We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Masterful”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Gaya Island Resort

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Cleveland Ohio USA
Level Contributor
126 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Masterful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

The next time someone is thinking about Maldives or Bora Bora, I am going to suggest that they consider the Gaya Island Resort. Similar experience for fraction of the price.

We were appreciative of Chef Ayup who had just arrived as Executive Chef personally help us navigate our unique dietary issues each of our 4 nights…what incredible and unexpected service.

We were glad Gaya Resort had a relationship with Borneo Dream as their scuba outfitter as that aspect of the trip was perfect.

We took a terrific mangrove kayak tour with their Nature Specialist Jamie who was brimming with information and he had an incredible eagle eye to see the mud crabs, snakes and birds that otherwise camouflaged themselves so well in the swamp.

The food was uniformly excellent. It was resort priced, but that is occupational hazard at staying at…well, a RESORT!! We enjoyed the ambience of the gazebo on the Fisherman's Cove and the attentive service from the likes of PenAdvent and Silih.

The private beach about a 5 minute boat red away was a welcome addition, with Scott on hand as the resort marine biologist providing us some helpful context about the undersea environment.

Our room was spectacular- the amenities, the decor, the balcony and soothing sea nd jungle views fused together.

Still hard for me to believe the rate we paid for such a flawless experience.

Unconditional 5 Star recommendation.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank beaubo
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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

1,037 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    552
    303
    127
    41
    14
See reviews for
196
613
26
8
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (288)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
50 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014 via mobile

This is truly an excellent hotel, with big, clean and spacious rooms. The friendly staff is very service-minded and make you feel special and important at all times. The food is great and there is something for all guests, whether you love asian style, western style, indian style cuisine. I had one of my best hotel experiences at this hotel and I can really recommend a visit.

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Bullweiser
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, 6 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your kind review and I agree with you that our biggest asset is our staff. I have shared your comments with them and they all were very happy to hear from you and were very pleased to know that their efforts were appreciated.

We have hired an Executive Chef and Assistant Executive Chef and our already good recipes are now further improved to a next level. Please, do come back to experience the further improved gastronomic experiences from our interactive kitchens in Feast Village.

Again, thank you very much for staying with us and we 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
Level Contributor
187 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2014 via mobile

Oh my God. Where do I begin? Everything about Gaya island resort is beautiful. The location. The staff. The service. The food. The room service. Their attention to detail.
We stayed there for 6 nights, celebrating our anniversary. We were picked up from the airport, driven to the marina, welcomed with cold beverages & ice cream. Then we were taken by boat to the resort. There we were welcomed with a lovely cold beverage & towel, showed to our room (baju) & introduced to the restaurants/bar etc. We were treated like royalty--I have never seen kinder or more thoughtful staff. They remembered my favourite juice, my favourite dish, our favourite spot in the "feast village" restaurant....we had a bbq dinner on the beach on evening. It was so romantic. And my God the food was amazing. We had a private chef and waitress on the beach. I have no words to describe how romantic it was. We went on a nature walk, a Tavajun trek with Justin (through the jungle into Tavajun bay), went kayaking in the mangroves, snorkelled every day, went diving with the awesome dive guide Richard, saw monkeys, hornbills, wild boars, monitor lizards etc...
I believe that our stay was made extra special because of the amazing staff at Gaya island resort. A memory for life!

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Firouzeh1
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, 6 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your valuable feedback. At Gaya Island Resort, we strive to provide a unique and memorable experience equal to your expectations. Therefore, the quality of the guest experience is of the utmost importance to us.

Our team, who are for the most part from the local community, take great pride in displaying genuine hospitality to all our guests. I will certainly pass along your positive comments to Justin, and Richard.. I know that they will be very pleased to find that their efforts were appreciated.

Thank you for staying with us and I 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
Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2014

My wife and I stayed at Gaya Island Resort for 4 nights. We had a good and relaxing time there, but can not think of it as a five star resort as it claims to be. 4 stars definitely yes, but we encountered a few things which just can't happen in a 5 star resort. Also the restaurant was kinda rip-off, due to the prices they charge.

Let me explain why, but first I'd like to mention the things we liked or we think to be worth mentioning.
- rooms: Very nice, value for money absolutelly okay. We had a top of the mountain villa which involved a bit of walking. We found the distance not to be short, but actually okay, and by far not as bad as we thought after reading other reviews.
- staff: Most of the times the were very attentive, well-organized, always friendly and we had the feeling that they really put in effort for us to have a nice vacation.
- beach and other facilities: pool was nice and big. Although they claimed to be very busy and almost fully booked, we never had the feeling that the place was crowded, which was very relaxing. A lot of reviews mention the beach to be dirty, which we found to be partly true. Yes, there was rubbish to be found in the water. But we had the impression that they made a real effort to improve the situation and keep the beach in good shape. The beach itself was really good taken care of and you could see staff removing floating rubbish near the shore every now and then. Of course, they could not remove all of it and we therefore found the trash-level to be not acceptable, but tolerable.
- Restaurants: they have two restaurants on site. First, the down-stairs one, which was accessible to all guests, and was also the place where breakfast was served. Second, the up-stairs fine-dinning seafood restaurant, which required a basic dresscode and did not allowed children in. We went to the up-stairs restaurant once, and really liked the experience. Of course, fine-dining always entails higher prices, but we thought it to be appropriate.

