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.

“Beyond unbelievable, will return!”
Review of Gayana Eco 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 12 more sites!
Gayana Eco Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Beyond unbelievable, will return!”
Reviewed 20 May 2014

After reading the negative reviews I was more than nervous for our stay at Gayana Eco Resort, but unlike those reviews, our entire experience was incredible.

We stayed for 4 days from the 14th to 18th of May to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.

Before we left for the trip, the resort emailed to inform us that the pool was undergoing emergency repairs and would be out of action for a week. They offered to move us to their sister resort Bunga Raya as they had a full working pool. As we had booked an ocean villa with direct access, this would not suit, so we asked them to confirm the sea condition (as we were TERRIFIED after seeing the previous TA review with all the rubbish) and were told that it was very clear, so we decided to keep our existing booking. And I am SO GLAD we did.

We arrived late on the Wednesday, but they were fantastic and arranged the car to boat transfers for us at the time we needed with no extra charge. It was raining on our arrival and we were given huge umbrellas every time we were not under cover.

We woke up to paradise…..

The ocean was amazing….. It was like looking in to an aquarium, so many incredible fish and sea life.

The room was great with a massive king bed, huge shower with 5 settings to choose from and brilliant aircon and fan. Staying in the ocean villa we had free mini bar inclusive of soft drinks, water and beer, however note, there are no “snacks” anywhere in the resort, so if you are a chips / nuts / chocolate type of person, buy some before arriving on the island. Robes and slippers were provided as were massive soft beach / pool towels.

Room service was fantastic with a great selection and arrived within 30mins of ordering every time. My fave was the Roti Prata and their signature salad “The Macac”. (I think I ordered this 3 times) The breakfast boat is awesome too. They deliver your pre-ordered (included in room cost) breakfast at a time you choose! We also chose eat in the Macac restaurant which has a full cooked menu and continental buffet.

As we were celebrating our anniversary we booked a 5 course “western” romantic dinner and it was simply MAGIC. There was actually too much food but it was totally worth it for the experience. The table setting was stunning and it was worth every cent.

Also every night, diners at every table are serenaded but a lovely acoustic duo who sing and play guitar beautifully.

The other restaurant Alu Alu (seafood) was pricy, but OMFG, the food was incredible and so so fresh. A.K, our waiter, really knew his stuff. He basically chose everything for us and it was all perfect.

There is an abundance of wildlife including some devious monkeys, so don’t leave stuff on the decks or your doors open. There are also wild bores, Giant clams, jellyfish, starfish, a SEA SNAKE (so scared lol) and endless types of fish. There are some adorable “resort” cats and dogs too.

The MERC centre is amazing and for 135MYR you can “adopt” some coral. It allows you to plant a broken (but alive) stem into a cement base, which they will replant in the artificial reef. They will send periodic updates for a year. The MERC centre is very educational and not to be missed.

Snorkelling is a MUST DO! During our stay we were lucky enough to see black squid. There were hundreds and they were incredible to watch. (Mostly juvenile). The snorkelling gear is free of charge and really decent quality for a resort. I have snorkelled in a lot of places, but Malaysia so far is the best. Diving can be arranged. I used the free stand up paddle-board and that was an awesome experience looking down into the reef from above.

Gayana did run a complimentary boat to their sister resort every day should we want to use the pool there, however we did do this as we had all we needed at Gayana (even without the pool).

My husband and I also paid 150MYR each for a cooking class with Aziz, a resort chef. The class was fantastic, and he is a great teacher. Very patient and funny. We cooked 3 courses, and were allowed to keep our awesome apron and chef’s hats. We were also given copies of the recipes of what we cooked. The best part, was returning to the Macac restaurant that night to eat what we had cooked!!! I highly recommend this class.

The spa to be honest, is not the best, nor is it worth the price, but in saying that, I am comparing to other Asian resorts. The therapists were fantastic at what they do, and the facial and massage we received were still very good.

Affendy, Aziz, A.K and Ruwell made our stay amazing! All were so attentive and friendly and genuinely happy. Not “oh it’s a guest” fake happy. It was very refreshing.

A few things that could be improved on, but bear in mind, Asia, and certain standards are not always up to par with the western world….

There is trash. It comes in with the tide. The resort does their best, and often we saw staff on boats and on shore picking it up. Some guests (including me) even got in on the action, and would collect bits here and there. This won’t be rectified until people are educated on ocean pollution and what it does to marine life, but when you are not taught to respect nature, it’s hard to put it into practice. I would like to see the resort have a dedicated team that collect it all day, every day with divers too, as it is an eco-resort. But they do try.

Some things are a bit dated… but remember the resort is built on the ocean / beach and is exposed to all the elements, all the time.

The power does randomly go off. It didn’t bother us as it came back on within seconds. To the people in previous reviews, please remember, you are on an island…. Of the main grids, this stuff does happen.

