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“Very Good Full Service Resort” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gayana Eco Resort

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Gayana Eco Resort
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
76 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Very Good Full Service Resort”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2009

We greatly enjoyed our stay at Gayana Eco Resort. We had a comfortable and roomy sea view villa built on stilts over the lagoon.
Tip: Ask about the recreation opportunities and equipment . The use of kayaks and much more was included in our rate. However, in April, 2009, there was no in-room guide to the activities and equipment available.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kentgs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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431 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (108)
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English first
London
Level Contributor
38 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2009

Had a great time at the resort. Food is quality and overall setting is very peaceful. Excellent array of activities on offer and not too far away. The pool is a good size for chilling out after a long jungle trek or dive. Very affordable compared to other similiar places in the region but experience is not compromised. Really enjoyed the service and if anything bothered me maybe that resort refurbishment was goin on at the other end of where my room. Other than that superb stay and I will definitely come back.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AdventJunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2009

Having spent a week trekking in the jungle we were so looking forward to this but unfortunately it was not to be what we had signed for....

What is good:
- the deluxe chalets with ocean views and direct access to the sea are tastefully decorated and have all that you would expect from a luxurious resort (a/c, fancy tv, dvd player, safe, fridge...etc..note there was only a shower in ours);
- the staff is very friendly and trying very hard but unfortunately often fails to meet the level expected from a 5 star hotel;
- the food is good when it is warm (see below for more);
- the hotel's reef is not bad. would recommend to wear long sleeve shirt since they have tiny jellyfish and lice which sting

What is bad:
- there is on going construction work - expect a lot of banging throughout the day. They are currently working on the first of 10 new chalets so the work is likely to go on for a while;
- the chalets that do not have access to the sea do not have seating outside - the lagoon chalets are by the jetty where boats bring the day visitors and not very peaceful - some of the chalets (1 to 4 I believe but I am not entirely sure) are just in front of the arrival pontoon with a lot of traffic- all the deluxe chalets have an ocean view however in the evening the only thing you will see is the kitchen of the Chinese restaurant - not ideal!
- for breakfast you will be given the choice between the buffet or something on the menu. Note that on some days only the buffet is available. The buffet is simply substandard. No fresh orange juice and often no orange juice at all. On one occasion it took 35 minutes for us to get a cup of coffee. On the day the buffet was the only available option, all the food was cold. After complaining we were provided with something from the menu, again the poached eggs were cold.
- lunch/dinner - except for the steak, portions at the Macac restaurant tend to be rather small. The Chinese restaurant caters mainly for Asian customers and most of the guests we spoke to were very disappointed and only tried it once. Some of the guests who asked for clams were served snails! Although we were provided with complimentary water with our meals for the first three days, on the fourth day we were told that we had to buy a bottle of Evian! Only the guests who had just arrived complied. After insisting for a while we were served the hotel complimentary water. Bear in mind that there is nothing around the resort so you will have to take all your meals at the hotel. If you are a drinker, alcohol there is rather expensive.
- the level of service is well below what would be expected from a luxurious resort (£300 per night for B&B) - it took two days for dirty glasses and ice buckets to be picked up from outside of our chalet - it took 60 minutes for room service on one occasion - on arrival we were not offered a drink until we asked for it (we had been travelling for quite a while and it was very hot and humid) - it took a good 30 minutes to be shown to our room - There was complete confusion and the staff seemed unable to sort out the day trippers from the guests. Complete chaos! - on the day we left there was enough room for us to sit on the boat and we were expected to put our legs on top of the luggage. we refused for obvious reasons and the luggage on the boat was re arranged so that we would be able to sit comfortably - once we were off the captain put some music on (cheese 70s pop music). It was so loud we could have been on the first row at an O2 concert. We could not talk to each other. I wanted to ask for the music to be turned down a bit but the music was so loud that the captain could not have possibly heard me.
- noise - in addition to the construction noise, you can hear the staff speaking very loudly from very early in the morning. Either shouting at each other or carrying blaring walky talky.
- trekking behing the hotel - you can only do half of the trek at present as the other half is closed to guests - we were told that construction work was on going....we did indeed heard some construction work ongoing across the bay .
- Not as eco as it claims to be. When we were there we found A LOT of rubbish on the surrounding beaches ( the one reachable by kayak only), a few plastic bags and a dirty nappy on the hotel's reef....there is still leaving coral underneath the new chalets they are building..if you have the time snorkel there and you will see what a mess they have done of it....it is obvious that the construction of the current resort has contributed to the slow death of the reef....they have a project to grow coral but bearing in mind its growing rate it is unlikely to make much difference...guests are not briefed on the importance of the reef and its inhabitants...you will find people getting into the water covered with deet (which can be fatal to fish) and stepping on live coral in front of diving shop staff...the hotel keeps a number of very large fish in net enclosures (including sharks and turtles)..whilst some staff told us that this was for entertainment purposes for the guests others told us was that these fish had actually been rescued after suffering injuries...if you go wandering behind the main buildings you will find rubbish.

