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“Good Hotel and good break”
Review of Gaya Island Resort

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Gaya Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
59 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Good Hotel and good break”
Reviewed 19 August 2014 via mobile

Gaya Island Resort is a good option for weekend breaks from Singapore or to extend your stay after climbing Mount Kinabalu. Ours was option 1. We arrive Friday night with AirAsia from Singapore. The ride from airport is very short and the fast boat is safe and fast despite is night time. There is little to worry for those to catch a flight on the way back as the boat trip is easy and fast surrounding the coast. The hotel check in was fast and we were advise on the activities and food and beverage options. Najib on the front desk was very helpful and help us to change the room for another one with better views. One thing we notice is the overall service of the hotel is really good and people very friendly comparing with Malaysia industry standards. The Cheff, we forgot his name, as example was very helpful every night asking us if he could offer something extra or other options apart of the buffet. Rooms and views are spacious and amazing. A couple of things I would like they improve is the garbage is behind the beach areas (jungle) or inside the water when you do snorkeling. To be honest the immediate area of the hotel is clean but close by you can see many food empty plastic bags. Will be good they organize more regular cleaning on those. Also some golf karts to move you around the resort will be useful.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank GarricsBarcelona
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Land Below The Wind- Borneo!

Thank you very much for taking your time out to share with us on your stay experiences and Najip is very happy to hear that his services are appreciated and recognized. I have congratulated him on his nobble efforts on ensuring you are well looked after.

Rubbish is a challenge that we put-up here with and we are, on constant basis, sharing our guest comments with the Tourism Ministry here in our efforts to see further improvements. Ensuring our guests receives nothing less then clean and immaculate beach conditions all the times, we have a team of gardeners that sweep and wrecks the beach through-out the day but at times, we do lose our battle against the nature.

Again, thank you very much for your support and we look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future.Till we meet again, our best wishes from all of us from Gaya Island Resort.

Kind regards,
Kirinjit Singh.
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  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
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London
Level Contributor
48 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

We stayed at Gaya for 5 days at the end of a very active jungle/rainforest/river holiday and found it to be the perfect place to unwind and chill. I'm afraid we were rather lazy and didn't use the gym or the snorkelling (my husband just hates both). We spent a lot of time reading, reclined on the beach. A couple of observations - water was readily available plus ice (good), the recliners are rather uncomfortable as cushions are not provided (pool they are), the sandflies are rampant (not the hotels' fault) do not leave your room without a ton of repellent and reapply after swimming. I was rather surprised that no-one came round offering something from the bar - if I wanted an iced coffee/cocktail I had to trek over to the bar to order it, not a problem but a simple service more in line with 5* that could easily be offered. We did do yoga (complimentary), went on the nature trail (too many people, we were at the back and couldn't hear the commentary and anything of interest was long gone before we could see it) and attempted mangrove kayaking (not a lot to see and could easily have been cited on divorce papers!).

The wait at the marina was too long, there was a full boat of new arrivals in from KK airport and the hotel could easily have run an additional crossing rather than make us wait for an 1 1/2 for the scheduled boat. Our luggage took an age to arrive at our room (we had to ring twice). The view (or lack of it) was disappointing - overlooking a scrubby garden. However the room was clean and spacious - appreciate his and hers sinks, the bed/pillows v comfy and luxurious. We had a surprise visit from a rather large spider and maintenance were super fast at removing it - thank goodness.

We ate in both restaurants - Fisherman's cove was excellent, high end cuisine. We enjoyed the other restaurant as Chef Xavier whipped up food to order each night and insisted on preparing a special meal, well feast, on our last night. We invited a single traveller to dine with us one night who was a veggie and Chef X was more than happy to whip up something special - so if you are a veggie just ask and they will happily oblige.

All staff in all areas were delightful and helpful, service could not be faulted. All in all, yes we had a few small niggles but overall we had an excellent stay and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending a visit here.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Blueflossy13
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort - A walking resort!

