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
  • Romantic
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Families
  • Honeymoon
  • Room Service
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Internet Access
  • Anniversary and special occasions
  • Beachfront location

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.

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 (944)
  • Very good (420)
  • Average (188)
  • Poor (59)
  • Terrible (21)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Tranquil resort Super friendly staff

Apr 20, 2019 stevef12017 Liverpool, United Kingdom

Positives? Plenty of nature on the resort - monitor lizard, white tailed sea eagle, grey macaque, untold varieties of fish and butterfly were things that we saw (we may have been lucky). Very friendly and helpful staff (nothing was too much). Cuisine (either buffet style multi cuisine in the main restaurant or more expensive Japanese or… Read more
Positives? Plenty of nature on the resort - monitor lizard, white tailed sea eagle, grey macaque, untold varieties of fish and butterfly were things that we saw (we may have been lucky). Very friendly and helpful staff (nothing was too much). Cuisine (either buffet style multi cuisine in the main restaurant or more expensive Japanese or Fishermans Cove restaurants. I had a gorgeous red snapper cooked In olive oil and lemon one evening. Excursions - we did the beach barbeque, coral reef snorkel and sunset cruise - all were great but the cruise was the pick of them in my opinion. Spa treatment - this is a lovely peaceful area and the massage I had freed up some mobility in my neck that was long overdue! Our cleaner Enagh was lovely. Negatives? Yes there was some rubbish in the sea (they'd clean the beach each morning as a consequence). We had red flags on the beach on each day of our stay. This was due to the many jellyfish that managed to sneak through the net that was kept further out on the bay to keep them out! Neither of the above spoiled what was a lovely holiday for us. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating An amazing stay - great location and superlative staff

Apr 20, 2019 OxfordAardvark Oxford, UK

My wife and I stayed here for 9 nights at the beginning of April. We had booked direct over the YTL site from the UK (that could be a little easier to be honest, and did need a couple of e-mails to arrnage things). Once that was done everything was perfectly smooth. We were met from the airport as expected, and taken to the jetty where the… Read more
My wife and I stayed here for 9 nights at the beginning of April. We had booked direct over the YTL site from the UK (that could be a little easier to be honest, and did need a couple of e-mails to arrnage things). Once that was done everything was perfectly smooth. We were met from the airport as expected, and taken to the jetty where the boat transfers are arranged. We had expected to have to wait an hour or so for a boat as our flight didn't co-incide with a scheduled trip, but one was arranged within only a few minutes. Check-in was very smooth, and we were taken to our room. As others have commented this is quite a hilly location. Villas are positioned around a hillside and along the beach and gardens. If you have difficulty walking make sure you book a villa close to the gardens. Our villa was located on the hill above the reception area and perfectly positioned, with a great view of Mt Kinabalu for the sunrise. Rooms are large, with a separate walk-in waldrobe and very spacious bathroom (the bath was huge). The Resort offers various daily activities and there is plenty to do on the island, as well as relaxing. There is a small coral reef that can be reached from the beach if you enjoy snorkelling. The coral is in pretty good condition with different types of corals and fish. One real positive is that the marine team discourage the use of fins in order to protect the coral - would be great if more places did this. It was jellyfish season, so a little care was needed. Just take advice from the staff, both about jellyfish, and when and where to snorkel. We also took a boat trip to Pulau Mamutik, to snorkel at the Coral gardens site, which was excellent. We saw Turtles and black tip reef sharks, amongst great coral and lots of fish. The talk from Justin in the Wildlife centre is excellent. He is clearly passionate about what he does, and deserves huge support for his conservation efforts. On that note, the hotel has water in the room in re-fillable glass bottles rather than plastic, and no straws. Good to see - but the plastic cocktail mixers might be replaced with an alternative? There is an additional private beach that can be reached by boat, or a 60 minute trek over the hill. The trek is great - you can always take the boat back! The hotel beach is very clean and the sea is great for a swim. The private beach is beautiful, coral sands and clear water. T the private beach, there's a little cafe, a marine centre and changing/toilet facilities too. The hotel offer a complimentary return speedboat service to the private beach throughout the day. You can even arrange to have a pinic on the beach! Sunset cruise is something we've done elsewhere and is often disapointing. Not the case here - luxury boat, canapes, drinks and a great sunset (perhaps the sunset is not guaranteed!). The Spa was also excellent. We had the included massage, but went back from more. Amazing location, and excellent massages. There are three restuarants. The main buffet style, a Japanese and a fine dining fish restuarant. The buffet is very good, both at breakfast and dinner. On a number of occasions we were served a special chefs meal instead of the main buffet - steak and seafood here are excellent. The fish restuarant is excellent as well. A final mention is for the staff. We can't praise them enough. All of the staff are excellent, and can't do enough to help. The restaurant staff, in particular Ramesh, Marneh and Silih were very professional, polite and friendly and went out of their way to make sure that we were happy, Jenny, Sorian and Rain (?) were also helpful and friendly but we will have missed many others. You're made to feel like a VIP throughout the whole stay. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A tiny taste of paradise

