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“Disappointing, food expensive and not that good.”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 August 2014

The resort is very pretty but the service and food are a let down. We were not lucky with the room, - not much of a view at all despite the steep climb we could not see the beach
or mountain from where we were, just the roof tops near the spa. The room is very "designer" but not very practical. If you are not travelling as a couple be aware that there is no door between the bath and the bedroom, so no privacy. There is a shower with a door though.
The food: quite expensive for what it was - average pub food at best. There is an odd system ( which was not really explained to us by the waiters ) where you choose a main course from a blackboard menu at a fixed price, usually around £20 or £30. You then get a buffet starter and dessert included for the price, whether you want it or not. Drinks are extra apart from water. So you could easily end up paying £120 for a family of 4 each night. The starters were rubbish, just lettuce and maybe smoked fish or cold meats, the desserts were very good though, main meal very average. If you are a vegetarian there is nothing -my daughter ate only a bowl of rice and a side dish of ratatouille every night, just a bowl of rice for lunch. We found it annoying that during lunch a member of staff would come to our table and ask us to choose what we wanted for our evening meal, and what time we wanted to eat. We said we were not ready to choose but they then came and found us by the pool in the afternoon with the menu trying to get us to choose our evening meal at 3pm. This happened every day we were there. They really need to sort out their meals and their service.
Lunch ends up being around £10 a head, not much choice.
We have been to beach resorts much better than this and would not go again.

Room Tip: Not all canopy rooms have a good view. The walk to the rooms is quite steep.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank 498VivM
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 reviewResponded 6 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings and thank you for your review.

I would like to apologize on the poor experiences that your self had as shared in your review.

The chalk-board concept is part of our offering concept of the restaurant where one walks to the kitchens, choose their main dish and order as to their preferences. We are further improving on the pricing of our menus where the appetizers and desserts will come as a separate selection for our guests.

I am sorry that our approach in ensuring your dining experiences are customized with the best seat and time did not meet your expectations. We have recorded comments from our guests of not getting a nice view tables during dinner time due to the limited nice view seats, we do approach our guests for advance reservations and this have worked well with our guests as a whole and again, I am sorry that this was not your view.

Again, I am very sorry for the inconveniences that your self and family experienced and I hope you will return to Gaya Island Resort in future to experience the further improved services.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.

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Reviewed 11 August 2014

We chose to stay at Gaya Island Resort during the last part of our holiday. Also it seemed like a good place for my older son to rest after climbing Mt Kinabalu.
I would like to start by saying that we totally disagree with the review posted on 1st August. We had a completely different experience right from the start till the end.
The receptionist who checked us in was efficient and so was Deborah ( from food and beverage) who without hesitating said that the chef will make some vegetarian Malaysian food as two of us are vegetarians.
The variety of dishes the chef made for us was amazing and absolutely delicious with a combination of interesting flavours. He also gave me the recipes for some of these recipes!
The pool area which overlooks the sea is picturesque and the bar does scrumptious food too.
The private beach at Tavung Bay was a paradise especially with a preordered picnic which arrived on time and was laid out for us perfectly.
Our canopy villas were fabulous.
We went on a snorkelling trip to the coral reef with Lionel which was excellent.
The guided nature walk with Justin was very interesting as he is so passionate about the various ongoing conservation projects and future ones.
The icing on the cake was the sunset cruise on a yacht on our last night and then watching tribal dancing which was meant to be on the beach but was moved into the restaurant efficiently as it was raining.
All the staff at Gaya are ebullient, always serving with a smile.
This was a perfect end to our magnificent holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Mita64
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 reviewResponded 6 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort!

Thank you for taking your time out to review your stay with us and we are very happy to read that your stay was a relaxing and memorable one and you throughly enjoyed the services and facilities.

I have shared your comments with Deborah, Lionel and Justin and they were very happy to hear on their efforts being appreciated and you enjoyed their services.

Again, thank you very much for your stay and Deborah, Lionel, Justin and the team look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future.

Till we meet again, our best wishes to you, family and friends.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014

First of all I would like to say that we had a pleasant and much needed break here but we've been spoilt in the past and so our expectations are high, hence the average rating. More becomes clear as you read on.