I would like to thank you very much for choosing Gaya Island Resort for your recent stay and more importantly, taking your time out to review Gaya Island Resort.

I note, overall you had a memorable and relaxing stay with us and enjoyed the services and facilities very much.

To share on your scheduled boat comment, speed-boat charters are available at off scheduled timings. For arrangements, please feel free to ask our reservation team upon your next reservation and our team will be happy to assist to book the transfer for you.

The luggage delivery was delayed due to the large families arrival timing changed without prior notice. We had arrangements made for the service reflecting the large arrivals but we recorded change of arrival timing of some of the rooms(with families) hence, delayed ensued. I am very sorry and ensuring you improved arrangement is now in-place to avoid similar experience to you and our guests. We thank you for your constructive feedback.

Again, thank you very much on your stay 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
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
107 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2014

We had stayed at their sister resort Pangkor Laut last year so had high expectations. Resort design/architecture is nearly identical, but missing the magical beaches and pristine water to swim in. The rooms are sparse, could use some basic furniture/chairs, need to clean the cover for the ottoman at base of bed - stained and dirty, hot water supply not sufficient to fill bathtub and need to wait several hours for water then to be available for hot showers, and beautiful wood floors painted brown... ruined the natural wood, not sure why. Our check in was not smooth, we were handled by a receptionist who had been there two months out of school. She left us sitting in the lobby and never came back to answer our questions or check us in. We finally made our way to the pool. She offered us to purchase an upgrade, which we did once we saw our original room which overlooked another building concrete roof... hard to believe they would give us that when the resort was only at 60% occupancy. We purchased upgrade to seaview, which was bits of sea with a massive tree in front. When we inquired about other rooms they said they were booked or had single beds (which ended up not to be accurate as they were available). We were informed by Janet later day that we needed to shift rooms because there was work to be done on ours and there would be noise. We could move at any time. We triggered the move an hour after being notified, carried our bags down and up a heafty amount of stairs (after having just climbed Mt Kinabalu it was painful) only to be told the room was not ready and had to go back to the old room. We waited 40 minutes, called reception, they said they'd send someone. Another 20 minutes passed, we called reception twice trying to reach Manager Janet whose staff guarded access to her and would not allow us to speak with her. another 30 minutes later we finally called another time, requested Janet whom we were not allowed to speak with and were told they would allow us to move... 10- minutes later the guys were still waiting outside the room to get approval from the front desk to allow us access. Frustrating. So much for paying for an upgraded room. Waste of time waiting for inefficient hotel staff.

The good:
- yoga with Michelle... and meditation... she was wonderful, and having access to complimentary classes was great.
- Meal plan for residents is a good deal.
- Thai restaurant at the distant beach was a really nice treat
- Multiple options for boat transfers, late transfer on date of departure
- Ample supply of water

OK: food. First night was semi buffet and alacarte which was very good. Second night was all buffet and not great - cold food, not replaced frequently... need to get there early to get the good / fresh stuff. Breakfast selection was good, as was the fresh juice bar

Poor:
- too many children occupying the pool... never a quiet moment for couples
- rooms not clean, asked them to wash floors again, hair and toenails on the floor when we checked in. Sick.
- don't book a high up room if you have just finished climbing Mt. Kinabalu... you will be hating life...

Good for a one off trip for a night or two. Pangkor Laut still far better, more senior level of service, and have their act together on hospitality.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Flashpacker08
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, 20 September 2014
Dear Guest,

I would like to unreservedly apologize on the overall poor experiences that your self experienced as shared in your review. We have clearly failed here and we are very embarrassed of how bad we performed on the areas that did not meet your expectations.

On the poor check-in experiences, your comments are looked into and further improvements correcting our selves are now completed. The staff was removed from the front-of-the-house for re-training purposes. She handles check-ins daily but clearly she failed here and we are very sorry.

We are changing all our white sala cushions to a very nice set-up. We have ordered and awaiting for delivery by early next year. We are sorry on the inconveniences caused.

