I had pretty high expectations after so many glowing reviews of the hotel when we were planning where to stay and booked the Gaya Centre hotel. The rooms looked decent in the pictures and the price was very affordable. Upon making room booking, I requested for a queen bed room and was told that they cannot guarantee it as it was based on availability. This was a little puzzling as it was a full prepayment and hence a confirmed room booking. Nevertheless, they said they would put in this request for me.
We arrived in the night at the hotel and was welcomed by their staff who would open the doors for you. At the front desk, I again repeated my request for a queen bed room which the staff acknolwedged and gave us our room key. We went up, flashed our key and opened the door to a twin bedded room. We immediately went back down with all our luggage to inform them that it was a twin bed instead of a queen. The front desk never apologised and just changed the room. This time it was a queen bed room but somehow there was the stench of drainage from the toilet. Sick of moving rooms once more, we just let it be and hoped for the stench to dissipate after time. That never happened and we endured the stinking toilet for 4 nights.
Wifi was only available in the lobby and is very slow. There was one night when we wanted to make a dinner reservation at a restaurant. My husband approached one female staff at the front desk for help and was told that they do not make reservations as they didn't have the restaurant number. Full stop. We then searched for the number on the ipad and went back to ask them to help with the reservation. The same female staff told him to go to our room to make this call ourselves. Unable to believe the response he got from the front desk, I went with him and addressed all 3 staff there just to make sure I understand correctly that this hotel does not help guests make restaurant reservations as a service and that I were to incur the cost of a call charge from my room to do it. One male staff who appeared to be the senior one was surprised that the female staff would have given such a response to us and graciously said they do assist with this and that I could call from my room too and there will be no charge as there is a problem with their system. So I asked, if there was no problem with the system, I would incur the charge then? He was unable to answer and quickly said, yes, we can make a reservation for you. This is the first time I have experienced a refusal to help from any hotel front desk.
Location wise, it is very close ( 10 min walk) to Jesselton Jetty which will be convenient for scuba divers. We also dived with Diverse Borneo which was right at the back of the hotel too. Suria Sabah shopping centre was terribly disappointing as I somehow had a replica of Suria KLCC in mind. They are both worlds apart. Shopping is dismal and food choices are few.The food court served really bad food and we could not eat the 3 different dishes we ordered. Food along Gaya Street was better. There are also many good ones along the waterfront and at Sedco Complex. It is also easy to walk to the markets from the hotel. The other shopping centre next to the hotel is Wisma Merdeka which was very similar to Lot 10 in KL.
Breakfast at the hotel was pretty good and as per most of the reviews, the view of the sea from the cafe is very nice. The western dishes of the breakfast stay the same every day. The asian dishes change daily. Breakfast was included in our room rate so it was pretty good value. Service at the G Cafe was great and their staff always smiled and were ready to help. If only the front desk took some lessons from them.
I will probably not stay at this hotel again and I do hope that my mediocre experience with them is a one off as it seems the other travellers seem to have it better than me!
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