Gaya Island Resort

Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

The hotel

Just 15 minutes from the mainland, this resort features a house reef and provides some spectacular views of the ocean and the haunting slopes of the mountain beyond. Set within a marine park — a natural conservation area — the island boasts an onsite marine centre aimed at rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles and a wildlife centre dedicated to the protection and preservation of proboscis monkeys. The treatments at the tranquil spa reflect the cultural healing traditions of Sabah's many indigenous people. Discoveries, authentic experiences and a sense of intimacy with the natural world prevail throughout the resort offering travellers and families an escape that is distinctively Borneo.

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 amongst tropical mangroves, set on the gently sloping hillside with a beautiful outlook, offer 47 sq m of living space and sleep maximum 2 adults.

Kinabalu Villas offer 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 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 (open for lunch). 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. Marine Centre conservation efforts include coral reef restoration and a turtle rescue programme. Wildlife Centre conservation projects include the preservation and rehabilitation of the rare proboscis monkeys that reside on the island. 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 30.00 (approx £6) on the first night and MYR 20.00 (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 (1221)
  • Very good (465)
  • Average (199)
  • Poor (60)
  • Terrible (29)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Bitterly disappointing service - not worth the risk in COVID times

Sep 24, 2020 Mark_03A

Was due to visit Gaya Island Resort in May 2020 but due to COVID had to cancel the trip. Initially the hotel company was responsive and promised to refund the trip, however has since gone silent (as seems to be the case for a separate reviewer) and I will have to try and retrieve payment via my credit card company. A real shame as we will go to… Read more
Was due to visit Gaya Island Resort in May 2020 but due to COVID had to cancel the trip. Initially the hotel company was responsive and promised to refund the trip, however has since gone silent (as seems to be the case for a separate reviewer) and I will have to try and retrieve payment via my credit card company. A real shame as we will go to Borneo at some point in the future but this very disappointing experience has put me off this resort. Wouldn't recommend anyone else to take the risk of booking with this company as you won't see your payment back again, whether or not you manage to go on your holiday. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Paradise!

Sep 4, 2020 hcmknight Nottingham, United Kingdom

Gaya Island Resort is the nicest place I've ever stayed! I stayed for 2 nights with a friend, but would happily return in the future for a much longer stay. Right from getting the small boat over to Gaya Island, the staff were so friendly and helpful. The food in the restaurants was delicious (+ great cocktails in the bar) and the room was… Read more
Gaya Island Resort is the nicest place I've ever stayed! I stayed for 2 nights with a friend, but would happily return in the future for a much longer stay. Right from getting the small boat over to Gaya Island, the staff were so friendly and helpful. The food in the restaurants was delicious (+ great cocktails in the bar) and the room was amazing. There are lots of activities to do, we enjoyed morning yoga, snorkelling and an outdoor film - but it's also just nice to relax by the pool and admire the amazing views. Would love to return! Thanks for making this such a relaxing and memorable few days. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Island paradise after being in the jungle.

Aug 10, 2020 peebsb61 Ashton-under-Lyne, United Kingdom

We arrived at Gala Island after a trip in the jungle and wow did we do the right thing. The trip from the mainland takes about 15 min on the hotel boat. The staff are very attentive from arriving at their office on the pier all the way to getting into the taxi at the end of your trip. The food is top notch thanks to Dolis the exec sous chef who… Read more
We arrived at Gala Island after a trip in the jungle and wow did we do the right thing. The trip from the mainland takes about 15 min on the hotel boat. The staff are very attentive from arriving at their office on the pier all the way to getting into the taxi at the end of your trip. The food is top notch thanks to Dolis the exec sous chef who along with Ramesh and the teammate our stay awesome. Make sure you do the jungle walks and grab a snorkel and swim over the reef. If you plan to go to Borneo make sure you spend time at Gala Island Resort. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Refund Frustration

Aug 6, 2020 FayeR111 Sheffield, United Kingdom

My trip to Gaya Island Resort has had to be cancelled due to the current Covid 19 restrictions in Malaysia. I had booked a room that was refundable until 14 days before so contacted the resort the request a refund, they got back to me to say would I be happy to change date instead. So I replied to say that due to current financial pressures I… Read more
My trip to Gaya Island Resort has had to be cancelled due to the current Covid 19 restrictions in Malaysia. I had booked a room that was refundable until 14 days before so contacted the resort the request a refund, they got back to me to say would I be happy to change date instead. So I replied to say that due to current financial pressures I would like to be refunded and didn't get a reply, I have since contacted them 3 more times over the last 6 weeks and have just been ignored. I had 4 other hotels booked during my stay in Borneo, all of which I booked on a non-refundable deal and all of which have given me a refund with no hesitation, this was the only hotel that was refundable and they will not return my money. I am now having to start the long process of disputing the transaction with my bank to try to reclaim my money that way. I'm absolutely applauded at the way that Gaya Island Resort are treating me, I understand that this is challenging times for everyone but it's just not good enough. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Beautiful Location, Fantastic Staff

Jul 10, 2020 Jet-Set-Greg Burgau, Portugal

This place is a, one of a kind, and I have to say, the staff are exceptionally attentive professionals, they literally, could not have made us more welcome and cared for if they tried, the staff really made our holiday at this resort. My wife is a Vegan and I am gluten intolerant and at the time I was coming out as a new Vegan, any Island Resort… Read more
This place is a, one of a kind, and I have to say, the staff are exceptionally attentive professionals, they literally, could not have made us more welcome and cared for if they tried, the staff really made our holiday at this resort. My wife is a Vegan and I am gluten intolerant and at the time I was coming out as a new Vegan, any Island Resort in the South China Sea is a difficult place to be a gluten-free Vegan! but every meal we enjoyed was freshly prepared and catered to all of our dietary requirements. One of the top pastry chefs Barry-J even made me a gluten-free, Vegan chocolate dessert! WOW! Ramesh Krishna was a wonderful host and Dolis Mongulid the executive sous chef was unrelentless in his pursuit of our happiness for example making me a mean Fish & Chips when I needed it most. The Catering Team and Conservation Team particularly made our holiday one to remember. Thank you to Justin and his team for there wonderful experiences in the Jungle and on the Water, wow! And to head chef Angus, Barry-J, all the waiting staff and Head Chef "Ramsey" and his sidekick in the Japanese restaurant. Great Stay, I would recommend this place for sure! Read less