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“Nice setting but service lacks efficiency”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
36 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Nice setting but service lacks efficiency”
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Stayed here for one night only and for the price that you pay, this place was only average. This property was very well-kept, but the beach was that beautiful and the food could use some improvement. More importantly, service lacked efficiency despite being quite genuine.

Check-in:

Took a while for the room to be cleaned up by housekeeping. Complimentary drinks was a nice touch.

Rooms:

Take note that all villas only come with a King bed. So if you are sharing rooms with friends and do not wish to share the same bed, you better ask housekeeping to set up a separate bed using the day bed. Turn down service never came after calling housekeeping twice. They didn't set up the day bed after coming over, so we had to call them again. The staff who came was very nice and apologetic. The people are great, but a bit more urgency and efficiency would be appreciated.

Other than that, the rooms were well-appointed with modern equipment. The bathroom is huge with a very nice tub.

F&B:

The food is ok. Since there are no other F&B options on the island, you are tied to what is offered at the resort. The dinner buffet was decent. Breakfast had quite a few options, but we expected more in terms of quality given the price.

Facilities:

The pool is great and the gym has a great view with Mount Kinabalu in the distance. The spa area didn't look that great. It feels like that building is not as well maintained. The area beneath the building was all muddy and it wasn't a very beautiful site for a spa.

Overall:

The villas were the highlight of this resort. The bed was very comfortable and the staff are genuinely nice. However, for the price that you pay, you kind of expect all that. There wasn't anything that really wow'ed us and service could be a bit slow at times. And so for a high end resort, especially in KK, Gaya Island Resort was only average.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank CPA902
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review and I would like to apologize on the overall areas and services that did not meet your expectations. In particular, I have discussed your comment with my Executive Housekeeper on the day bed inefficiency and I am very embarrassed to learn on how poor we performed here. The flow and standards are revisited and area is now improved further.

On your spa surroundings comment, I would like to share that our spa concept is a mangrove spa hence the area is to be maintained to reflect our concept and approach. I am very sorry that our this concept did not meet your expectations and I offer my apologies.

Again, I am very sorry on the areas that did not meet your expectations and I hope this will not deter you to honor us another chance to prove our selves on areas that we poorly performed by choosing Gaya Island Resort for your next break.

We look forward to welcome you back on our shores and till then, our best wishes to you and friends.

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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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (299)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
47 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2013

Overall experience was very nice. Only this resort can offer a lot of things including the jungle walk in the backyard that has so many intriguing native spieces. So I guess not everything is perfect but here is the summary of things that were negative in the stay that could be improved or things that were good that I could really recommend to everryone.

Positives - the hotel is new so it s very clean.. I stayed at the beach front room and the view from the room was very nice. the location of the resort. it s in the nature that is also unique too. most of the staff are very friendly and trying hard to do the service for you. Jamie who took me around the jungle was very helpful and I appreciate the work of Sonia the manager there who tried to pay attention to my schedule during my stay. Henry at the spa did a fantastic job for me.

Negatives - the boat from their terminal in KK cost me extra 700 MRGT. I dont understand why they dont offer a speed boat that should basially costs almost nothing. Some of the staff were not very experienced and did not seem to know what they re doing too well. In order to move from the resport to the airport you have to use the ferry boat but they only offer the service every 2 hours. So a lot of idle time in the ferry terminal... Internet connection was poor in some room cus its away from the terminal point and they only have WIFI (no cable i found in the room too).

Neutral - Food was OK but it wasnt impressive at the buffet restaurant. I didnt go to another formal restaurant because it requires 'smart casual' which wont happen to most of the people who come here for vacation.

For the price i paid for I m not sure if it s worth overall. without the hefty 700 MRGT it made a little more sense.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank QualityMattersMost
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Borneo!

Firstly, I would like to apologize on the overall disappointments that your self experienced, as shared in your review. Your comments are noted for our further improvements, where applicable.

I note Jamie, Sonia and Henry stood on an exceptional platform on ensuring that your stay was a relaxing and enjoyable one as a whole. I have shared your comments with them and congratulated them on their extra miles.

Again, I am very sorry on the areas that did not meet your expectations and we all 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
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2013 via mobile

Its nice to start with the good - the staff are super polite & friendly without exception. They don't all appear knowledgeable so look for - Justin (jungle yoda), Scott (sea god) or Sonia (resort diamond).

To someone passionate about nature, like me, the words Primary Rain Forest are seductive and a certain lure onto this protected land of Gaya Island. So imagine my disappointment to discover we werent allowed to explore it - crest fallen & ready to leave, even though we had prepaid to stay. There were only very few tame group treks HOWEVER - 2 days in, we met Justin (jungle yoda) and of course we can explore - private treks can be arranged - if only he had more staff & time we would have spent more time in the jungle - but he made our stay a really enjoyable one, thanks J x.