After raising our concerns we were told that the manager was not around. It was not until the next morning that the management team contacted us. They wanted to apologize and see if there was anything they could do to make it up to us. We asked for the construction work to be stopped immediately. They obliged and the work was suspended until we left. They also insisted in offering us our last dinner served on our balcony. The dinner was sumptuous from start to finish with the main dish being 4 small lobsters prepared and cooked to perfection. The deserts were also spectacular. Each of our dishes were brought to our chalet by boat - our waitress was very friendly and professional- unfortunately the driver's walky talky was blaring in the background which turned a romantic candle dinner into a comical experience...not only did it distract us and broke the mood it is likely to have kept our neighbours awake.
- privacy - no complete! you can see and be seen by at least one of your neighbours.

All in all not a bad place but definitely not 5 stars. The money asked for is not justified. Don't be fooled by the website!

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank treehouse23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2009

The resort is nice, but for the same amount of money, you get a much better resort in Thailand with much better food and especially service.

First, DO NOT book directly with the hotel, they can't give you a good rate, and the on line reservation staff is not at all helpful, the only thing they can offer is the publish rate. They don't even mention that as a walk in you get 20% discount at the Jesselton point jetty. If you book through agent, even agent in Kota Kinabaru, you get at least 25-30% off.

The stay in the hotel was not bad, but what up set us was the service of the staff at the jetty. On our way there, we were 2 hours too early, so the staffs were very happy to keep our bags for us, but on the way out, our flight was not until 6pm in the evening, and we had to check out at 1pm. After checked out, we took the ferry to the jetty, and we asked the staff to keep our bags for us until 4pm. The answer from the staff was "No, we can not keep your bags for you because you have checked out." and this is the same staff that book us in 2 days earlier, who also happily kept our bags for us. I told him this is not the right attitude towards their customers, especially someone who had just checked out 15 mins ago ( and we stayed in the best room they have). He told me, if you like to think so, it's your problem." I was shock by the attitude. The reason they gave us when asked why can't they keep our bags was that it "mess up" their jetty counter!!! They basically tell you "Don't come back!" For a luxury hotel that charged about almost USD500 per night for a room, this kind of service is not acceptable. Besides, what is to keep one luggage and a small bag for us?

I have stayed in many luxury hotels, Amanpuri hotel and villas in Phuket, Evason pool villa, Evason hide away in Hua Hin and Phuket, Banyan Tree in Phuket etc, Honestly, I have never encounter this kind of bad service.

The hotel itself is nice, because of the direct access to the sea, but this is not worth the money they are asking for, the western food in the restaurant is very poor, the room has nothing special other than the direct access to the sea, it's really nothing spectacular for almost 500USD. For the same amount of money, I can get a pool villa in Evason in Hua Hin with your own butler, food is much better and service is impeccable.