Wi-Fi – now this one did hurt. There is basically no Wi-Fi access in the ocean villas. The signal is way too weak. As a community director, I am online on 3 devices all day every day, so I really did struggle. But I did get enough signal in the restaurants to check emails, Facebook, new sites etc. Downloading from iTunes or newsstand did not work. If you can’t live without connection, I suggest buying a prepaid data sim in KK before going to the island, as I was able to receive phone service outside the villa. Also Samsung devices seemed to have better connection / reception then my Apple ones.

So in summary, we had an incredible time, and we will return. We talked about making this our annual anniversary destination as it was truly beautiful, relaxing and just perfect. When travelling in Asia, to places like Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia etc, you need to remember that although they rely heavily on tourism, they don’t always educate or support the environment the way some western countries do.

Room Tip: Ocean access villa's are worth the money.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jazskimo
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, 20 May 2014
Dear Jazskimo,

Wow thank you for such a wonderful and thorough review, I shall ensure this is shared amongst everyone in Gayana. Creating raving fans or ambassadors of our property is the key to our future success so thank you for becoming one.
We truly hope to see you and your husband back in Gayana soon again.

All the best to both of you.

Tomas
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

452 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    218
    136
    54
    21
    23
See reviews for
98
244
14
4
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (111)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Port Macquarie, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2014

My sister and I stayed 3 nights in the beautiful Ocean Villa (Rm 44) in April. I had read the previous reviews about the resort but definitely did not see the large amount of rubbish floating nearby or experience any "stench".
The Ocean Villa was superb - and especially having your own private jetty to jump into the lagoon to cool off at any time (in the clear water). The bathroom and overall cleanliness of the room was of a very high standard.
There are 2 restaurants on the resort - the main restaurant is next to reception overlooking the water and has a mixture of food styles (Asian, Western, Thai & Malay). The 2nd restaurant (next to the Pool) also has a wide range of food to choose from and both are reasonably priced (particularly for an island resort). From 6-7pm was Happy Hour where the first drink is free and the remainder are 1/2 price. Visit the Eco-Centre at the front of the resort where the environmental efforts for the clam population is admnirable. The theatrerette shows a short video presentation of the work undertaken then the friendly guide takes you on a very interactive tour with specimens and a well presented aquarium. Well worth the visit (its free)
There are activities to do (snorkel, kayak, bushwalking and more) but its not a "raging" resort by any means with nightclubs - more a relaxed resort where you decide how much or little you want to do. One of the most ingenious (and novel) features of the resort was having your breakfast delivered by your jetty. The night before you'd place your order and time - then its "ferried" to you at the approximate time to enjoy your brekky on the balcony. This was included in the price too.
Any negatives?.. Not really. Although as an Aussie we tend to speak faster - so I had to ensure that I would slow my spepech down to enable the staff to understand my request.... minor thing really.
So I throughly recommend the Oceans Villa _ Rm 44 is good as you;re away from the front of the resort (which can get a bit noisy with everyone walking past at all hours). We were warned about the monkeys fromthe rainforest and not to leave ANY food outside (or inside) as they'll come down and eat it. However, we noticed a few stray dogs keeping them at bay.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Vietnamexplorer
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, 20 May 2014
Dear Vietnamexplorer,

Exceeding expectations is what we try to achieve with every guest visiting our beautiful resort. I am so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us.Thank you for sharing your experience with fellow TripAdvisor readers, we hope to see you again.

Tomas
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
409 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2014

Secluded and very quiet. Beautiful and serene. Chinese seafood restaurant was great. Hot breakfast a-la-carte served instead of buffet breakfast. Best massage I have had in a long time although pricey.
Unfortunately plagued with red tide at the time of our visit end March, therefore by midday the water was an opaque reddish-brown colour but clear first thing in the morning. Rubbish littered in the water was disappointing to see, however we also stayed on the mainland at Shangri-la Rasa Ria and there was rubbish along their beach too so it doesn't seem to be isolated to Gaya Island. Really isn't much to do on the island, so if you're not one for lounging by the pool all day every day, 2 nights stay will suffice. Otherwise you will need to catch their ferry to the mainland which does not come very often. Staff were a little slow with some requests for extra pillows and sometimes when you called to front desk, call went unanswered.

Room Tip: Lagoon room was sufficient as direct ocean access was pointless during red tide.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Family_of_thre3
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, 17 May 2014
Dear Family_of_thre3,

Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry you had to experience Sabah during the worst red tide ever. However I am please to tell you that our crystal clear waters have returned to us and the rubbish no where to be found. I agree something must be done in the long run for Sabah to remain with a "green image", trust me we lobby as hard as we can.
As I have stated before, our environmental efforts, especially when it comes to marine ecology, goes well beyond what most people could imagine. I do hope you had a chance to get emerged in our Marine Ecology Research Centre so you could see and share the efforts we put in to "giving back to nature what mankind has taken". For sparkling turquoise water and very little rubbish best time to visit is March - November. This is when the wind blows from the southwest as opposed to the northeast which is the direction our resorts are facing. Please do let me know should you come back to Sabah.