Apr 17, 2019 chrisbV6473UQ Bidford-on-Avon, United Kingdom

We have never stayed at such a friendly resort. Without exception the staff impressed us with their happy, can-do approach. Nothing was too much trouble and the quality of accommodation was very impressive. A smaller and quieter resort than Shangri-La, and in many ways better because of that.
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Most exclusive resort ever been to and with the best trained staff

Apr 15, 2019 José Ramón C London, United Kingdom

My family and I have recently spent one whole week in amazing Gaya Island Resort. Right from the start we were blown away by the landscape, the magical setting, the views, the beach and the elegance of the hotel and its rooms. Also, the quality of the food is worth highlighting, with Chef Dolis, Chef Agus, Chef Ben and Ramesh providing guests with… Read more
My family and I have recently spent one whole week in amazing Gaya Island Resort. Right from the start we were blown away by the landscape, the magical setting, the views, the beach and the elegance of the hotel and its rooms. Also, the quality of the food is worth highlighting, with Chef Dolis, Chef Agus, Chef Ben and Ramesh providing guests with the best possible experience. On this note, I'd like to praise Ramesh for having spoiled my family and I so much... Thanks to him we felt even better than at home!! :-) I'd also like to mention that all the staff is highly qualified and very well trained. In particular, Baby Ann, Alice, Razlin, Wayne, Rashid and Megan went the extra mile for us. They genuinely cared about us and turned our stay into a unique experience. Speaking of experiences, here are some recommendations on our favorite activities: - Omasake Tepanyaki with Chef Ben - Jungle Trek with Megan - Mangroves Kayaking with Rashid - Coral garden snorkelling - Tavajun Beach Well done to the team at GIR and to YTL for having trained its staff so well. Karen, Lucia, Estela and I will be back very soon! We can't wait to see you all again!! Thank you so much for everything. :-) Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Best Resort We Have Ever Been!

Apr 15, 2019 John T

Me and my Girlfriend went to Gaya Island for 3 Nights, from 2nd-5th April. From once we set eyes on the Island, it was by far the best place we have seen and visited. We had a one bed chalet which was perfect, only a 1-minute walk from the resort. The staff are something else, with every little detail from check-in to dinner to check-out overseen… Read more
Me and my Girlfriend went to Gaya Island for 3 Nights, from 2nd-5th April. From once we set eyes on the Island, it was by far the best place we have seen and visited. We had a one bed chalet which was perfect, only a 1-minute walk from the resort. The staff are something else, with every little detail from check-in to dinner to check-out overseen with perfection. All staff are nicer than the previous, and always smiling. A special mention goes to Silih, who made the stay even more special by all his kind gestures throughout our stay. We both did not want to leave and I cannot begin to give Gaya Island enough praise. We will definitely be back!! Read less