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“Waste of a wonderful holiday. Leave bad memories”
Review of Gayana Eco Resort

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Gayana Eco Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Waste of a wonderful holiday. Leave bad memories”
Reviewed 25 April 2014

Employee dishonesty, leaving the stolen chocolate, and most importantly we have not left the hotel, polluted water, a lot of rubbish, but did not follow up on the complaint until we leave. no Staff to clean the rubbish . Overall feeling bad, HK $ 4000 a night. Worth it ?
after returning to Hong Kong. Wrote a letter of complaint to the hotel and no reply. Poor poor poor.

Room Tip: Do not waste money, do not give photo deceive
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  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tigimilk
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, 5 May 2014
Dear Tigimilk,

We would like to express our sincere apologies to you for the inconvenience experienced while staying at Gayana Eco Resort back in May 2013 (12 months ago).
You will be pleased to know that we have now renovated 80% of all our rooms and upgraded the walkways. more soft furnishing upgrades are earmarked for the next few months.

Thank you.

Tomas
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2014 via mobile


Pros: friendly staff everywhere. They are excellent! Decent restaurants. Spacious room. Nice place to relax. A dessert for 2 pax to celebrate my birthday .

Cons: The electricity suddenly runs out in the mid night. My mum was so scared and we called number 0 to the guest service assistant but the phone wasnt put through or nobody answer the phone! We can reach no one in the night! Then I called every number on the list but in vain. It seems that nobody was there! After 5 minutes with horror, no air con, no light, the electricity restored suddenly. That was kinda crazy. My mum didn't have a good sleep after that and she doesn't feel good the next morning. So I asked for a late check out for 1 hour to 12:00 as I told them the reason why we need it. But then the staff seek their "manager", and told me our room was reserved for another guest so the latest check out time would be 11:30. I wondered if they really CANNOT make up our room within 2 hours for the next guest? Furthermore as I observed the resort is not at a full occupance and they can switch the room assignment beforehand. This really turned me down. So we checked out at 11am finally and the staff escort us kindly to the jetty.

Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank locsyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 April 2014 via mobile

First of all, if you have much concerns of the water quality (actually, mainly falling leaves, twigs, occasionally food packages near the pillars of the water Bungalow) in the water, don't go! since the water condition really depends on the weather, and the Bangalore were constructed along the mangrove, it is completely natural and make sense to found some trash in the water as well as sometime the monkeys leaving the food packages into the water.

However, the water was not bad at all, we could swim and do some snorkelling during the daytime. We spend 2 nights there, and came to a conclusion that the water condition varies from time to time too. It was crystal clear in the morning, many fishes could be spotted, it turned turbid in the afternoon when the red tides came, yet we still swam there, not a disaster at least. Before sunset, strong wind caused some big waves, difficult to snorkel.

Other than that, everything is just perfect!!! People are nice & helpful. Infinity pool is a cool feature, breakfast is good, Chinese seafood restaurant is delicious! Considering the price, it is worth to enjoy such a lovely place (very quiet n beautiful beach in Bunga Raya resort, we got a boat transfer to there in the afternoon for free). You would feel like being isolated from the real world. Amazing place!

Lastly, staying at Gayana eco resort is not really about enjoying luxury room or facilities or live like a king; it is all about an experience of living in the natural environment as close as possible with excellent service and facilities at 5 stars standard!

I have no complaint or regret at all. It was a perfect decision to stay there. Definitely we will go back again!

Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Pukpukstay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newbury, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2014

I am posting this review since I have been unable to get a response from the owner or management.

I am from the state of New Hampshire in the United States. My son and his wife live in Taiwan where they are both teachers. My wife and I recently visited Sabah with them in early February 2014. It was our second visit. On this trip we were quite disappointed by what we experienced at the Gayana Eco Resort.

The purpose of coming to Sabah was to visit close friends. After spending nearly a week with them in the interior we ended our trip at the Gayana Eco Resort. This visit was eagerly anticipated as we viewed the resort’s brochure and website. The resort is advertised as a “five-star” experience with beautiful beaches, incredible snorkeling and diving, wonderful restaurants and top level service - in short, heaven on earth. This marketing is a gross misrepresentation of the true Gayana Eco Resort.
As it turns out, we should have more closely investigated the resort’s reputation. Our experience there was one-star for many reasons.

As we departed the pier in the boat from Kota Kinabalu on February 2nd , we immediately noticed an extensive amount of trash floating in the water. We had become accustomed to trash on the land, as this seems to be a widespread problem throughout Sabah, but we were surprised to see it in the sea, especially so close to an “Eco-Resort”.

As we arrived at the resort we first noticed that the Red Tide was present in the sea. As a result, the sea was unapproachable and the shell fish inedible. This was unexpected, but we were told that this was “Red Tide season”. Then, we saw the trash. Without providing details, there was every kind of trash imaginable. It was dense, thick and nauseating. I have attached photos to provide a sense of the true nature of this disaster.

