We spent 5 nights in Gayana Eco at the Palm Villa for our honeymoon in early May of 2014.
The check-in process was rather smooth; we were greeted at the check-in office on the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, left our luggage and took the boat to arrive at the facility. The trip takes just about 15-20 minutes with the hotel's boat and is a nice experience. After arriving at the hotel, upon a short wait to finalize the check-in at the front desk we were led to our room by a member of the friendly staff.
Though we were already amazed by the pictures of the Palm Villa before our arrival, we were simply stunned when we entered the room (Villa #83). It was spacious and luxurious, with a perfect view of the bay. The management was kind enough to offer us a free bottle of sparkling wine since it was our honeymoon. When requested to bring over the bottle, they brought a warm bottle of sparkling with no bucket nor ice - which was a bit weird but can still be considered as an honest mistake.
We spent the first afternoon & night inside and did not leave the room. We had read the reviews that the monkeys could very well pay unwelcome visits to the rooms and there is of course the mosquito factor - so we absolutely made sure that no window and/or door was left open.
The second day, we left our room for dinner around 6pm. The afternoon turn-down service had just arrived and cleaned the room, so we left the room together with them. When we got back to the room two hours later around 8pm, I directly headed to the terrace and my husband went to the mens room by the entrance, the smaller one. While waiting for my husband to come to the terrace, I barely saw a quick movement from inside the room. The terrace windows are darkened/mirrored to decrease transparency so I was not sure on what it was, hence I looked more carefully. It was then when I saw a roughly hand sized creature move rapidly up and down the terrace door, inside the room. Quite shocked, I screamed and saw a mouse (it was perhaps the same one that I saw moments ago in the room or perhaps another - not sure, but it did move rather fast) run out of the room, down the terrace stairs into the stairs that lead to the ocean. Honestly I still can not tell whether it was the same mouse moving inside the room and outside down to the sea, or two different ones.
Upon hearing me scream, my husband came out to the balcony to see what's up, and I told him what happened. He went back in the room, checked around to see if there was any mouse inside, but did not spot any. What he saw, instead, was that the floor in the larger bathroom was covered with mouse feces, scattered all around the bathroom area - including inside the bathtub. Inside a room with no windows or doors open. Right after the cleaning. With no food left around. Nice, quite fun times on our honeymoon indeed.
We called the room service right away and let them know what happened. They sent two ladies to see what's up; which called the management as it was obvious that there were unwanted visitors in the room and that we were rather upset with what had transpired. After all, we were well aware that the facility was just by the forest, which was the very reason why we booked the Palm Villa, as it was the farthest from the forest into the sea - and we had absolutely made sure that no window or door was left open/unattended for a second.
The late shift manager -Mr Alfonso, I believe- came to our room to take care of the situation. He apologized for the incident, and stated that what we saw was most likely a shrew rather than a mouse, and added that this should not be too much of a surprise considering the fact that the premises were built just by the forest. Though we fully understand that natural life can definitely not be avoided on a such-placed facility, it is still unacceptable that the rooms can not guarantee an animal-free space. The manager offered us to move to the adjacent room (Villa #82). When asked how we'd be ensured that this new room would be secured from any animals from entering in -after all, apparently closing the doors/windows is not enough- he stated the best they could do is set mouse traps in front of the door and in the terrace area. We asked whether they had any sort of mouse repellants (such as those sonar devices), but no luck. As there was not much we could do, we moved to Villa #82. I guess it is more than fair to say that I did not have the best sleep of my night that night. On a related note, the proposed mouse traps were never set that night.
Next morning, my husband went into the bathroom, only to see that the bath tub contained mouse feces again - which were not there last night. Seems like we had visitors in this new room as well - lovely. We had already booked a trip to the sister resort Bunga Raya at 11am, so before our leave we stopped by the front desk and told them that the situation was becoming quite frustrating. They stated that they could perhaps offer us a new room on Bunga Raya and told us to check out our options while we are there.
We arrived at the Bunga Raya, and went out to see what options we have out there, were we to change our room once again. That said, none of the available rooms came any close to Palm Villa so switching to Bunga Raya would be nothing but an unnecessary downgrade. Hence, before heading out back to Gayana Eco, we requested that we would like to speak to someone in charge when we get there.
Upon our arrival at Gayana Eco, we were greeted by Mr Ranier -executive assistant manager, I believe, sorry for typos if any. He also stated that this was quite an undesired situation for them as well, and mentioned about how close they were to the forest again. The explanation he could come up with regarding the issue was that earlier guests must have left food outside, the scent which had summoned the shrews. He offered to move us to a different villa again, #85, saying this villa had not had any guests in the past 4-5 days so likely it was not a place that the shrews would frequent. 3rd night, 3rd move to 3rd villa - my dream honeymoon indeed. Important to mention that the management offered us a dinner as a compensation to show their goodwill.
The last two nights were relatively quiet; visually mouse-free, at least.
In order to capture some quick highlights other than mouse incident, I can say that the facility is stunning in terms of nature and view but the hygiene and the restaurants are mediocre. Comparing the charges, you would definitely expect much more to feel special. Noting down the fact that the mouse incidents may affect our general judgement and pull that down for obvious reasons, the facility is not a good value for money. Limited food and activity options make someone feel quite trapped in the island. Frankly, I would never consider to re-visit this place or recommend to any friends. Overall, this place is not as premium & special as it is promoted and you would expect considering the premium price you pay.
- 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:
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- Also Known As:
- Gayana Eco Hotel Kota Kinabalu
- Gayana Resort