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Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Pulau Gaya 88000 Malaysia
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US$227
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Free cancellation until 15/12/22
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About

#1 of 3 hotels in Pulau Gaya
Location
Cleanliness
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Gaya Island Resort is located on Pulau Gaya, the largest of a cluster of five islands that form the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a natural conservation area off the coast of Borneo, close to Kota Kinabalu. Gaya Island Resort has a unique setting: the land is fringed with a golden sandy beach, rocky coastal outcrops, and surrounded by coral reefs. The hilly island landscape is covered with lush tropical rainforest and an abundance of flora and fauna. And to complete this perfect setting, visible in the distance, is the stunning outline of Mount Kinabalu. The guest villa exterior respects Sabahan architecture uses local materials and blends harmoniously with the natural environment. The interior living space is designed with contemporary elegance to create warmth, comfort and a serene indoor setting. Gaya Island Resort is committed to ecologically sustainable practices to minimise the carbon footprint within its environment. Therefore the resort is a walking resort and only minimal motorised vehicles are used for operational purposes.
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Property amenities
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Pool
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room
Bar / lounge
Beach
Canoeing
Babysitting
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Wifi
Pool / beach towels
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Complimentary Instant Coffee
Special diet menus
Poolside bar
Diving
Snorkelling
Entertainment staff
Airport transportation
Spa
Couples massage
Facial treatments
Foot massage
Full body massage
Head massage
Massage
24-hour security
Baggage storage
Concierge
Sun umbrellas
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Ironing service
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Room features
Air conditioning
Private beach
Housekeeping
Private balcony
Safe
Minibar
Flatscreen TV
Room types
Ocean view
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
HOTEL STYLE
Hidden Gem
Lagoon View
Languages Spoken
English, Chinese, Malay
2017Reviews173Q+A100Room tips
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mostlyharmless wrote a review Nov 2022
Singapore, Singapore1252 contributions377 helpful votes
+1
Gaya Island Resort (GIR) is one of those stays where you need to know what you are looking for. Firstly, although (sometimes) the prices are luxury, it's really not quite comparable to a modern, spanking new resort on the mainland. It's an island resort in the middle of the TAR National Parks. So, you can't hop over to town for dinner (or you can, but you might have to pay a lot). And yes, food and drinks are going to be more expensive - you need to be mentally prepared for this. And bugs, reptiles, damp and insects? Yes, yes, and yes. Then why go? GIR is really quite a unique resort, built along the forested slopes of a tropical island, overlooked by towering trees, and surrounded by tropical forests and a plethora of wild-life. There are nature walks (shorter ones and longer ones to Tavajun Bay), but even meandering around the (steep) hotel access roads gives you a flavour of the views to be had, and some of the panorama's are quite spectacular. The beach is variable in quality, next to the hotel, but there is a long, somewhat narrow pool to work off, although it faces the morning sun and can get quite hot. There are also plenty of (paid) organised activities. Food options range from modest (Feast Village) to exceedingly expensive (Omakase). Breakfast quality was really quite good with a large range of options. A la carte meals were generously sized, and also quite good. Rooms consist of separate two-storied villa's - Kinabalu view and above are recommended, because otherwise you risk being sited in the lower reaches which though surrounded by verdant (damp?) tropical greenery, lack the views across the coastline. Villas are generously sized with a lot of comfort, with very large bathroom area including his and her's sinks. Reasonably good wifi and cable TV available. Perhaps showing their age a little in several ways with some occasional wear showing through, but realistically, the tropical climate is tremendously challenging on maintenance and no show stopping issue. Obviously designed in earlier times, with no built in USB chargers, air-conditioning controls hidden away in a small corner by the bed, and lighting switches perhaps a little eclectically placed. Somewhat surprisingly, no Nespresso or cafetiere coffee in rooms - just simple Nescafe instant coffee and simple tea bags - perhaps missing a little luxury, here, GIR! Bathroom consumables are still single use plastics, but I hear change is on the way. Service was always friendly, charming and helpful. In summary, stay here for the tropical forest experience, it's not exactly like the Maldives, but probably a rare opportunity to experience natural tropical forest and mangrove like areas with a little bit of luxury thrown in.
