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
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Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1052)
  • Very good (442)
  • Average (194)
  • Poor (58)
  • Terrible (24)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Honeymoon trip of DREAMS!!!!!

Aug 17, 2019 Joannemalone

This is a paradise on Earth! We spent 5 nights at Gaya Island resort as part of our honeymoon exploring Malaysia. From start to finish it was a five star incredible experience. The scenery is breath taking, there are numerous activities on offer each day, we did mangrove kayaking, craft making, a sunset cruise, we also arranged a gourmet picnic on… Read more
This is a paradise on Earth! We spent 5 nights at Gaya Island resort as part of our honeymoon exploring Malaysia. From start to finish it was a five star incredible experience. The scenery is breath taking, there are numerous activities on offer each day, we did mangrove kayaking, craft making, a sunset cruise, we also arranged a gourmet picnic on the private beach. We had a couples massage in the spa village, such a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience. We had the pleasure of attending a nature talk in the wildlife centre, given by Justin which was one of the most worthwhile experiences we had while at Gaya island. It was so fascinating to learn about the work Justin and his team are undertaking to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment on the island. His knowledge and passion for his job are unparalleled, such an interesting and informed person. We learned so much from his talk and wish him the very best with any future endeavors. We attended all 3 restaurants on the island, Feast Village is a buffet style restaurant, excellent choice of food, definitely something to suit all tastes and requirements, however service on occasion was quite slow and had to ask several times for a glass of wine. Fisherman's Cove, the seafood restaurant was an experience in fine dining, delicious food beautifully presented with flawless service. Incredibly tasty and a lovely ambiance. For us the stand out restaurant was the Japanese restaurant, in particular Ben the chef made the evening so memorable, not only for his exceptional culinary skills but his entertaining and fabulous personality made the experience so enjoyable and one we will not forget. The island is privileged to have such a talented chef at their disposal. Truly among the best food I have ever tasted. There is also a bar lounge and pool area which is very family friendly. Alcohol is expensive so we stuck to the happy hour options. The resort is kept impeccably clean and all staff are hard working and attentive to their jobs. Mary in reception couldn't do enough for us. All staff are polite and mannerly, we were greeted with a smile and a warm enthusiastic hello by every member of staff we encountered. We stayed in a Bayu villa overlooking a lake, superb, so spacious, clean and comfortable with an incredible shower. Thunder storms at this time of year affected our slumber on two nights. Overall, a stunning experience and one we will never forget. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Best restaurant ever!

Aug 17, 2019 North_Hants1

Ramesh and Dolis who run a very tight ship in the Feast Village could not do enough to ensure that each and every mealtime was a special occasion. They, together with their large team went out of their way to ensure our every request was satisfied and this includes our two rather "picky" young daughters who both exclaimed that this was "the best… Read more
Ramesh and Dolis who run a very tight ship in the Feast Village could not do enough to ensure that each and every mealtime was a special occasion. They, together with their large team went out of their way to ensure our every request was satisfied and this includes our two rather "picky" young daughters who both exclaimed that this was "the best restaurant ever". The steep ascent and steps to our accommodation after each mealtime gave us an opportunity to walk it off a little! Overall our 7 night experience was totally relaxing, the nature themed excursions fun and informative, the staff extremely friendly and helpful and in general this family holiday was everything we wanted it to be and more. Our two daughters aged 9 and 11 are particularly interested in marine conservation and the plight of marine animals affected by global warming and plastic pollution. We were lucky enough to talk to Scott to discuss the work he and his team are doing at the turtle rescue centre and this together with the boat trips highlighted the growing problems with the quantities of plastic visible in the sea surrounding the island. We all found the scale of this problem to be quite shocking when viewed first hand. The accommodation as you would expect was fantastic, the grounds clean and well maintained, all staff whether front or back of house were delightful, courteous and helpful and all in all an experience that we as a family will never forget. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Postcard Without Borders

Aug 16, 2019 Jacqueline2650 Sydney, Australia

In every respect Gaya Island Resort has you feeling you’re living in a postcard - all the cliches tumble over themselves - crystal clear waters, idyllic retreat, slice of paradise , breathtakingly beautiful - such a wonderful haven to refresh, recuperate, ‘live the dream’. From the reception desk at Jessellton Pier where your luggage is collected… Read more
In every respect Gaya Island Resort has you feeling you’re living in a postcard - all the cliches tumble over themselves - crystal clear waters, idyllic retreat, slice of paradise , breathtakingly beautiful - such a wonderful haven to refresh, recuperate, ‘live the dream’. From the reception desk at Jessellton Pier where your luggage is collected and you are taken on your 15 minute motor boat transfer to your return, for us, 7 days later, attention to detail, comfort, quality cuisine, a sense of genuine welcome from ALL staff - all exceeded expectations. We indulged in weightless floating in the very warm china sea, fabulous snorkelling within the resort’s netted beach area (we hired from the resort at 10RM for an hour, but bring your own if you want to do lots of snorkelling ) and also took up the option to take a speed boat to a nearby island to snorkel for an hour, was enchanted with the kayak paddle up the mangrove embanked stream. Special thank you to Wah for spoiling us with the fresh boiling water for the teapot and tea we bring on all our travels, for Amanda, Mary, and all the lovely staff, and especially too, Ramesh, the Food & Beverage Manager, who made us feel like royalty as he spoilt us with his thoughtfulness and attention. Oh, and the Chef, Dolisis (?) for his fingerlicking cuisine...We’d love to live the postcard dream again. Tarima cassi!! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Great place to chill

Aug 15, 2019 richardvickib Hamilton, New Zealand

This is a great place to relax and indulge. The crew are great and always trying to please. The room was clean, very comfortable and well appointed. The Satay cooks and crew were special! The private beach was excellent on our last day.
Image of the Tripadvisor rating So relaxing and friendly.

Aug 14, 2019 Susan H

We stayed here for 14 nights. Best holiday ever. Most people use this resort as a “stop off” at the end of a tour or a gap in between places, we thought we could use it as a base, this is not the case. The resort is very isolated but there is a boat that goes back and forth to the mainland regularly. We found plenty to do on the island by going on… Read more
We stayed here for 14 nights. Best holiday ever. Most people use this resort as a “stop off” at the end of a tour or a gap in between places, we thought we could use it as a base, this is not the case. The resort is very isolated but there is a boat that goes back and forth to the mainland regularly. We found plenty to do on the island by going on their own trips. The staff are amazing and absolutely nothing is impossible. Jack met us on arrival and showed us around the resort and took us to our room. We were at the top of a very steep hill with stunning views. Jack said if we found the hill too much he would move us but we were ok. We arrived in the restaurant that evening to be greeted by Dolis the chef and then Ramesh the food and beverage manager. Dolis took us round and pointed out where everything was. I explained that I have an onion allergy and he then took me round again and asked each station what was onion free, after that every night I arrived for dinner Dolis had cooked me a special meal. The staff are all so friendly and helpful. We wanted to do the river cruise, it was cancelled due to the weather but no problem, they ran it the next day and as the other guests pulled out we had a private tour. Absolutely brilliant, saw lots of monkeys and birds all on the island. If you’re looking for a fantastic resort where you can really relax then this is the place. Read less