Over all, very disappointed with the service, I will not go back and will not recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Chotsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
237 reviews
132 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2009

I stayed at the Gayana Ecoresort for a night as a birthday treat for my partner. I'd been a little concerned that it wouldn't live up to its website or price, but in fact I was delighted and we had a lovely experience. At the Jesselton jetty we were treated very nicely, and the short boat ride was pleasant. On arrival the staff were a bit slow to check us in, but the foyer was very pleasant, and they eventually rallied and presented us with juice, cool towels, and Gayana beaded necklaces, before giving us a resort tour and leading us to our room. We'd chosen the jungle view (cheapest) villa which was beautiful, and seemed to vary from the more expensive options only in view and failing to have direct access to the sea, which was not a problem for us. A warning: their air conditioning isn't great, and in fact wasn't working at all in our first room. However, after sending an engineer to (unsuccessfully) try to fix it, they moved us to an adjacent villa without fuss, and the aircon was slightly better, though nobody could accuse it of being vigorous. The beds were large and comfortable, and the room was tastefully decorated. The bathrooms were also lovely, with huge showers, though it would have been nice to have a bath. We were very happy with the room. We spent much of our time at the infinity pool, which was small but very attractive, and we benefited from the resort not being very busy by often having it to ourselves. The poolside sun recliners were comfortable too, and staff from the adjacent Macac restaurant very polite and attentive, though took an amazingly long time to make drinks! Their lunch options were pricey but not extortionate. The same for their dinner menu, but only one vegetarian option (pasta - it was very nice). It was my partner's birthday and they made her a birthday cake, which was very sweet. We didn't try the other restaurant. Breakfast was glorious: two courses of beautifully prepared a la carte choices and as much juice and coffee as we could drink. In the short time we were there, we had a lovely time kayaking in the sea, and briefly snorkelled until my partner was stung by the copious sea urchins near the diving centre. We also enjoyed their little marine centre, with a touching pool and little aquarium. Their free wifi didn't seem to work, but they let us borrow their laptop... which went at snail's pace and we had to give up. They spontaneously offered free late check out (1pm) and we caught the 4pm boat back to KK.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ms_scotsgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Kelsey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2009

We stayed at Gayana Eco Resort for four nights as a part of our 14 day Borneo Trip. After all the Jungle Trips and trekking this was the right place to come to. The Resort is just beautiful. The Staff is extremly friendly & helpful (especially Edward). We stayed at the Deluxe Seaview Villa which has direct access to the Sea (staircase from Balcony into Sea), the mountain view & jungle view rooms do not offer this and you will have to go to the Diving/Snorkeling Area or small Beach to get into the water, which is a little awkward. There is a nice but small swimming pool at the Macak Restaurant area. All the rooms are very spacious and luxurious decorated and include a minibar & aircon. The Resort offers several trips which I cannot comment on because we have just stayed there to Relax. There are Kayaks to borrow to explore the surounding areas, there is also a diving center and a snorkeling area. We are very keen on snorkeling and there is a lot of marine life to see under water but the coral seams to have died off and after 14.00 h the tide comes in and the water disapears - you will not be able to access the sea from your room anymore for snorkeling. The breakfast included in the Room price is very good and there are several a la carte choices for you to make up your breakfast, The portions are generous, you wont go hungy. The Macak restaurant serves excellent food but there are not many choices on the dinner menu. The Seafood Restaurant offers a wide range of meals but when we were there nobody spoke english, the Restaurant had to call english speaking staff especially to serve us. I think this Restaurant is catering for chinese, japanese and hongkong visiters, it is not very western orientated. The prices for meals at the Gayana Eco Resort are a little on the steep side. If you want to leave the island to go shopping or just visit KK you will find that the Resort will charge you about 45 Ringgits per person for the 10 min boat ride to Jesselton pier, which is rather expensive. All in all the Resort is a brilliant place to relax but there is not much to do on the Island.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ManuGermany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Midlands
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2009