What we didn't found to be appropriate for a five-star resort:
- the other 3 nights we had dinner in the down-stairs regular restaurant. The food was actually okay (despite one dish, which my wife had to send back to the kitchen), but absolutely not worth the prices they charged for them. It would have been more understandable, if the resort where in a more developed country, with a much higher price level compared to its actual location in Malaysia. They exactly know that you do not have any other choice (despite the also high priced fine-dinning restaurant) to get your dinner and therefore can charge everything they want. Another thing I don't get is the price difference between the Poolbar and the restaurant. At the poolbar you could order some snacks, while they served the exact same burger in both locations (we checked, there was no difference). At the poolbar it was 45 RM, in the restaurant it was 80 RM. Yes, at the restaurant there are bread and desserts included, but nothing that would justify this difference.
- we got the wrong room key: When we where shown to our room, it was unlocked. Later, when we wanted to go down to the beach, we noticed that the key would not lock our door and we had to call the reception. The situation was handled appropriately by the staff later, but I would not expect such a thing at all in an 5 star resort.
- upon check-out, we noticed some inconsistencies between our consumption slips and the final invoice, charging about 300 RM to much. This is not good in the first place, but the real bad thing about that was, that they had massive troubles to fix the invoice. It took them more than an hour to get it fixed, allthough they immeditally acknowledged the mistakes.

All in all we had a real good and relaxing time. Although having the feeling to be ripped-off almost every time you go for dinner spoiled the experience massivly.

Room Tip: All rooms are identical, only location and view is different
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank mr_maier
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, 6 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort.

Thank you very much for taking your time out to share with us your stay experiences and we are happy to read that overall you had a relaxing time with us.

I would like to apologize on the long bill settlement at departure. We have checked this area and more training is now carried to ensure no repentance of similar delay in future.

The room key failed to function due to the groove on the key needed re-grinding and this is now done and the key is now back into the room door key inventory. We do carry out on-going checks of all the keys and we clearly missed this one key. This is now solved and I apologize on the inconvenience caused.

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, thank you for staying with us and we 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
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
74 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2014

We have been waiting to try out this new high end island resort since its opening. Service is exceptionally good. True to Sabahan hospitality, service throughout the resort were warm, genuine and caring. Received great assistance and suggestions from reservation to checking out. Keep up the good work!

Villa was spacious and comfortable. Although room was kept clean, housekeeping can be more meticulous to keep it at par with other high end resorts we are accustomed to. Hot water was also limited after filling up the tub on the first night. Hot water was plenty for the remaining days as we sticked to shower.

We did manage to try many different cuisines in the restaurant. Thai food at the private beach was good, we enjoyed eating next to a wild boar & iguana! Meals were generally big portion and we enjoyed our dining time.

Tried the spa, it was good but rather difficult to get an appointment. Seemed to be always full. Really appreciate the cold water supplied to us at the private beach. Service was really attentive. Made us feel like valued guests. That is very important....

I noticed many families holidaying at the resort. Would like to suggest more beach toys, floats and better equipped kids room to keep the young ones entertained.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mulberry79
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, 6 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort.

I would like to thank you very much for taking your time to share with us your stay experiences and we are very happy to read that you had a relaxing and memorable time with us.

I would like to apologize on the unavailability of spa slots. Our Spa Village is extremely unique surrounded by beautiful mangrove and with best trained therapists, we do record a tight availability of slots hence I would like to suggest that you do advance bookings to secure the slot upon your return to Gaya Island Resort.

Again, thank you very much for your stay and we 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
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2014

This Hotel is amazing, the rooms were just stunning and the view was great.

Rooms
Amazing, big comfy bed, massive bath tub, and great bathroom space. TV had plenty of channels.

Food
Restaurant is pricey so be prepared for that, but the food was just amazing.


Activities
Boyfriend went snorkelling with the Marine Biologist and said that was amazing and it was free for him to do.
I did the dance class which was great fun.
The Hotel Offers a lot of activities I wish we had longer to make the most of them.

Problems
Our first problem was trying to find the spot where we were to catch the boat out to the resort, by the time we found it the office was actually closed and it was just by chance that the receptionist had forgotten his phone and had gone back to get it. Fixed - They got a transfer for us out there

Second problem was that we weren't told that the boat transfer wasn't part of the room cost, and we weren't told that until the end of our stay when we were very tight on money and this put us in a very difficult spot of trying to find more money to pay for the boat. This wasn't fixed and luckily we managed to overdraw our credit card to pay for them.