We spoke with your management about this situation. They said that this trash situation occurs from time-to-time, but especially every year during the Monsoon season from November through February. They blamed it on a river flowing from the mainland. Apparently, squatters live on the banks of the river and use it as their trash receptacle. Management took no responsibility for its effect on the resort. I observed that little is being done to ameliorate the trash infestation. No barriers are in place in the sea and I only saw one staff member picking up trash. The problem is certainly not mentioned in the brochure as a potential problem affecting the visitor experience.

So, what is left to experience at an island resort surrounded by a putrid sea? The beach was littered with garbage, kayaking was an unthinkable activity and every other aspect of life on the island was compromised as a result. We considered a walk into the jungle, but we were told that this needed to be scheduled in advance since a guide was required.

There are other problems that plague the Gayana Eco Resort. The sewage/drainage system emits a sewer smell into each unit and even the restaurants. We had to change the first room that we were given because of the smell only to find that the next room had a similar problem, although less so at first. The solution to the smell proposed by the staff was to burn aromatherapy candles to mask the sewage odor. At dinner we had to relocate our table to get as far away as possible from the stench. In my son’s room they discovered water bubbling up from the drain in their shower when the occupants in the adjacent room showered.

There are other annoyances that one would not expect at a “five-star” resort. The promised Wi-Fi barely worked. It was intermittent and slow. Normally, this would not be a big problem at this type of resort. After all we were not there to surf the web. But, when one is trapped in a room with not much else to do, Wi-Fi becomes more important. And, the greeting process, both at the peer and the island, was disorganized, impersonal and mass market.

During our meeting with management we attempted to get a refund of our $500 per night per room charge. They offered us no recourse except to provide us with a complimentary dinner that evening – the dinner when had to relocate our table. The management took no responsibility for any of the problems, saying that the trash problem was beyond their control.

This experience at the Gayana Eco Resort highlights a problem for the resort and one, also, for Sabah, Malaysia.

The resort can no longer call itself “five-star” with the commensurate pricing. They cannot guarantee that visitors will experience a lush tropical “eco-paradise”. If they continue to stay in business they must boldly warn prospective visitors that they might experience trash in the sea, declining facilities and red tide during three months of the year. Fully warned, the potential guests can then make a conscious decision to visit, or not. My suggestion is that you close down the Gayana Eco Resort until you fix all of the problems. Otherwise, you will continue to be guilty of gross misrepresentation. We were not the only visitors at this time and at other times, who have had this type of experience at the Gayana Eco Resort.

The problem of trash is likely not something that the resort can solve on its own. This is a national problem that must be solved by the government. If Malaysia believes that tourism will be a significant part of the economy, then a comprehensive plan must be implemented immediately to fix the underlying causes.

One thing is for sure. If it is not fixed, there will not be a tourism economy. People will go elsewhere.

As for my visit, I expect that the resort will issue me a refund for the approximately $2,000 USD that my son I spent for lodging - that is if they will ever respond to me. I spent other money in the restaurants, which was not insignificant. That is theirs to keep.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank SunapeeSam
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, 8 May 2014
Dear SunapeeSam,

Thank you so much for highlighting the flaws of your stay back in early February, I agree the water was less than attractive during this particular time. I also did read in our reports that we had an issue with our grey water pumps in the phase of rooms you were staying in, hence the smell from the drain.
We more than a lot of our compatriots, understands the devastating effect rubbish has on tourism and our lives in general. This issue is not just a Malaysian issue it is a worldwide problem, including the United States. I am not sure if you have ever heard about the Great Pacific garbage patch it makes riveting reading and highlights the damage we all do to our mother earth.
Due to the fact that mankind takes from nature and gives very little back, we actually do a lot to ensure that the current marine environment will be around for future generations to enjoy. As you would know, our Marine Ecology Research Centre or MERC as we call it, is all about giving back to nature. We propagate giant clams which acts as filters to our sea (some are already locally extinct). We also restore the depleted coral reefs and since this began fish have come back in much greater numbers. Most importantly we invite the local community and school children to our centre where we educate them in how to treat our marine environment. This is an effort which does not come without a considerable cost and completely without government subsidies if I may add.
As for the red tide, this is the first time during my 4 years in Borneo I have ever seen it to this extend. Normally it is a small patch which disappears after a few days. This time the red tide was all over Kota Kinabalu incl. the northern beaches and lasted for 6 weeks. Red tide is a natural phenomenon also known as algae bloom and it happens all over the tropics at different times of the year. Since we breed our own fish (another sustainable effort) there was never a question of our guest being in danger eating fresh seafood.
The rubbish dumping in South East Asia is a problem and it does take a great amount of political will to sort out. We lobby the local legislators to do more and you will be pleased to hear that a long term plan has been underwritten by the government in relation to this issue. Having said this, rubbish around Gayana is not an everyday occurrence. It only ever happens during the North East Monsoon (Nov-Feb) and even during this period it can be here one day and somewhere else the next day. We have nets surrounding both our resorts but tide and big wave movements mean rubbish can still enter our area. When the tide allows us to move in between the villas we will take it out of the sea and ship it to the main land for disposal. Currently we have collected approx. 2000 bags since November last year.
I think it is very unfair to hold us responsible for something which is completely out of our control. How should we react if our guest were caught in a tropical depression or if our sea became infested with jelly fish, would you ask for a full refund then as well? On our website we do share that the North East Monsoon can sometimes bring adverse weather and sea conditions and many of our guest will enquire what this means and we happily explain; so how is this misrepresentation!
To sum it up, I agree you were very unfortunate to arrive just when Gayana was hit by a wave of other peoples rubbish and red tide. However, our hardscape is constantly being upgraded; all rooms bar the ones you stayed in, are less than 1 year old and looking great. Our wifi and TV signal are not perfect but we are looking at ways to improve this. My team did not hide from you, we dealt with the issues the best we could and compensated you and your family with a complimentary dinner for your inconvenience.