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Date of stay: October 2022
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Villas with a view are pricier but likely worth it...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Scouseandspouse wrote a review Nov 2022
London, United Kingdom189 contributions106 helpful votes
+1
This hotel really is exceptional in every way and no request is impossible. We had a Bayu villa and it was well-equipped, very spacious and extremely comfortable. The balcony is a great place to relax and watch the abundant wildlife. There is a daily programme of activities which you can book. Many are free (yoga, meditation, turtle talk, nature walks) and others including Coral Bay snorkelling and mangrove kayaking are chargeable. We thoroughly enjoyed these activities and all the staff leading them are highly skilled, knowledgable and great fun. There are 3 restaurants but as my husband doesn’t eat fish of any kind, we opted for the main one. There was no buffet available when we were there and the a la carte menu was quite fish heavy (I loved it!) but the staff were magnificent and he enjoyed several delicious non-fish, off-menu dishes during our stay. The housekeeping staff deserve a special mention. On arrival at Kota Kinabalu, Air Asia managed to soak our cases and all my clothes with kerosene. I was pretty upset and asked reception for help. Housekeeping took everything away, cases too, and cleaned the lot. Moreover, even though the fault was all down to Air Asia, there was no charge - this is incredible customer care! The 40m pool is fabulous and we never had trouble finding loungers. We also enjoyed happy hour every day at the pool bar. Breakfast is superb. So much choice - Asian and European food - and an egg station. We never went hungry! Above all, the thing that makes this resort outstanding is the staff and Cyril, the manager has built a fantastic team. Every single one of them is outstanding; Favian and Deborah in the restaurant looked after us so well. Perin and her housekeeping colleagues were unbelievably kind and caring. Ann and all her reception colleagues greeted us every day by name and nothing was too much trouble. Phoebe, Angel, Batu (activities) and all their colleagues were fun and friendly. The spa is lovely. We had a complementary Couples Massage and I returned for a gorgeous facial. I wish I could remember all the names! When we left, most of our favourite people assembled at the pier to give us a very touching “fond farewell”. In a nutshell, this place is heavenly and we look forward to returning. Thank you all so much.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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chloem425 wrote a review Nov 2022
London, United Kingdom46 contributions25 helpful votes
Stayed here for 4 nights last month on my honeymoon. It was absolutely fabulous, the staff are amazing, all so friendly. The canopy villas are gorgeous, like a little apartment. The pool is great as was the food. Highly recommend one evening at Fisherman's Cove. We had a spa treatment which was a real treat. Lots to do here also - guided nature walks, a visit to the marine centre to see Covid the sea turtle, mangrove kayaking, yoga etc. Although some of these are an additional cost. There are some parts of the resort which are unsightly but I don't think this takes from the overall experience. We had an amazing time there and didn't want to leave!
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Date of stay: October 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Susan B wrote a review Oct 2022
Southampton, United Kingdom156 contributions92 helpful votes
We stayed here for 5 nights at the end of our busy Borneo tour to relax and re-charge our batteries. Our room was lovely, well equipped and spacious. We were lucky not to be far from the centre and the pool, but it’s a big and spaced out site! There’s a lovely pool, and great snorkelling under and around the pier. Also a very lovely private beach. The board packages offered aren’t flexible enough. We opted for bed and breakfast which risks running up quite a bill if you aren’t careful. Evening meals, and drinks can add up! A wider range of options would have been helpful. That said, food and drink was good, and we enjoyed our stay. We opted to go on a couple of snorkelling expeds to the coral garden and to Police Bay. Marine ecologist and our guide Bata was great. He was knowledgeable, and a skilled free diver and took some great photos of our trips which were shared with us at the end of the day. We also took a trip to the private beach with Bata where he introduced us to the green sea turtle rescue programme that is supported by the hotel. Food wasn’t being served at the private beach whilst we were there, but beware of the naughty short tailed macaques if you take snacks – they are bold and will snatch your food. The staff do try to keep them away from you, but they are naughty monkeys! Our kayaking trip into the mangroves was equally enjoyable, well led and informative and again lovely photos were provided at the end of the day. Finally, we went on the free walking tour with Phoebe – which was interesting, but slippery in places and very hot! It’s quite a walk, so wear sensible shoes and be prepared to sweat! We enjoyed our 5 nights here – just about the right length of time taking into account the experiences we fitted in.
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Date of stay: October 2022
Cleanliness
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Room Tip: If you don't want a long uphill walk, ask for a room near the pool/centre.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Nataliebate wrote a review Oct 2022
1 contribution1 helpful vote
Positives -Nice grounds overall ( rough round the edges in some areas) -Lovely spacious rooms. -Pool area nice but with higher guest occupancy it would be crowded as it is not very big. -Good spa treatments -Good activities on offer , some free, some chargeable. Most are reasonably priced. Yoga teacher is great. -Marine centre is worth a visit - Staff are welcoming and friendly. Negatives -Over priced food and drink. For example approx £3.30 for a small soft drink( 40p in supermarket), £6.60 for a small can of beer, £11 cocktails. They do happy hour 4-6pm but only offer a sangria as a cocktail option ( house wine and orange juice), large bottle of water £6.60. -average / cheapest main dish is £20 at the feast village (cheapest restaurant). Food was average and definitely does not live up to the price. - fisherman cove average main meal is £30 per person -terrible coffee machine and coffee. - poor wine selection and pricey. For these prices I’d be expecting superb quality which isn’t the case. We did try and speak to the manager briefly about this and he asked us how our stay was but we found him quite defensive and he tried to say the prices were high because of duty and tax ( He was referring to alcohol). This doesn’t explain the inflated soft drinks and food prices. - to put it in perspective Kota Kinabalu restaurant meals range from £1.50- £6.00 max! The food is so much better in KK. - other hotels we stayed at in Malaysia were inflated prices but not to this extent . Transfers The resort charge you £35 a person to take you to Kota Kinabalu by boat ( if you want to explore city/ go out for dinner drinks). It’s an 8 min boat ride each way. Outrageous! We did manage to get a few free boat rides. Staff initially told us we got 1 free ride included ( which nobody told us) and then it jumped to 2 then 3. On the last occasion the manager became involved in the conversation and said that transfers would be free at scheduled times as long as there was space on the boat. If like us you want to visit kk I would suggest speaking to cyrill, he authorised a free transfer Basically they don’t want you to leave the island as they want you to spend your money at the resort . Felt like a big tourist trap. No actual beach. You can get a 5 min boat ride to tavajun bay but it’s not amazing. No 5 star perks we’ve had else where - I.e bring A coffee to your table at breakfast, offer you water and fill it up by the pool, go above and beyond. Overall it’s more like a 3-4 star hotel.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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sharinabynes wrote a review Oct 2022
Singapore, Singapore197 contributions67 helpful votes
+1
Nice, old-fashioned (you can call it rustic) resort that’s well-maintained. They have walking tours, yoga and meditation classes and a turtle talk - all complimentary for guests. Staff are hospitable and are all well-mannered. However, they lack the attention to details Eg. No toothbrush in room upon check-in. Lizard poop not cleaned. Didn’t clear pool seats after people leave. We also checked in on my partner’s birthday and no one wished her happy birthday (the very first hotel that doesn’t do this, given we do birthday holidays). So I planned beforehand for a birthday cake to be served after our 500rm omakase dinner, and that wasn’t served. communication breakdown. Ferry timings that we booked was jumbled as well. There’s also disparity in treatment. I was told by Lam who was at the reception that to get on the ferry to the jetty and back (I needed medical supplies); I will be charged 150rm for the ferry trip. But learnt from another guest that it’s actually free to get on the ferry and back. Granted, she was very polite but some empathy would have been nice as it’s not like I’m going galivanting. She did say there was an in-house doctor so that’s good to know. The resort don’t quite have a wet weather plan. It rained cats & dogs on our 3rd day and we asked if there’s 1) room service (no such thing here) and 2) can we get a shuttle since we were way up high (we were in Kota Kinabalu room). No shuttle. You want breakfast or u want to get out of the room, use the umbrella. It’s actually rather dangerous; walking down 2 slippery slopes. If you stay in the cheaper villa, it’s much nearer to the main area. Food is boring on this resort. Our 500rm omakase meal is such a let down. The restaurant has no ambience whatsoever. Food at Feast Village was so-so. I paid 20USD for a plate of rice and grilled fish. No comments on that. But I gotta say I do enjoy the buffet spread for breakfast. Got a good selection of food. They need to do something abt their coffee. And their house water is salty. It took us a while to get used to it. Actually we still haven’t gotten used to it. Wifi in room suddenly stopped working. Called in the afternoon for them to check and they didn’t get back. Had to call again after dinner to have someone come and check. Gym equipment needs some tlc. Some of the weights had cracks in the handles and can actually cause injury. This resort has good potential. Staff are warm and great but expected a bit more from YTL - some pro-activeness, ability to read customers and paying attention to details will help. Hope it’ll be a better place for future tourists.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Gymstress wrote a review Oct 2022
London, United Kingdom26 contributions10 helpful votes
+1
A beautifully appointed and positioned resort. Reached only by boat, the approach to the pier/resort is spectacular. A lovely warm welcome and one is shown to one’s room. Most of the rooms are in buildings on stilts, very in keeping with the local buildings. The entire site nestled subtly into the forested sea front site
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Date of stay: September 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: The resort hasn’t long reopened (August 2022) and the entire site hasn’t been completely restarted.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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KateC1999 wrote a review Oct 2022
Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom174 contributions81 helpful votes
Sad to say we only had 3 days here and we wish we could have stayed longer. This is a lovely hotel with great facilities. The bed rooms are spacious with stunning views across the bay and they really do have everything you need including a wonderful comfy bed, a beach bag, umbrellas, mosquito repellant and bite cream as well as all the standard amenities. The hotel offers a boat shuttle to a private beach which has sun loungers, toilets and drinks can be purchased- highly recommend this activity. Watch out for the monkey thieves though! Snorkelling to the Coral Garden was great- we saw loads of fish, reef sharks, and an octopus. The unsung heroes are the guys that clean the beaches each morning. Overnight a shocking amount of rubbish is washed ashore and these guys are out there at day light clearing it all away. So, when the guests get up they see a pristine beach. Thank you for the amazing job you do, so sad that it has to be done.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Valerie B wrote a review Oct 2022
+1
What can I say about Gaya Island Resort, it not only set in a beautiful, dreamy location but the facilities are second to none. But what really makes this Resort a top resort is the staff. They are friendly, warm and welcoming. Nothing is too much trouble. The greeting every day felt personal and true. I loved trying my Malay on them and they were more than happy helping he to learn their beautiful language. The food in all their restaurants was high quality and delicious and with 4 places to choose from each night, there was always something else to try. Breakfast buffet covered a variety of food to suit all. I really can't praise this Resort and its staff enough. I would, if anything maybe advise maybe having a few more games to hand for those rainy days and hosting some culture evenings of dance/music etc would be nice. Thank You Gaya Island Resort :-) Val xx
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Date of stay: September 2022
Value
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
Room Tip: Be warned if travelling with a friend, they don't have twin rooms! I would also recommend going...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Steve T wrote a review Oct 2022
Buckingham, United Kingdom24 contributions11 helpful votes
We had 3 nights stay here on the 2nd leg of our 4- destination stay to Malaysian Borneo. Everything worked perfectly from the moment we took their boat transfer to the island. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, offering great service. Our room was spacious, clean and well equipped, including a giant bath. We only used their buffet evening meal offering, to keep the cost down as the other options were very expensive. Drinks were expensive too but I guess that's to be expected on an island. The pool and beach were lovely and we also spent half a day on their Tavajun private beach just around the corner by boat. We both really enjoyed our stay here.
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Date of stay: September 2022
Location
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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PRICE RANGE
US$176 - US$248 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
LOCATION
MalaysiaSabahWest Coast DivisionKota Kinabalu DistrictPulau Gaya
NUMBER OF ROOMS
121
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GAYA ISLAND RESORT (R̶M̶ ̶1̶,̶5̶7̶1̶) RM 722: UPDATED 2022 Reviews, Price Comparison and 3,739 Photos (Pulau Gaya) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Gaya Island Resort
Which popular attractions are close to Gaya Island Resort?
Nearby attractions include Imago Shopping Mall (5.7 km), Tanjung Aru Beach (7.9 km), and Kota Kinabalu City Mosque (5.0 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Gaya Island Resort?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
Which room amenities are available at Gaya Island Resort?
Top room amenities include a minibar, air conditioning, and a flat screen TV.
What food & drink options are available at Gaya Island Resort?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant, a lounge, and a poolside bar during their stay.
What are some restaurants close to Gaya Island Resort?
Conveniently located restaurants include Ferdinand's, Laundroluxe, and El Centro.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Gaya Island Resort?
Yes, guests have access to a pool and a fitness centre during their stay.
Does Gaya Island Resort have airport transportation?
Yes, Gaya Island Resort offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Are any cleaning services offered at Gaya Island Resort?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Gaya Island Resort?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English, Chinese, and Malay.
Are there any historical sites close to Gaya Island Resort?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Monsopiad Cultural Village (14.8 km).
Does Gaya Island Resort have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the harbour view available here.