Gaya Island Resort

Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

The hotel

Lying on the shores of Pulau Gaya, set within a marine park - a natural conservation area - the outline of Mount Kinabalu can be seen from the resort. Accessible only by boat, the resort is just 15-minutes from the mainland, features a house reef and provides some spectacular views of the ocean and the haunting slopes of the mountain beyond. Peaceful Kinabalu Villas are set above the rainforest with views stretching across the South China Sea, Bayu Villas are set hillside amongst lush rainforest and the Canopy Villas are on a gentle slope within walking distance of the resort's pristine beach. Each spacious villa is constructed from local materials, blending harmoniously into the natural environment and offering a range of facilities. Taking a proactive role in aspiring to maintain the beauty of its natural environment, the Marine Centre on the resort’s private beach focuses on conservation efforts which include the restoration of the reefs and a turtle rescue programme, while one of the projects at the resort’s Wildlife Centre is the preservation and rehabilitation of the rare proboscis monkeys that reside on the island.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Spa
  • Scuba Diving
  • Restaurant
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Snorkelling
  • Anniversary and special occasions
  • Families
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Internet Access
  • Room Service
  • Swimming Pool

Where is it

Lying on the shores of Pulau Gaya, against the hillside and amongst the lush landscape of an ancient rainforest. Transfer time approximately 30 minutes from Kota Kinabalu Airport to the Gaya Lounge at the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal and approximately 15 minutes to the resort by boat. Guests need to arrive 20 minutes before the scheduled boat transfer.

Hotel information

120 villas and 1 suite. All with an outdoor terrace, spacious bedroom, flatscreen TV with satellite channels, an open bathroom with oversized bathtub, double dresser, writing desk and safe. Bayu Villas are situated on the hillside and offer 47 sq m of living space, spectacular views of the surrounding tropical mangrove or rainforest and sleep maximum 2 adults. Connecting rooms are available.

Full Board option: includes lunch: appetiser, main course and dessert at Feast Village, Pool Bar and Lounge or Tavajun Bay. Dinner: appetiser, main course and dessert at Feast Village, Omakase or Fisherman's Cove. Beverages include house mineral water, tea and coffee.

Canopy Villas are located on a gently sloping hillside amongst tropical mangroves, offer 47 sq m of living space and sleep maximum 2 adults.

Kinabalu Villas located on the hillside offering fantastic views of the South China Sea, 47 sq m of living space and sleep maximum 2 adults. Connecting rooms are available.

The Suria Suite is located on the sloping hillside and offers 188 sq m of living space, divided into two levels. The ground floor features a spacious living area, private dining room, TV room, powder room and a pantry, opening onto an outdoor terrace. The first floor is divided into 2 bedrooms, each with a separate en-suite, walk-in wardrobe and vanity area, and opens onto a private balcony, equipped with its own outdoor bath. The Suria Suite sleeps maximum 4 adults.

  • Booking Bonus: book by 60 days or more prior to travel and adults receive up to 15% off the accommodation cost between 1 Apr–19 Dec '19, 6 Jan–23 Jan '20 and 3 Feb–31 Mar '20 when staying 3 nights or more.

    Any applicable offers have been calculated into the prices shown. Offers may not be combinable.

  • Booking Bonus: book by 31 Mar '20 and adults receive up to 10% off the accommodation cost between 1 Apr–19 Dec '19, 6 Jan–23 Jan '20 and 3 Feb–31 Mar '20 when staying 5 nights or more.

    Any applicable offers have been calculated into the prices shown. Offers may not be combinable.

  • Booking Bonus: book by 19 Dec '19 and adults receive up to 10% off the accommodation cost between 1 Oct–19 Dec '19.

    Any applicable offers have been calculated into the prices shown. Offers may not be combinable.

  • Booking Bonus: book by 60 days or more prior to travel and adults receive up to 20% off the accommodation cost between 1 Apr–19 Dec '20, 6 Jan–10 Feb '21 and 22 Feb–31 Mar '21 when staying 3 nights or more.

    Any applicable offers have been calculated into the prices shown. Offers may not be combinable.