Tomas Kastberg Andersen
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Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014 via mobile

This place is unbelievable! Total luxury, with gorgeous surroundings. Everything has been thought about. Waking each morning to your breakfast being delivered by boat to your balcony is special. The staff are so helpful and thoughtful and nothing is to much bother. Before you go you have to remember that Borneo is not the most developed of locations, but this to me is the appeal. Therefore within the expectations this place is real 5 star luxury. We had some trips over to the sister resort, equally as lovely. The pool etc is nicer but to me the accommodation at gayana, in the sea, can't be beaten! Truly sad to leave! Thank you everyone who made our stay so special!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank P100plr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2014

Where do I begin ... Arriving on the island my heart sank - the resort looks old and dated, but the worst thing was the brown dirty water and the amount of rubbish floating around the villas and on the beach. It was disgusting and I had decided there and then before I'd even got off the boat that there was no way I was going in the water. It is meant to be an eco resort, however I just can't accept that looking at the condition of the water.

Getting off the boat there was no proper greeting, we were just taken to the bar for a welcome drink. The bar wasn't open and they were doing construction behind the bar area - the seats were all pushed together and they had nightclub music playing. We were left here for 1.5hrs before our rooms was ready - no offer of a resort tour, or use of the pool, or even a visit to the marine centre. After being led to our Palm Villa (their most expensive) along a rickety boardwalk (that I am sure someone is going to fall though at some point) we realise our luggage was not even in our room yet. We are told it will be sent shortly, so we grab a not chilled drink from the mini bar and wait. It gets to a hour and we have to ring them to get our luggage and all they can tell us is that they are busy. We also request some ice to chill a few of the drinks. The bags finally arrive, but no ice.

After having a shower we realise there is only one towel in the bathroom - again we ring for another towel and remind them that we have still not received any ice. The Palm Villa is very spacious and has a plunge pool and direct access to the ocean. It is dated and there are stains on some of the fabric lounges and although there is a Bose remote, there is no Bose system, so the speakers in the bathroom don't work, nor does the volume controls mounted on some of the walls. There are no instructions for the coffee machine and no spoons to make tea/coffee with. The turndown service consists of someone bringing you a couple of bottles of water?! And housekeeping often seems to leave bags of rubbish and dirty towels/ sheets along the boardwalks. This was the case on our second day and we opened the door to find monkeys had gone through the bag and the rubbish was everywhere - we had to clean it up ourselves.

The biggest problem at this resort is the service and lack of it. A five star resort needs to have perfect and prompt service. There seems no direction for the staff, a serious communication breakdown when it comes to customer requests and services, plus the guest services button on our phone doesn't even work!! The food at the restaurants is good, although expensive, the drinks even more so, which explains why there is no one in the bar most of the time.

This was meant to be the perfect end to our Malaysian holiday and it has made me very, very angry that we spent so much on what we expected to be an amazing, relaxing couple of days. We paid over AU$800 a night which is what we are most angry about. I work in the travel industry in Australia and would never recommend this resort to anyone, I have stayed in many amazing five star hotels around the world (some on our Malaysia trip) and this is not one of them - it is 3.5-4 star at the absolute most and is not worth even half the rate the rooms are advertised for. We had also just got engaged a few days earlier and when asked if we were celebrating something special we said yes and they only offered us packages which we had to pay for?! What??

Paying that much to stay amongst rubbish with the worst service in old accommodation!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank PinniTravels
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, 29 March 2014
Dear Pinni Travels,

I am so sorry for the fact that you were not given the care nor attention you deserved when you stayed back in February. I agree we have had some communication issues but these have thankfully been rectified. I don't want to pass blame elsewhere, certain things such as sea condition and weather we cannot control. However, service and care for our guest has to be our number one priority and thankfully we exceed guest expectations more often than not. I very much hope you will get in touch with me personally so i can let you know what we have achieved since February.

Best Regards

Tomas Kastberg Andersen
tomas.andersen@gayana-eco-resort.com
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Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Level Contributor
172 reviews
142 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2014

This research centre for the conservation of giant clams and corals is located within the resort.
The work done to propagate the corals and giant clams is interesting. Its a small centre and would take only an hour to view the video and exhibits.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ibnibatutta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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