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“paradise in Borneo”
Review of Gayana Eco Resort

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Gayana Eco Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“paradise in Borneo”
Reviewed 22 November 2011

So it's a little expensive, but that's the only downside to this place. We were here for three days and had the most wondeful time. The staff we just amazing from tracking us down at 10:30pm to come to opur room and sing us a song and present my fiance with a birthday cake, through to the eco centre, the fish feeding everyone was fantastic.

We stayed in the more expensive ocean view rooms which were grand. If you want a nice budget option there's nothing wrong with the jungle view, family of ours stayed in them. The nice part is despite having you on an island there's reasonably priced food, free cocktails in the evening and a more up market seafood restuarant if required, all of which are great.

Obviously if beach, pool, snorkeling etc aren't your vibe you may find the location a little dull. Would recommend for those who are thinking of engagement venues! Possibly after breakfast is delivered to you by boat?!

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Londonboy73_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (109)
Date | Rating
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 November 2011

If you want a nice getaway in nature, this is it.

Brought my husband here for his birthday; he's wanted to jump into the sea from a villa so I booked the Bayu Villa. Adequate space, simple furnishing, and yes, you can go directly into the sea.

There were complaints about trash coming up to the deck staircase of the villa. No such problem for us - it wasn't monsoon season.

There's also complaints about the TV and the internet. Well, you're on an island by the sea - you're not supposed to be watching the black box or surfing on your laptop all day! It didn't really matter to us, we enjoyed snorkelling around our area and made a few day trips out to the main land.

The staff are really friendly and accommodating too, from the room service staff to those at the dive centre. Not everyone speaks perfect English, but they more than make up for it with their teachability, friendliness, willingness to help and their affable nature.

A few notes:
1) The Chinese restaurant (can't remember the name) offers food at an OK price, but if you want cheap food go onto the mainland.

2) Massage is NOT cheap for those who know how much massages can cost. I would recommend going to the mainland. There's a shopping centre called Suria Sabah; Genesis Centre on Level 3 (near the food court) does pretty good foot reflexology.

3) Arrange for breakfast with Macac restaurant to be delivered to your room - eating on the deck in the morning out in the open is fantastic.

4) if you are going to the mainland, enquire about the boat timings. If you stay on the mainland till late, you can do what we did - take the staff ferry at 1030pm.

We'd probably come back again, but might pay a bit more for the Palm Villa - it comes with a jacuzzi and a small plunge pool.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank lazychocolate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2011

a bit expensive. beautiful resort but not much not much to do

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank susanaaquino09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2011

What a great place to unwind! We didn't want to leave.
Gayana Eco Resort is on an island about 20 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. All the villas are built on the water, so the jungle seems pretty much undisturbed. Only the Macac Restaurant, the bar and the infinity pool area are actually built on land.
What makes it an 'eco' resort is the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) where giant clams are bred and placed back in the ocean and coral is being regenerated. It's all pretty interesting and well done.
But the real highlights in this place are the accommodation and the people. We stayed in a Jungle view 'Rimba' room, which is the cheapest available as you don't get an ocean view. What you do get, however is a great view of the macaque monkeys coming out of the jungle to the water's edge in the late afternoon. The standard of the rooms is excellent - roomy and very comfortable with pretty much everything you could need, including a lovely bathroom. We were lucky enough to be shown through one of the Palm Villas, the premium rooms in the resort and they are really something - private plunge pools, and the best of everything. Out of our price range, but we were very happy with our own room.
The staff are extremely helpful, welcoming and friendly in that way that seems to be completely natural, rather than just providing 'service'. We were made to feel special and nothing was too much trouble, from Tomas, the General Manager to bar staff, restaurant staff, recreation staff, boat drivers, housekeeping - everybody! We were blown away by the whole experience.
Being on an island kind of forces you to relax as you are removed from the mainland, which may be seen by some to be a disadvantage. However, there is a 7:30am boat which gets you to Kota Kinabalu in plenty of time to pick up tours etc and you've got time to fit in breakfast before you leave. There's a boat back at 6pm and another at 10:30pm which gives you the opportunity to eat dinner in town if you like, although it would be good if there was a return trip in between those times. All transfers are complimentary.
The food is fresh and delicious at both the seafood/Chinese restaurant and the Macac (where you eat breakfast) and the service relaxed yet impeccable. Snorkelling and kayaking are fun, but you can't beat relaxing in and out of that beautiful infinity pool. A visit to Bunga Raya, another resort under the same management, is a good way to spend a day - another beautiful pool as well a a lovely stretch of white sandy beach. Again, just a boat ride away.
Thank you Tomas and your team for making our visit so memorable.

Room Tip: We had the far end Rimba room which gave us a better view than most.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank thecoopers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mt Lawley WA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2011