Omakase (open for dinner; serving Japanese cuisine in 3 different omakase-style dining experiences: teppanyaki, shabu-shabu and nabe). Feast Village (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; dynamic open kitchens offer Japanese/Korean, Asian and Western selections). Fisherman's Cove (open for dinner; serving seafood themed dishes. No children under 12 years. Dress code: smart/casual including full-length trousers and smart shoes). Pool Bar and Lounge (open all-day; serving light refreshments). Tavajun Bay (single dish meal. Personalised picnics also available*). Private dining. 40 metre swimming pool. Spa Village*. Its PURE activities programme also provides an array of cultural and natural experiences that include jungle walks, yoga, snorkelling trips and cookery lessons. Water sports centre*. Complimentary WiFi. Concierge service.

2 nights between 1 Apr-19 Dec '19, 6 Jan-23 Jan '20 and 14 Feb-31 Mar '20.

3 nights between 20 Dec '19-5 Jan '20 and 24 Jan-2 Feb '20.

* Denotes local charge.

Please note: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department have introduced a Tourism Tax on accommodation across the country. A flat fee of RM10, approximately $2.34, will be taxed per room per night on all types of hotels and accommodation options. This tax is solely for foreign tourists and they will be liable to pay directly to the hotel upon check-in. 

Sabah Parks Conservation Fee: a fee will apply to each guest, including children, payable at the end of your stay. Fees are MYR 32.00 (approx £6) on the first night and MYR 22.00 (approx £4) for each additional night, subject to change.

Please note: The resort is committed to minimising its carbon footprint within its environment. Therefore, it is a walking only resort.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (993)
  • Very good (431)
  • Average (190)
  • Poor (58)
  • Terrible (22)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Perfect end to a tour of Borneo

Jun 15, 2019 Steve F

We spent a wonderful 4 days at GIR at the end of two weeks touring Singapore and Borneo to celebrate my 50th birthday. The hotel is beautiful and set in a stunning location with views of Mount KInabalu. Our room was fantastic and offered all the facilities you would expect from a hotel of this type, rooms are typically set away from the main… Read more
We spent a wonderful 4 days at GIR at the end of two weeks touring Singapore and Borneo to celebrate my 50th birthday. The hotel is beautiful and set in a stunning location with views of Mount KInabalu. Our room was fantastic and offered all the facilities you would expect from a hotel of this type, rooms are typically set away from the main hotel buildings ensuring peace and quiet along with beautiful rain forest and sea views. Three restaurants cater for all tastes and we particularly enjoyed the superb fish menu offered at Fishermans Cove and for a "different" dining experience, the Teppanyaki menu at Omakasi. Throughout our stay we were extremely impressed by the standard of service offered by all the staff, being greeted by name by smiling staff really does make a huge difference ..... as does being presented with a birthday cake form the restaurant staff singing Happy Birthday !! Thanks for a wonderful stay ... the perfect end to a perfect holiday!! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wonderful team, Unique experiences, natural beauty!