More general info. The rooms are nice, comfortable bed always appreciated. Assume you have NO BALCONY as they are completely uninhabitable - serious design defect! They get wet in the rain. And rain it does - most days. It is a Rain Forest after all ...
In fact when it rains GIR generally has very little cover (was the rest designed with CA in mind?) so unless you are in the jungle (awesome in the rain) you are very limited.
Resort looking tired already. Sun parasols could be from B&Q, not much protection

Beer super expensive. BRING PROVISIONS.
Food - ok. Seriously overpriced, not really 5 star standard but my biggest problem here is choice. There is NO lighter meal choice in the evening. You have to pay high price dining or for a buffet. We arranged pool bar meals in the evening couple times, but it felt like asking for favours. Thanks Sonia all the same.
Marine snorking great. Minimal cost and well organised.

Finally - you really are trapped here. About £70 ($100) return for a couple to/from KK. Even then, early return. It's a very very small resort. Lobby - pool - restaurant - mangrove walkway (good). That's about it. Spa too, lovely but prices so ridiculous (Champneys London prices). The beach is small & narrow, so if you like beach walks, reconsider this resort.

One last thing - life jackets / speedboats??? Massive storm, waves bigger than boats - no safety briefing - I saw 2 life jackets, 14 of us on boat!
Calm waters, life jackets everywhere, plus told to wear one ....

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LynnWindell
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort- A Walking Resort!

Firstly, I would like to apologize on the disappointments that your self experienced on regards to the areas that did not meet your expectations, as shared in your review.

Our F&B pricing in our outlets is comparable to similar properties in the area and we feel we provide good value given our secluded location and extensive facilities. We regret that this was not your impression and offer our apologies.

Again, I am very sorry on the areas that did not meet your expectations and I hope this will not deter you to visit us again . Justin, Scott, Sonia and the rest of the team look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future.

Kind regards,
Kirinnjit Singh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2013

Spoilt in a largely unspoilt island by fantastic service, large and thoughtfully laid out rooms,
Swim, snorkel, spa or simply relax on your villa's large veranda.
our package came with food and we were well fed, both in quality and quantity.
A wonderful few days.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jesseating
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much on your review and we are happy to read on your positive stay. Again, thank you very much and we all look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2013

Simply the highlight of our Malaysia holiday - not perfect but not far off.

The location is just amazing for this hotel, staying in a world class suite lofted into the jungle canopy is unforgettable. I say suite because the rooms are a cut above normal "luxury rooms", to open your patio doors in the morning and just see & hear the jungle is something that will never leave me. Ok there are giant cicadas making a noise and some friendly wildlife around but I've never felt so safe around some creatures that I've only seen in London Zoo from a distance.
Food: a bit of a nightly lottery as to whether it was buffet or a la carte but the quality was always fantastic - sliders, curry or the seafood, the best we had in Malaysia (especially the dessert bar). The room -service pizzas however were pretty standard and overpriced and picnics were the same, so we ate lunch at the pool and were more than happy. Breakfast was always accompanied by staff telling us that were late (we weren't) but eggs benedict were always forthcoming alongside a buffet selection, and the fruit smoothies were great. The seafood was showcased by the rooftop restaurant and this was real luxury, expensive but worth it for a night or two.
Service - brilliant (apart from the breakfast crew), our fave was Aslan at the pool bar, always seeing to us brilliantly during our daily afternoon cocktail break. We should also mention that we booked this hotel as it was run by the same people as the Tembok Spa Village - our first honeymoon destination. The company remembered us and we felt like royalty on our first anniversary - we enjoyed a sunset cruise and had a few nice gifts from the management. Although I don't think anything will ever beat our spa experience at Tembok, the one here was pretty excellent.

We loved this hotel/village/spa and would love to go back to see it finished - if it improves any it will be a real destination.

Room Tip: Try to stay in a canopy villa near te pool, some are very far away
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Guildford23
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much on choosing Gaya Island Resort for your recent break.

We are all very happy to read that your stay with us was a memorable and relaxing one and we all stood up to your expectations and our services were no less then your bench mark of our Tembok Bali Resort services. I have shared your review with the team and we all are looking forward to welcome you back to our shores in future.

Again, thank you very much on your support and our best wishes.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lisbon Portugal
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2013

I've just stayed in Gaya Island resort and it was great, i've done quite a lot of travelling and lots of great hotels and let me say it's great to stay in this one, everybody knows your name rooms are huge, bathroom is great and even being on a Island you have many activities so dont´even think to stay in other the beach was really clean and they hv a second beach for you. Enjoy Gaya Island Resort! I did!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank andre-mariz
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, 29 September 2013
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort!

Thank you very much on your support and we are happy to read on your positive stay that you had with us. We all look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future and till we meet again, our best wishes to you, family and friends.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Level Contributor
141 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2013

If you are looking for a getaway from a busy city. This resort is the perfect choice. For residents of Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, the residents package is worth it as it is inclusive of (transport RM140 both ways), breakfast lunch and dinner (about RM500) per day, room (RM1100- kinabalu villa 2nd most expensive), and daily Activities. All in at a package price of RM 1000 per night.

Staff are very friendly and food is above average.

The only negative point is that we had to walk to far up to our room, which takes about 5-10 minutes.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank m3lvinlim
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, 10 December 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
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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:
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre 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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