The staff were friendly and problems we encountered which were small, were dealt with swiftly. The rooms were fine, comfortable and clean enough, albeit a long walk up the hill - we did have a view across to Mount Kinabalu when you could see it, particularly at sunrise.

The buffet style breakfast and dinner at Feast Village could get a bit chaotic and food was so-so. It was as though they were way under staffed for the guest numbers with consistent lack of co-ordination. Nonetheless it was service with a smile ;-) We ate at Fisherman's Village on a couple of occasions which is more expensive but worth it - the atmosphere was lovely and the food was in a different league. We were slightly irked by the fact that they state a dress code for this fine dining restaurant on the website but given the super casual attire of some of the other guests dining there, this was clearly not enforced which made a mockery of the request.

We unfortunately happened to be there during school holidays and so inevitably there was a high ratio of children which wouldn't have been a problem but for the tribe of Aussie kids who dominated the pool and in fact the whole pool area with their raucous enjoyment marring that of many other guests, particularly in the evening by the pool - it was impossible to have a quiet drink in the bar which is really a long corridor by the pool - once again, despite pool rules of being "closed" after 7pm, this was not enforced by either staff or the over indulgent and oblivious (in my opinion) parents. Everyone is entitled to enjoy themselves on holiday but not to feel that they are the uninvited guests at someone else's party. We are all paying for the privilege.

Nonetheless, we took the resort boat over to their private beach Tavajun which offered peace and respite from the claustrophobic pool area. The restaurant at Tavajun offers a set lunch each day which is highly recommended.

We used the gym which is limited but useful. There is also a nice open air library area for reading or playing board games.

The staff made a good effort with some of their events, especially the Borneo culture afternoon. There is a guided nature walk which I enjoyed (make sure you have put on the mozzie repellent) and also a more energetic walk over to Tavajun on certain days.

I didn't use the spa on this occasion, so I can't comment.

An afternoon trip into KK to look around was not really worth it apart from a good curry and a few beers!

The airport welcome and tax/boat service was efficient.

Room Tip: Higher rooms better view but longer walk up the hill.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank KeepOnTravelling2014
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 reviewResponded 6 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort - a walking tropical resort!

Thank you for taking the time to review your stay experiences. We truly value the feedback from
our guests and we apologize on the areas that did not meet your expectations.

We were busy with the school holiday crowd and we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused and understand your frustration with regards to the crowded resort areas/outlets. We pride ourselves on our customers services and are very sorry you have had this experience.

I have shared your comments with the team and have congratulated them on their good services offered to you and all our guests.

Again, thank you very much on your feedback and we 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
Reviewed 5 August 2014 via mobile

Beautiful place without a doubt.
Too bad that one could see KK and the tankers. This defeated the Island feeling. Food was good bit we are not crazy about buffet style the whole time. I prefer the price to br higher and have more included. Now it seemed that all personnel were pushing the whole time to order : wines, drinks, experience etc. Everybody was nice but it missed the X feeling. I liked the bungaraya better.

Stayed: August 2014
1  Thank Dutch1961Amsterdam
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 reviewResponded 6 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings!

Thank you for your stay and I would like to apologize on the areas that did not meet your expectations, regards to the view of the resort with mainland visibility from the resort areas and the buffet spread that did not meet your expectations.

We have hired and Executive Chef and are now looking into our Food and Beverage offerings further in our efforts to give nothing less but first class experiences to our guests.

Again, thank you very much on your stay and comments and I look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future to experienced our improved food and beverage offerings.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.

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Reviewed 1 August 2014

Stayed here with my wife and 9yr old son for 6 days and out of the five different hotels we stayed in whilst in Malaysia this was by far the best.

The location is easily reached by resort boat and the service is second to none. The staff were always smiling and nothing was too much for them. Anything you wanted they found a way to get it, not that we are demanding but as an example, my son got too much sun one day and felt sick, the chef came to see if it was a problem with the food, it wasn't, the manager came over and then the resort nurse who gave him some medicine and he was fine shortly afterwards.

The chef and food are excellent and on a par with any world class restaurant, with a different menu daily, an a la carte and a great seafood restaurant upstairs to choose from.