Thanks

Tomas
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
31 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 May 2014

then things went downhill. We was picked up from the airport then taken to the ferry port and waited for the 230pm boat. Things were going along ok and staff were friendly and helpful. Then a short boat ride to the resort although make sure your baggage goes on the right boat as one of our bags ended up on a boat going to their sister resort, Bunga raya. On seeing the resort from the boat we decided to go for an upgrade to the Palm Villas which looked stunning. They managed to upgrade us and only had to wait 30 mins or so for the room to be prepared. This was fine but after emailing the hotel for a few weeks regarding a trip to view the Orang-utans and an email to confirm it had been reserved and at check in they would give us the details, I found that nobody knew anything when asked. Didnt think much of it at first.
We went to the room which was impressive and the views were amazing and the room too.
After a bit of time looking closer things started going downhill from there. Our beach towels were stained with bleach, wifi was an absolute joke and you was lucky to get an image sent let alone anything else. The TV channels were all fuzzy, ipod dock was useless as its wire had been cut but left there.
Over the next few days tiles dropped off the bathroom wall, breakfast was served to our terrace cold and without cutlery, bedding was changed but the sheets had holes in, wifi wasnt working sometimes and when I asked as had important business files to send, we was told the connection is shared with the macac resaurant and everybody must be using it (I checked and there was 4 people at the restaurant, 2 of which were in the pool), water was dirty and never saw anyone going around cleaning it up. As you can see from one photo there was even a chair floating in the water between the villas and also in another photo you see plastic and detergent bottle. The smell of sewage near the first villas and the macac restaurant was nauseating, and the general choice of food in the restaurants were very limited for western tastes although I appreciate that Asian cliente are better looked after as they would be a larger percentage of customers. Also after the first night, the AC got steadily worse and on our last night for which we had spent the whole day at the sister resort, we got back to find that house keeping had left our main doors open for which the room was like a sauna all night (let alone the fact God knows who could have entered our room with all the terrace doors left open. Very very poor from a security point of view.
Mr Rainer, the manager came over after we complained considering the amount of money we was paying per night but was getting no better than a B and B type service. He apologised for the low quality and said he would be talking to housekeeping and compensated us one night upgrade costs but frankly I am not after the money, I just expect good quality service for what I am paying for. Read my last review where we stayed at the Shangri-La in Boracay 2 weeks before and we got a 1000 times better service for less money.
We went to the Bunga Raya resort a few times as it was better for food options there but even then on the first night the Koi restaurant messed up with my wifes order where she asked for something non spicy as she is allergic but a sauce came with the dish for which numbed her mouth for the rest of the night and couldnt eat. Also service was painfully slow considering the restaurant was only 20% full. The beach grill however is much much better and would recommend eating there if you have to stay at Gayana or Bunga Raya if Asian sea food is not your style.
I did do a diving package and this however was excellent and very memorable and my guide did a great job. Also the trip to see the Orangutans went well and cant really fault it apart from you have to remember it wont feel like a real forest when you think it is on the grounds of a large resort.
Would I go to Borneo again, most definitely yes. Very convenient as it is only under 3 hours from Hong Kong. Would I stay at Gayana or Bunga Raya again? No way!

Room Tip: We stayed in Villa 84 which most likely had the best open view towards the sea. Long walk from recep...
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank starmanistanbul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rainer S, Executive Assistant Manager at Gayana Eco Resort, responded to this review, 18 May 2014
Dear starmanistanbul,

As spoken in our conversation at the resort I have noted down all your comments and shared the issues with the team and all responsible leaders immediately. We have recognized our shortcomings in our service in this particular instance which certainly didn’t meet your expectations as well as our standards. Please let me assure you that we have put better control measures in place to guarantee best services for our guests at all times. Preventive maintenance plans also have been scheduled and elaborated for maintaining best conditions of our guest villas. These also include a plan for better cabling to improve wireless internet services.

We do acknowledge and welcome every comment and critique as it enables us to sharpen our efforts in our strive to provide the best of hospitality paired with friendly and effective service quality and therefore we thank you for your contribution of which I have also shared your positive comment with our Dive Base Team.

Regards

Rainer Steinhilber
Executive Assistant Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Pulau Gaya
3.2 mi away
Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)
11.8 mi away
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
8.1 mi away
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
#13 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
1,314 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.7 mi away
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
#6 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
2,034 reviews
2.6 mi away
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
#4 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
1,390 reviews
3.1 mi away
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
Hilton Kota Kinabalu
#2 of 91 in Kota Kinabalu
165 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Gayana Eco Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Asiatravel.com Holdings, Hotels.com, Priceline, Ctrip TA, Ebookers, Preferred Hotels, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd, HotelQuickly and Cancelon so you can book your Gayana Eco 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.
Also Known As:
Gayana Eco Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Gayana Resort

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