Jun 13, 2019 LanaK182 Singapore, Singapore

Gaya Island Resort offers a luxury getaway for anyone who wants to experience abundant sun and sea within a national park/UNESCO site - in this case, a lush rainforest buzzing with bird calls and insect sounds, and a marine conservation area with beautiful coral gardens teeming with marine life. Add an excellent staff throughout the resort who… Read more
Gaya Island Resort offers a luxury getaway for anyone who wants to experience abundant sun and sea within a national park/UNESCO site - in this case, a lush rainforest buzzing with bird calls and insect sounds, and a marine conservation area with beautiful coral gardens teeming with marine life. Add an excellent staff throughout the resort who mostly work as a great team to pamper their guests, delicious cuisine from the kitchens that use lots of fresh local produce, and you're set for a great time! Upon arrival at Jesselton Point after a 20 min cab ride from the airport, the nondescript GIR Lounge at Jesselton Point was easy to miss in the bustle of food stalls around. There was no clear signage indicating its location, especially for first-time visitors keen to catch the hotel speedboat. However, an observant porter transferring a rack of luggage saw me looking lost and enquired if I was going to GIR. He then added my bag to the pile and brought me to the small lounge where I was quickly checked in before being ushered on to the hotel speedboat. That was my first brush with the standout staff who impressed throughout my 4D/3N stay with a consistently high quality of service and care. Mostly everyone embodied this gracious culture, including those at the front desk, restaurants, spa, housekeeping, boat and activities people, and their managers. If you feel energetic, there is a range of daily activities to keep you busy. Some are complimentary eg. yoga, meditation, jungle walks and nature talks, swimming in the clear waters of the bay, working out at the gym, or visiting the marine conservation centre by speedboat; while others require a fee eg. snorkelling, scuba diving, mangrove kayaking, or leisurely massages at the Spa Village. If not, there's nothing to stop you chilling by the pool, beach or library, or in your comfortable, spacious, private villa in-between meals at Feast Village, Omakase, Fisherman's Cove or a special barbeque on the beach. Having said that, don't expect pristine surroundings. The luxury resort is, after all, carved out of primary jungle so there are definitely mosquitoes and bugs! You may also spot monkeys, listen to the noisy oriental pied hornbill perched on a tall tree near the wildlife centre, a giant flying squirrel that launches hunting trips from its hutch at precisely 6.54pm every evening (!), and even get to see a snake or two (or more!) within proximity of the resort boardwalk (although untrained eyes like mine would not notice them unless pointed out by the resident experts). So if you visit, go not only with a sense of adventure, but also a deep respect for nature (in the spirit of 'take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints'). A final word to fellow visitors: Do understand that there are guests who may be there just to relax, catch up on sleep, and enjoy the natural ambience; children who are privileged enough to accompany you also need to learn some consideration for others. There's really something to be said for resorts that do not allow children under 16 on their premises! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Best service and relaxation after climbing Mt Kinabalu

Jun 13, 2019 X4450CWmartinl Bromma, Sweden

First class service. Excellent accomodation and the Restaurant Manager Silih and Food & Beverage Manager Ramesh were always around to make sure the guests had everything we needed. I preferred the main/regular restaurant with the enormous buffet and at dinner the seafood was perfectly cooked. Even the prosecco we had later in the room was very… Read more
First class service. Excellent accomodation and the Restaurant Manager Silih and Food & Beverage Manager Ramesh were always around to make sure the guests had everything we needed. I preferred the main/regular restaurant with the enormous buffet and at dinner the seafood was perfectly cooked. Even the prosecco we had later in the room was very good. It was the perfect R & R place after our climb of Mt Kinabalu. Our kid loved the pool. Don't forget to book the massage as soon as you get there, if not before (we did). It is very popular and we enjoyed it so much we wished we had made more appointments. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Put it on your travel list

Jun 13, 2019 aoifem986 Hong Kong, China

My husband and I stayed in a Kinabalu Villa for one week recently and had a wonderful and memorable time on the island. The villa was set beautifully overlooking the beach, with views of Mount Kinabalu. It had a large terrace and comfortable outdoor seating to fully enjoy the surroundings. The villa itself was tastefully decorated and very… Read more
My husband and I stayed in a Kinabalu Villa for one week recently and had a wonderful and memorable time on the island. The villa was set beautifully overlooking the beach, with views of Mount Kinabalu. It had a large terrace and comfortable outdoor seating to fully enjoy the surroundings. The villa itself was tastefully decorated and very specious; with a walk-in storage wardrobe and a large shower and bathtub. The location of the resort is one of its unique selling points and the proximity of a beautiful beach is a huge plus. There is also a shaded garden area and hammocks to relax in and take some respite from the heat of the day. What really makes the resort outstanding is the staff. From check in at the jetty, to the reception, spa, activities, bar and restaurant staff; everyone was friendly, hospitable and seemed genuinely engaged with the guests. A special mention must go to Xia who we met a number of times during our stay and found her to be very professional, thoughtful and efficient. Ramesh was also an excellent ambassador of the F&B function and made himself available to us and other guests regularly. I think the resort is a great destination and worth a visit, especially for young couples. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Lovely Spot

Jun 12, 2019 Ann C Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

This resort excels in good service and a friendly staff. The rooms are spacious and lovely; the setting quite breathtaking. My daughter and I took a cooking class that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Our few days at Gaya Island Resort ended a busy two week trip to Borneo. This proved a restful and perfect ending to our trip.