys.
The villas are uncomplicated, tranquil, well-appointed, jungle perfect.
In any of the massage rooms that flow into the jungle the staff at Solace Spa, who, have magic hands, will know how to make you feel, pampered, massaged, scrubbed, and relaxed.
After a day of doing something or nothing it’s easy to indulge in the amazing food, not paku pakis and, although, the cocktail list needs some work and ordering can be an adventure you don’t really mind as you sit listening to the music and the waves and drink experimental martinis.
After a walk on the beach and a night cap collapse into the very comfy bed and let the sounds of the ocean, or jungle, lull you off to sleep.
We can’t wait to return (3rd time) to see our warm, dancing, happy friends and to see what wonderful changes have been made.
When you arrive and see the green jungle hiding all the villas, red umbrellas by the pool, the white sandy beach and the jetty reaching out to meet you, you suspect you are somewhere special. After a few days of being there with the smiling you know you are somewhere special.

Room Tip: The plunge pool rooms can be a bit noisy
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Speckette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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267 - 273 of 499 reviews

Reviewed 15 November 2013 via mobile

I wrote a review of this holiday dream location back in July but it never went online for some reason reading these reviews in rainy UK makes me long to return! What do I remember? All the special people who looked after us so well. Our perfect villa which was a romantic idyll. The beach. The flowers . The pigs! The toucans and bats . A stunning infinity pool. Nights on the beach relaxing with a cold beer . Dressing for dinner and complaining about the guys who always wear shorts when the ladies try so hard and look fab!
It was our 35th anniversary and I know that behind our great experience was a dedicated team who were determined to make our every moment special. Thank you to everyone. See you again maybe.......

Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Mingusaddict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2013

We started our 4-week honeymoon on Borneo at BRIRS. Our five night stay was so wonderful, that we decided to go back at the end of our trip, for three nights. And again, our stay was splendid. The resorts' location and villa's are fantastic, the staff incredibly friendly and helpful, the restaurants serve great food, and the nature in and around the resort is wonderful. All this really made our stay at BRIRS one in paradise! We will go back there again, for sure!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank B R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 November 2013

If your looking for a quiet retreat on a beautiful island away from hustle of the mainland, yet close enough to visit the attractions that Kota Kinabalu has to offer then this is the place for you.

Spent seven nights here during Oct. The property is beautiful and from the moment you arrive, you are felt to feel at home by all the staff who are on hand to help at all times.

I feel this property lets it self down with small things. Things such as not having anyone present around the pool to order drinks, having to ask for more shampoo and shower gel and only one breakfast menu were some of the things I felt could be improved.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank EmmaAndAngus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank shellSMITH123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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3  Thank NEILLIE042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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3  Thank Carlito291979
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

Address: Polish Bay, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
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: £154 - £352 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Bunga Raya Island Resort And Spa

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