We have on-going checks on all of our hot water tanks and yes due to the large bath-tub in our rooms, it do take a while to fill the large tub. Our checks revealed there were some tanks with manufacturing defects and we have replaced the tanks and the hot water is now more consistent and stable.

It was a long weekend hence we had few families with us during your stay. On any long weekend and/or on school holidays, we do record more families then usual. We are sorry on the inconveniences caused due to the crowded areas.

Your comments on the housekeeping are addressed with further training carried with the staff and we did not record similar poor results from the staff again. This is now solved.

We are happy to read that you enjoyed the food at the private beach, yoga sessions and ample water provided around the resort areas met your expectations.

Again, I am very sorry on the areas that did not perform well and I would like to share again that all your comments are now addressed and further improvements are carried. We look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort to experience the improved services and facilities.

Kind regards,

Kirinjit Singh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beaconsfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Lovely setting: the resort buildings are well-landscaped and maintained; the main beach, looking back towards Kota Kinabalu, is okay, but a short (free) boat ride takes you too the hotel's other beach, Tavajun Bay - much nicer and includes a small turtle rescue centre.
Great accommodation: we had a canopy villa, a few minutes walk up a steep concrete drive, looking out over the mangroves; woken up by the hornbill dawn chorus!
Dining options were limited, but all very good quality; the main dining area is buffet for starter and dessert; main course is prepared to order, and was never disappointing; the poolside bar offered good value snacks; the more formal Fisherman's Cove restaurant was pricier but the food was delicious.
Activities: book ahead to avoid disappointment; one of the attractions to choosing Gaya was the choice of activities, but on arrival, most activities were already fully booked for the few days of our stay - it took a lot of 'persuasion' before more activities were offered; a number of other guests expressed similar frustration, so clearly something the resort management need to address; that said we raised the concerns during our stay and the staff responded really well to help make our stay memorable. Jungle walk and mangrove kayaking is recommended; the diving/snorkelling company were good; the quality of the snorkelling was okay; a couple of our group on a trial dive were lucky enough to swim with a turtle!

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Richard C
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort- A walking resort!

Thank you for taking the time to review Gaya Island Resort. We truly value the feedback from
our guests and we take every comment constructively as tool for our improvements.

I am sorry on the tight activities slots availability. We did record higher demand for the activities and more slots were opened on different hours in our efforts to accommodate the demand and we recorded positive responses from our guests, as we arranged for your kind self during your stay. To avoid similar disappointments upon your return, as our activities are very popular with our guests, please do ask for our activities calendar and our always ready to assist reservation team will be happy to guide your kind self through with advance reservations of your preferred activities.

Again, thank you very much for choosing Gaya Island Resort for your stay and we look forward to welcome you back 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
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Another stop point on our Borneo expedition (4 families, 17 people). After rainforest treks and travelling needed a bit of luxury for our tired group. From start to finish just perfect. Staff ready to meet and greet as we arrived on Island. Felt special from moment we made contact with the YTL group staff. Youlinda (apologies if not spelt right) was amazing and looked after our group very well, meals planned out for our stay and chef greeted us at out table most days as well asking if he could cook anything special for us. Resort manager Kinirijit Singh wonderful and very friendly. You can tell the staff enjoy their work and real team spirit. Our server Yuri got a well deserved tip from us. Rooms spectacular, clean, luxurious with the resort having a wow factor for surroundings and more importantly their wonderful staff. Private beach and Thai lunch was idyllic and amazing. My family and friends were blown over.
Snorkelling from beach is nice, but lots of activities to choose from to keep you busy. Diving was good and worth doing.
Final night barbecue and bonfire on beach was a fantastic way to finish our stay. Top resort.

Had chance to meet the wonderful catering manager Paul Mason (I think) for UK YTL group who was on attachment from Scotland (unfortunately lost business cards for him and Mr Singh, please email/message me with them). Very impressed by ethos and passion of the staff.