Third problem - in their in room booklet they state that the water on the island is safe to drink and after having a mouthful to take some painkillers I learnt that it wasn't. The staff were amazing with me and organised to have bread rolls sent to the room and when we had checked out and were waiting for the boat were kind enough to find some very dry food for me. Made for an uncomfortable flight home and a very quick customs on return to Adelaide. Tip hold a vomit bag in immigration to get pulled through quickly.

Other than the issues, the resort really is beautiful, the staff made an effort to learn our names and always called us by our names, even to the point of asking for me by name when I was too sick to go to breakfast.

I believe most of their issues were teething issues as the resort was very new when we went there, and reading the feedback it looks like they only got better.

Looking forward to going back to see how it is going.

Sept 2012 is when we went

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NiciD88
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, 28 July 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from sunny Gaya Island Resort.

Firstly, I would like to thank you very much for staying with us and we are happy to read that your stay was, as a whole, a positive one.

I also note concerns highlighted by your kind self and I would like to thank you very much again for sharing with us on our areas and improving on our areas further is the way we have always embarked on improving our selves in ensuring you and all our guests have a comfortable and relaxing experiences and I would like to assure your self we take this opportunity to do the same as well without any exceptions.

Our arrival lounge is located at lobby level of Sutera Marina Golf and Country Club and the full address is Lobby Level The Sutera Marina Golf and Country Club 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, 88100 Kota Kinabalu. The exact location of the arrival lounge in Sutera Marina Golf and Country Club building is next to the Marina Cafe. The drop-off should be at the club lobby drive-through, not at the marinas and/or at the golf building. Our arrival lounge operation hours are from 7am to 7pm daily. Before and after arrivals/departures are accommodated with advance notifications. From time-to-time, we do record arrivals being driven to the Jesselton Point jetty and please take note that Jesselton Point jetty is a common jetty and we do not operate from Jesselton Point. In our efforts to ensure all the taxi drivers are aware of our arrival lounge location, we distribute location-information-flyer to all the taxi counters at the airports on-going basis.

On the resort room water, we process our own water and our Reverse Osmosis plant is a state of the art plant engineered by Hitachi and fully certified by Wessex Waters from United Kingdom and I would like to assure your kind self that water in our guest villas is safe for drinking.

Our boat transfers fee is not part of the room charges hence the charges will reflect in your room bill upon departure.

Again, I would like to apologize on the inconveniences that your self experienced and further improvements on the areas are now in-place and I 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
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
26 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2014 via mobile

Beautiful hotel with gorgeous style wooden villas and wildlife right on your doorstep (or in the trees above you as the case may be). We saw some fabulous Malaysia hornbills, as well as some monkeys and some terrifying looking lizards. Pool was lovely, cocktails very nice and the fine dining restaurant was definitely worth paying extra. Only thing to note is that the location is not entirely as you might expect. It's so close to the coast of Kota Kinabalu that you can see ships quite clearly on the horizon. Could be mistaken for parts of Singapore! I wasn't very impressed with the Thai restaurant on the beach either, where you had to choose big set meals rather than small options and no alternatives when you get there. We just had to head back. Overall lovely place for a long weekend and transport to and from the airport was very quick and convenient.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SKSCOT
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, 27 July 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort- A fully walking resort.

I am happy to read that overall you had a pleasant and relaxing stay with us and enjoyed the nature and it's wild life very much.

I am sorry on the private beach lunch large portion that did not meet your expectations.Upon arrival at the resort, we share with all our guests on the advance food order is required via our I-dining desk located at the lobby if you plan to have lunch at the Tavajun Bay and the menu(Thai Set) is introduced to our guests as well which we clearly missed with your kind self upon your arrival and I am very sorry for the inconveniences caused. Importance of sharing correct, completed and precise information is re-highlighted to the team and the particular team member that handled your arrival is now re-trained and since, we did not record any similar comment again.

Again, thank you for staying with us and we 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
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Pulau Gaya
0.4 mi away
Gayana Eco Resort
Gayana Eco Resort
#3 of 3 in Pulau Gaya
4.0 of 5 bubbles 440 reviews
11.6 mi away
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
3.6 mi away
Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
3.1 mi away
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
#5 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
4.0 of 5 bubbles 1,996 reviews
7.8 mi away
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
#13 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
3.5 of 5 bubbles 1,286 reviews
3.0 mi away
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
#3 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
4.0 of 5 bubbles 1,336 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Gaya Island Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Gaya Island Resort

Property: Gaya Island Resort
Address: | 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
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Hotelopia, Holiday Gems, Ctrip TA, Asiatravel.com Holdings, Odigeo, Travelbag, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Gaya Island Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing