What to expect
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Last 5 reviews
We stayed 7 nights in January 2020 at Gaya Island Resort. Everything was really perfect. We enjoyed it very much. The rooms were large, nice, clean and they are well serviced twice an day. The nature is so beautiful and green and the beach have a beautiful view. We ate at all the restaurants and the food was always well cooked, prepared with fresh ingredients and tasted very good. The chef Agus is absolutely incredible person who always did everything for you and the chef personally goes around to ensure everyone is happy and satisfied. Our son thanks you so much for the tuna. We will miss his laugh for a long time. 😊 The hotel has many small extras that we appreciated a lot like beach bag, flip flops, new sand artwork daily on the beach, snacks by the pool, the staff who served cold water during the day by the pool...etc. The private beach is a must visit.Beautiful beach with clear water and many beautiful shells. We also especially want to thank Jack and Sylvester for taking such good care of us. - Jack arranged for us an incredible trip to Sandakan. The trip was very nice and everything ran perfectly. We will never forget that trip. - Sylvester arranged an unforgettable sunset cruise last night for us. Coral garden snorkeling was also a very nice experience with Sylvester. We are so grateful for everything you two did for us. You are lovely types. We wish you all the best in the future. We also want to thank the hotel nurse for taking so good care of our son when he was ill. The entire staff treat you like family and want to do their best for you. Such a great holiday that we will remember for the rest of our lives.This is definitely a place we will return to again. Thank you so much for the warm hospitality Catherine, the General Manager, and the entire staff. Love: Linda Petteri Emil Anton ❤️
Great resort in the marine national park
Gaya Island Resort is a great resort located directly in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Gaya Island. There are no public boats but the hotel offers frequent scheduled transfers- check the resort’s website. Transfer included if you book directly with the resort (recommended). What I really love about this place is that the resort takes environmental protection serious - they have both, a marine and a wildlife breeding base offering support for animals in need. The naturalists are really knowledgeable and provide great tours and. Information Sessions - some of the best I ever attended in a resort! The villas are spread across the large resort grounds - be prepared for some walking as they offer no transport (remember - you‘re in a national park!). The resort primarily targets Asian guests with China to be by far the number one guest nationality. Not all of the Chinese guests are used to international travel what might cause some frustration for both, hotel personnel and other guests the like. Go for the Kinabalu suites as location and view is much better than from the other rooms. Rooms come all with the same size and are large and equipped with what you would expect at a hotel belonging to SLH. The hotel and rooms are in a critical age (opened 2002) and you perceive at details that they are worn or even broken. The hotel offers plenty of restaurants (make sure to check out the Japanese restaurant Omakase) while buffet restaurant Feast handles most of the guest including breakfast. Great breakfast selection - in line with what you would expect in this category. Unfortunately no a la carte at the evening. Generally portion sizes offered are way too large and prone for huge amounts of food waste which really surprised me for a hotel that is otherwise very environmentally concerned. One of the best things at this place are the great activities ranging from guided nature walks to Yoga, meditation, Mangrove kayaking or snorkeling. Some are charged with a small and appropriate fee, others like nature walks, yoga and meditation are free of charge. The primarily local personnel is outstandingly friendly and helpful- they will for sure give you a great time there! The hotel remains in some specific areas behind its possibilities. To give some examples: The Spa is super nice but super expensive and - sorry guy’s- I don‘t pay 450 MYR for a 80 min massage in Malaysia regardless how good or fancy it is which is more than it would cost back home in Germany. Lower the price and skip some of the fancy stuff and guests will come! Same with yoga: Yoga teacher Christine from the States is just amazing! But why do you fly in a yoga teacher from the States giving Mo-Sat just one hour yoga and one hour meditation class? Why not to offer a yoga retreat or several classes for different levels and charge a reasonable fee (not 450 MYR/hour ;-))? Beside of this, just a great place with great personnel and certainly a „go“! Many thanks to all from Gaya Island!
Amazing setting and service
This hotel is not our cup of tea but that’s personal preference and not the hotels fault, although we wouldn’t return the hotel is amazing and we will review it fairly. The resort is beautiful, villas perched on hillsides nestled into the rainforest. We opted for a Kinabalu Villa, it’s worth paying for, the hike as others have called it is an easy walk, we liked it as some of the villas lower down are close an area with standing water which can be a bit smelly, plus the views from the top are stunning. The room had a lovely balcony, great bedroom with shutters all round, walk in wardrobe, dressing area and a bathroom to die for, the bath did take ages to run but just think about the location before complaining! Food was amazing and not overly expensive, the buffet is like A La Carte, especially in the evening where they will cook meat and fish to order. We ate at Fisherman’s Cove, I don’t eat Seafood so they arranged a special menu for me on NYE, much to my husbands upset as my food was much nicer than his! Wine is expensive and they don’t have the best choice, alcohol isn’t cheap in general but we found this to be the case across Malaysia in general as it is heavily taxed. We did the guided walk, which was really interesting and our guide was a real character. Service is amazing, the manager is constantly walking around talking to guests, all the staff can not do enough for you. Watch out for the monkeys, if they are in a pack don’t think they are cute and walk towards them, let them go ahead! Slight criticism, hotel was most likely at capacity and if you went down after 10am it could be difficult to get a sun lounger. We had no problem with bites, just the odd one, use the mosquito repellent they provide. So why is it not for us, too many children and there was a lack of atmosphere in the evening, we like to have a drink at a lively bar, with some kind of entertainment, not a full on rave but just something! If you want somewhere to totally relax and zone out, this is the place for you.
Relaxing with great service
This resort is similar to Pangkor Resort but slightly smaller. Nevertheless we enjoyed our stay as the place was beautiful and most importantly service was good. Ramesh and his team ensured our stay was pleasant with their impeccable good service and Chef Dolis was wonderful and created a delicious seafood spread for us. The snorkelling expedition was good and Sylvester was a great help.
Wonderful island, average service
Arriving to the island by boat from Jesselton point in KK (you will miss the tiny sign which tells you where to check in at the port!) we were greeted warmly but with some confusion about who we were because we missed the apparently vital check in at the port! We explained we went straight to the boat and seemed to clear it up. We then had an extensive talk about the facilities and restaurants, explained about the lovely places you could eat.. to then be told that they were all full and we would need to pre book! A helpful email about this prior to our stay would not hurt. Anyway, with some persuasion we managed to get a table at the(sold out!) BBQ which was really great. Lovely seafood and all you can drink for a relatively reasonable price. The beach is wonderful. Calm seas and warm water. You can snorkel very close and see fish and coral. The nature walk was fun and interesting. We even managed to see a giant monitor lizard on the beach and a viper snake but don’t expect a huge amount of wildlife to see. The rooms are comfy and large but the water pressure is rubbish so give yourself half an hour to run a bath. I didn’t like that they use smelly polluting trucks to get about the resort. Other places we’ve stayed where it’s very spread out use electric golf buggie. Better for the noice and also for the air. The buffet is ok. The breakfast can be busy so we went earlier to avoid the crowds. The kayaking in the mangroves is a must. Overall we really enjoyed the stay. Just a few organizational issues they need to sort out in terms of the booking system and the boat is additional which I think should be included.
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