Our tour was organised by my brother in law (Anthony) who runs travel agency in Borneo and he certainly picked the best stay of the whole 3week trip. Highly recommended. So good my friend cried with joy....

Room Tip: All excellent....
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ironman16
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank-you very much for your support and it was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to look after you and the group through-out.

Linda, Yuri, Paul and rest of the team is very happy to hear from you via your comment and we look forward to welcome you back to Gaya Island Resort in future. I have emailed to your kind self Paul's contact and Paul is looking forward to see you at Gainsborough next year.

Again, thank you very much for your stay 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
Singapore
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2014

We were in GIR for 3 days last week and I must say having avoided Malaysian resorts in the past, I am now motivated to visit all the other YTL destinations too!
We had great service from the ever smiling staff. Everyone would greet you and I would give it top marks for service which is consistent with other reviews here. I would like to give a great commendation to Linda , Mary and Deborah who took care of our needs with the utmost professionalism .The reception staff at the Sutera Harbour were just as fabulous!

The hotel was well designed and showed a good overall standard of finish. The walk to the hilltop villas really is not an issue considering the views that await you. Perhaps the only criticism I have would be there could be a better privacy screen between the villas as the louvered screens did nothing to hide my neighbours laundry.

The coolest thing was these chamber rooms provided for guests near the pool. You could just go into one to rest instead of heading back to the room. VERY clever!
I loved the food served and the semi buffet concept was just right for me.Food was slightly pricey but not exorbitant considering the class of the hotel.The desserts were to die for!
There was enough activities provided but on this note I need to give a gentle alert that you may realise these are often fully booked when you arrive. I would recommend travellers to ask the hotel for the schedule ahead of time and book this before they arrive. It would be a pity to miss out having travelled all this way. I did this for the spa and it was a wise thing considering how it fills up fast within a day! And you should not miss it. I am a regular spa goer and it was divine!
I would stay at the hotel at least 4 days to fully enjoy what it had to offer.

The library was lovely but wished there was a better range of mags then the YTL ones only.There were outdoor movie nights, yoga, nature treks, guided meditation, snorkelling and hourly trips to the private beach. For a resort that was 15 minutes from the mainland, i could not believe how clear the water was. Don't expect too much snorkelling as the corals are still building itself up after the huge storm many years ago. Still worthwhile though as there is so much to take in around the place.

Overall the resort ticks the boxes in terms of service excellence. I would compare its level of service to a resort in the Maldives. Perhaps a little suggestion would be to spice it up a little with things like educational signage along the mangrove area, or surprise rest corners in the many nooks and corners of the resort. Just little things but these add to the experience.That would have given it the 5th star for me. Overall , fabulous resort and great little getaway!

Room Tip: Room 851 - 854 for a spectacular sunrise view
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank littlenomad
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort - A fully walking resort.

I would like to thank you for your support and for choosing Gaya Island Resort as your holiday destination.

Linda, Mary, Deborah and the team at Gaya Lounge were very happy to read that their efforts are appreciated and I have congratulated them on their great miles in service.

For your further info on activities, we are adding more activities to the calendar in coming months and you will have more to choose from upon your return.

Again, thank you very much for your comment 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
Bali, Indonesia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

Check in clumsy and inefficient. Rest of the stay very enjoyable. Food is ok but expensive for this quality. Staff is freindly and very helpfull. Internet wifi only works around reception. This they can easily improve with a few more hotspots on their grounds If you need to pull the plug completly this is the place to go

Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Ulrik Cordt R
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 September 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gaya Island Resort!

Thank you for choosing Gaya Island Resort for your recent break and on taking your time out to share on your stay experiences.

On the check-in, your comment is detailed on and I am sorry on the poor experiences that your self experienced on regards to the crowded resort which caused the service to be stretched with large families. I am very sorry for the inconveniences caused.

We have hired an Executive Chef and all our dinner prices are now being looked into as part of our on-going improvements processes.

Again, thank you very much for your support 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
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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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