Sabah was a new experience for us but with a direct flight now from Perth to Kota Kinabalu we thought we would skip Bali, our usual tropical getaway, and try something different. Gayana is on an island which takes about 20mins by the resort's free service. The resort is situated on a bay with beautiful clear water that abounds with fish, starfish and coral. Our stay was in a Palm Villa. The villa was amazing! Not only was it huge with two lounge areas, kitchen and bar area and king size bed, but it had a double bath, twin shower, glass floor in the main living area, and slide back doors onto the deck and your own plunge pool. Bliss! And to make our stay even more special, the staff at Gayana are amazing. Every member of staff we met was friendly, greeted you and wished you a good day. Fauzi was our personal consultant and he made our dining experiences wonderful - specially set tables with flowers and candles, down to arranging our preference for beer in the villa to be delivered (you get complimentary beer and cool drinks). The meals were delicious especially in the Alu Alu restaurant that is Chinese and seafood. We had massages in the spa which were álso wonderful. I suppose the only thing you need to be aware of is that you are off the mainland and even though the resort has a schedule to take you to Jesselton Port at KK it doesn't run at night so you do need to stay and eat on the island - which isn't a bad thing but if you like eating somewhere different each night, it might not suit you. If you go you have to go to the Marine Environment Research Centre where they have a small theatre to show an informative video on the work being done to regrow coral and the giant clams. And don't miss the fish feeding at 9am - watch out for the gropers, they're huge. All in all we loved our Gayana holiday. It was quiet, relaxing, beautiful swimming and snorkelling, cocktails at sunset (first one free) and delicious food. Oh and don't forget to go around to the Banga Raya resort around the other side of the island. It's owned by the same person so you can lay around the huge infinity pool or lay on the beach there too. We'll be going back to Gayana to enjoy the beauty, good service and friendly environment.

Room Tip: I would book an Ocean View villa or if you can afford it a Palm Villa. These villas face directly on...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Anne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2011

This was the most relaxing, enjoyable island holiday I have ever had. We stayed 6 nights in a Palm Villa for our wedding aniversary and enjoyed it immensely. The staff here were some of the best we have come accross in the world and by far the frendliest! If you want to relax in a beautiful location, this is the place. Ask for Fauzi to be your assistant when you're there.

Room Tip: Paying extra for a Palm Villa is worth it.
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank David E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Gayana Eco Resort, responded to this review, 11 October 2011
Thank you for posting your feedback on Trip Advisor, I am so happy you enjoyed your time with us. I also agree with you The Palm Villas are extra special, especially if you add Fauzi to the equation. With the direct flight out of Perth to Kota Kinabalu no excuse not returning to our shores so we sincerely hope to see you back in Sabah in the not too distant future.
Once again thank you.

Tomas
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2011

We stayed at The Gayana for our honeymoon, overall we had a fab time but we did feel it was a little costly and not a 5 star resort yet. When we arrived we hoped to be offered a cool towel and a drink after the boat ride as lots of the venues do in Borneo and had done on our trip to that point. For 5 star you would hope for these little luxuries but unfortunately this didn't happen. A little thing they did do was bring a lovely sari type thing to the room which was nice. Our room was lovely with a nice view and lovely balcony, we did have to ask for the shower to be cleaned down as there was a lot of grime on the Walls but this was done quickly and efficiently, also we had to ask on numerous occasions for a mini bar menu. The turndown service always came as we were getting ready for the evening at 5.30-6ish - perhaps at 7.30ish would have been better. There was some building work happening around the spa area which didn't disrupt our stay but was not advertised. The pool always had towels and was beautiful and relaxing the only downfall is the macaw bar and restaurant beside it always had a lingering smell of drainage which every now and then you would get a waft of. Lso things like the cushions on the chair here were quite faded, a small thing but not 5 star. We did decide to eat at the macaw for all of our meals because we couldn't afford the fresh seafood restaurant. The food was pricely but I would class it as fine food and worth the price. Everything we ate was outstanding so high praise for the chefs. On the last night we went for the set menu of lots of seafood which was lovely. We did feel the service could have improved a little in the restaurant, I waited 20 mins for a glass of water and had to ask twice and one morning everyone who sat down after us got their breakfast before us, when it did come though the dishes from the a la carte breakfast were Goegeous! The one morning it was buffet I would class that as average. Every evening we went to the sundown bar and took advantage of the happy hour and got one free cocktail then a half price drink after this which was great. The second day we went to get snorkels etc and were a little miffed when we were told we couldn't have any because they were all out, we spoke to guest services and reasonably quickly they located some for us. The snorkelling was great and with this resort being centered around the marine life we took this away as a big positive for this hotel, it was really interesting going to the marine centre and learning about clams and coral and playing in the touch tank with sea cucumbers and the likes. We were able to kayak as well which was fab. Another little disappintment was that we were not once wished a happy honeymoon even though this was on our booking papers. The message never got sent from the mainland where you check in, to the island, once they learned of their mistake (on the last day) they sent us off with a card and a bag of gifts, which was nice. Overall we enjoyed it but the place deffinately needed some weaks.

  • Stayed September 2011
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Helpful?
2 Thank lucky4lillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Gayana Eco Resort, responded to this review, 11 October 2011
We really appreciate your comments on Trip Advisor and have taken note on some of your issues. A la carte breakfast is now available, even when we decide to put out a larger breakfast buffet as oppossed to the normal breakfast bar. Lack of communication often creates service deficiencies, I am very aware that we are not always perfect in this regard. Please accept my sincerest apologies for not recognising it was your honeymoon while staying with us. Maybe you would consider a revisit for a future anniversary? If this would be the case rest assure we shall take note and make it extra special. We hope to see you again.

Tomas
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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 Gayana Eco Resort

Property: Gayana Eco Resort
Address: Malohom Bay | Gaya Island, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Gayana Eco Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gayana Eco Resort rests serenely at the edges of Gaya Island off the coast of Borneo. 52 over water villas designed to enhance the soothing sounds of the surf, while capturing the enduring vistas of Mt. Kinabalu on the distant horizon. At its heart is about protecting and re-generating our precious Marine Ecology, and the only property to feature its own Marine Ecology Research Centre propagating Giant Clams and restoring damaged coral reefs. Striking the perfect balance of forward thinking ecology and indulgent luxury which pampers both the body and the enlightened soul. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gayana Eco Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Gayana Resort

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