We had two interconnecting rooms which were well laid out with good views over the sea. the only slight criticism, is that most of the villas are up a very steep hill but you are on a jungle island.

I would definitely return this this one.

Room Tip: All rooms have sea views
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank cooldudes1
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 reviewResponded 6 August 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort - A fully walking resort.

I would like to thank you very much for taking your time to share your stay experiences with us.

I have shared your review with the team and have congratulated them on their efforts to ensure you and family were well looked after through out your stay.

Again, thank you very much for your stay and we look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort upon your next visit.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.

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Reviewed 30 July 2014 via mobile

My partner and I visited the resort for both our birthdays and this resort is hands down the best I have visited in all my years of business and leisure travel. This is an extremely well organized resort with a bunch of passionate staff who go out of their way to surprise and delight you.

The rooms are new, well maintained and gorgeous. We really liked that it was private and away from the main area. I don't understand the complains from other reviewers about the arduous climb. It is just a short walk up a hill. Take it as exercise for all the wonderful meal you will have there.

Now on to the more important areas which puts this resort head and shoulders above every other hotel or resort I have visited.

Xavier, the chef, prepared a special meal for us on our last evening there just because it was my birthday. He got to know us on our first day when my partner made a special meal request for extra spicy noodles and from then on made sure that we had exactly what we wanted for breakfast. The dinner he prepared was tailored just for us and my partner and I even had different courses because Xavier thought that we would enjoy different things. And boy was he spot on in the observation!

The serving staff found out I was lactose intolerant on my first day and volunteered soy milk coffee on my second and third breakfast there.

The serving staff also served me Ice cream with pan cakes for breakfast just because my partner made a small remark about how fantastic this would be the night before (and note that the dinner staff are not the same as the breakfast staff).

We had a room beautifully decorated with balloons as a surprise when we returned back from dinner on our first evening. Everything was timed just perfectly.

The organization of the short boat ride and lunch at the private beach was seamless and completely taken care of by the hotel staff.

The meals were all very good. And as ours was an inclusive package we can't comment too much about the ala carte prices.

We didn't meet a staff who was rude or unfriendly. Everyone, without exception, made our vacation just amazing. From the pool guy who came around with glasses of cold lemon water and then disappeared unobtrusively into the background to the friendly staff at the activity desks who take you on the activities.

This resort has set a standard and is a hard one to beat.

Stayed: July 2014
1  Thank Sue_Yin
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 reviewResponded 6 August 2014

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort.

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.

You are right, Gaya Island Resort's biggest asset is our staff. I have shared your comments with Chef Xavier and the rest of the team and they all were very happy to hear from you and were very pleased to know that their efforts were appreciated.

Again, thank you very much for your stay and we look forward for another opportunity to serve you again.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.

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Reviewed 30 July 2014

The resort is less pricely compared to gayana and bungaraya resort. The staffs are mostly polite and accomodating. However, there is some issues with the hotel facilities. Eg the external tiles tend to become slippery in the rain, the concrete road drain doesnt work during raining as water flows down the road instead of to the drain. The umbrella cannot pass through some of the door features, thus making it necessary to tilt the umbrella in the rain. Also the water heater storage capacity is too small for the bath tub. The water heater connected to the air condition compressor does not seem to work well. Maybe the thermostat is not working properly. It would be better to modify the water heater control such that only use the heater element. Lastly we got charged for catch of the day in feast village when our package is inclusive of food. We were told only fine dining and beverages is chargable. So this came as a shock to us at the end of the day when checking out. Overall great stay but needs some improvement on facilities. Also the chefs are superb.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank yukitan71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James_YTL, General Manager at Gaya Island Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 7 January 2016

Thank you for your feedback on your stay at Gaya Island. I can see from your review that your stay was far from your expectations and apologize for the various shortcomings and inconveniences which you experienced.

These are far from common occurrences and certainly not representative of our usual high standard of service, facilities and upkeep of the property.

Rest assured I have been through your feedback with our team and analyzed where opportunities for improvement lie, how we best achieve that task and will be acting swiftly to see it through

I understand your disappointment but sincerely hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you for a return stay in the future to rebuild your confidence in our brand and resort.

Warm regards,
James

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Additional Information about 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: £136 - £336 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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