This was 1 of 2 hotels we stayed at in KK (the other was Shangri-La Tanjung Aru).
In comparison I enjoyed the exclusivity of Gayana much more than Shangri-la. Unfortunately only stayed there 1 night but made use of a full 24hrs worth of facilities before leaving, wished it was longer!
Main reason for hotel - island water sports / snorkel / dive

Boat trip - I have to agree that you do not need to get back to the Jesselton Point pier till 5 minutes before the journey as the boats are infrequent 2 hrly and on time! It was boiling hot outside and we had to wait in the shaded fanned waiting area, I sneakily went up to their air-cond. reception area upstairs to wait!

Arrival - beautifully greeted with a Gayana beaded necklace, cool refreshing freshly squeezed pink guava juice n a much needed ice-cold towel. We had a "garden view room" #27 but the front elevation still over looked unobstructively onto the open sea - fabulous view!

Waters - OK no kidding, Sabah has one of the worlds most loved diving sites - its true! I've been to Thailand / Indonesia / Great Barrier reef, and this is certainly one of the clearest waters yet! The eco resort have tried to re-create some wonderful corals habitat and they are suceeding no doubt! Just snorkelling you can encounter lots of soft + hard corals / sea urchins / cucumbers / star fishes and yes some non-stinging jelly fishes. Beware the tide out as the urchins r huge n even stick out of the waters in their massess! We made full use of the "free facilities" at the island, kayaking through the malgrove forest, wonderfully led by one of the friendliest water-loving Malaysian I've met. He even purposely dive deep to pick out hard corals n baby Nemos for us to see, in an unharming way of course!

Food - our package included breakfast n dinner, but the set dinner menu was only ordinary Chinese meal with no seafood, how could we resist the live seafood that was advertised in all those tanks at the Alualu restaurant. After much negotiation (this was the only bad thing) they allowed us to have the value of our set meals 55rmb to purchase our own Seafood ala carte meal. It was relatively well priced for the quality (HK standards!) given the largest "gunters" tiger prawns I've seen were only 70rmb each n live garoupas at 10rmb / 100g! Our dinner of 4 dishes n 2 fresh juices incl 15% tax was 250 rmb, n we were stuffed!
Breakfast - apart from it was not the typical buffet but ala carte style 2 course bfast which appeared to me to be more like dinner it was great! the only thing was the pool restaurant was alfresco, so it was scorching hot still.
Lunch - we had a special request for cooking the biggest seabass (I've ever seen 2.5kg) taken from the alualu restaurant in Malaysian style BBQ way with banana leaf etc. It was so big that even 2 ppl couldn't finish this. All this with drinks salad n tax for just under 200rmb...which for the quality was well worth it, but maybe they should have warned us it was that big, dinner might have been better!

Likes - exclusivity, waters, friendly staff except the Alualu rest. waitress, facilities, setting, food, bed - one of the most comfortable I've slept in - super King size with firm base but soft cushion top! free wifi - though it seem to only detect by the pool side area I was able to use my iPhone easily to skype!

Dislikes - the little squabble at dinner for the set menu to be changed, they had to ring the manager which seem to take forever n get the clearance. This is an exclusive resort n facilities only opened to guests apart from the Alualu restaurant and Marina for day visitors. However we noticed some Caucasian ppl who were obviously only Marina visitors making use of the pool side drink bar then even had the onus to use the pool! When demanded there were extra charges for anything else used at the reception area when they were leaving on the same boat as us, they rudely remarked in a shrewd way that they had purchased at the bar n thought that the pool was included!?!? I hope the managment will warn them appropriately next time. The Marina display was half empty, saw those giant turtles which were overtly friendly n came to the surface as soon as we approached, presuming we were going to feed them!

Definitely will come back, this was even better than Evason island resort at Phuket!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank droli
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 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Gayana Eco Hotel Kota Kinabalu
Gayana Resort

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