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 (1217)
  • Very good (465)
  • Average (199)
  • Poor (60)
  • Terrible (27)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Truly Amazing

Apr 5, 2020 Sue W W Whitby, United Kingdom

This place is a wonderful peaceful and luxurious haven. You truly feel special here as every member of staff has relaxed and superb customer service off to a fine art. Although the drinks and restaurants are a little pricey you always feel you have paid for quality in every respect. Food is superb in all the restaurants and each one has the… Read more
This place is a wonderful peaceful and luxurious haven. You truly feel special here as every member of staff has relaxed and superb customer service off to a fine art. Although the drinks and restaurants are a little pricey you always feel you have paid for quality in every respect. Food is superb in all the restaurants and each one has the stunning view of the beach and the bay beyond. Villas are arranged on the hillside and most have stunning views from the spacious balcony. They are very comfortable and the air conditioning is very efficient and very necessary as this country is extremely hot and humid. We did go in February 2020 and it was very quiet and felt very exclusive. We loved the BBQ on the beach with the local dancers and really loved the time spent with Justin the wildlife ranger. Being nature lovers we found him knowledgeable and passionate about his work with the mangroves and the rainforest around the resort. There is enough to keep you occupied for a week here if you enjoy activities but also an amazing and beautiful place to relax by the pool or on the beach. The resort accommodation and especially the staff are 5 star. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Small world of Luxury

Apr 5, 2020 travelwithchar17 Southampton, United Kingdom

Wow! Where do we start? We stayed here for 2 nights at the end of our Borneo holiday. It went above our expectations and beyond. The staff make this place and are absolutely amazing! They go out of there way to make sure you are ok and the reception team refer to you by your name. We booked through the website directly and I would definitely… Read more
Wow! Where do we start? We stayed here for 2 nights at the end of our Borneo holiday. It went above our expectations and beyond. The staff make this place and are absolutely amazing! They go out of there way to make sure you are ok and the reception team refer to you by your name. We booked through the website directly and I would definitely recommend this as they do a meal package where you get breakfast lunch and dinner included in the price. Otherwise food and drink is expensive compared to the rest of Borneo but this was a great deal. Eat at the pool bar the food is incredible! The tuna literally melted in your mouth. They have happy hour at the pool bar in the early evening and this is worth doing. When you arrive, you will be given a timetable of activities which you can book. Some of the activities are free for example snorkelling at the beach, movie night, guided walks and yoga. Some you have to pay a fee for. The ones we did and would recommend are mangrove kayaking, coral garden snorkelling and the BBQ in the evening. Unfortunately, there was an influx of jelly fish when we were there, so we couldn’t get into the water at the coral reef, however, the staff were amazing and we were refunded our money straight away. The boat trip was still a great experience though! Snorkelling at the hotel just off the beach is really good. There is plenty of different species of fish to see and there are a number of coral reefs. They have equipment to use there or you can take you own. You can get the boat from the jetty to go round to the other private beach. It is really nice there as well and we found it a bit quieter than the main beach at the hotel. The rooms are incredible and look out into either the rainforest or out to sea depending on which room you have chosen. They are very luxurious and include a walk in wardrobe, a huge bathroom area with double sink, bath and separate shower and separate toilet. The bed is big and very comfy. Each room has a balcony with seating. Just be careful of the monkeys stealing things! Overall I would recommend this hotel to anyone. It really is a hotel of luxury and you will not be disappointed. Judy Dench has stayed here as well! We can’t wait to return one day! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Relaxing Stay

Mar 29, 2020 DJHC Horsham, United Kingdom

This is a wonderful hotel with staff that are happy to ensure your stay is perfect. Check in is made simple by completing all requirements in the office at Kota Kinabalu, then a 15 minute transfer by boat to the hotel where your are shown to your room. The greatest asset of this hotel are the staff, who make it their mission to ensure you have… Read more
This is a wonderful hotel with staff that are happy to ensure your stay is perfect. Check in is made simple by completing all requirements in the office at Kota Kinabalu, then a 15 minute transfer by boat to the hotel where your are shown to your room. The greatest asset of this hotel are the staff, who make it their mission to ensure you have a great stay. From Ramesh the manager to the guys at the pool, they are all so helpful and friendly, Jau, the bar manager, always makes sure you get the right service, he is helped by Marnieh who will help you with choices and how the various packages work. Drink prices are on the high side but no different to other establishments in the Region, the happy hour helped and appeared to be the busiest time. Restaurants are very clean and food choice superb, the Chef will fuss over you and ensure you are happy with your food. Once he knows what you like it will be ready for you as you get to the table, where you will be looked after by Elvy, who will always meet you with a smile. We ate in all three restaurants, the food is of the highest quality, with great choice at each session. Rooms were very well equipped and very comfortable, some have steep steps so be sure to book the right room for you. Two things that could be improved: the decking walkways become very slippery when wet, as they are vey uneven this becomes a massive trip hazard. The other is Jelly Fish in the bay, I know the hotel can't control the sea but its a warning to those who prefer the sea to the pool. All in all we had a wonderful stay, a great relaxing end to a very active holiday. Thank you Gaya Island Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A week of relaxation after Borneo forest tours

Mar 29, 2020 Barders745 Chichester, United Kingdom

Had a great stay at the resort in March 2020 and it was very quiet due to the Coronavirus outbreak, probably at about 20% occupancy. The staff are very friendly and your comfort & satisfaction are their main concerns. The food is excellent & the chefs will happily cook dishes of your choice if you are unable to find anything in the buffet. A huge… Read more
Had a great stay at the resort in March 2020 and it was very quiet due to the Coronavirus outbreak, probably at about 20% occupancy. The staff are very friendly and your comfort & satisfaction are their main concerns. The food is excellent & the chefs will happily cook dishes of your choice if you are unable to find anything in the buffet. A huge special thank you to Ramesh Krishna (food & drink manager), Dolis Mongulid (executive sous chef) & Silih Binidik (restaurant manager) for going the extra mile to make our stay very memorable, the food and service from yourselves & your teams was exceptional. The beaches are swept daily and towels are supplied on the sun loungers, the beach boys are also on hand to supply cold water and other drinks upon request. The price of drinks in the resort are on the high side. The Fisherman's Cove restaurant is worth a visit and will require pre-booking as they only cater for a small number of guests each evening. Situated on the roof of the buffet restaurant it is accessed by a spiral staircase in the Feast Village restaurant, we had to ask for directions as we were walking along the beach looking for it. They serve fresh seafood which can be selected from the display and is then prepared by the dedicated chef team who are on view behind a glass window. Again eating here is not cheap but it is well worth the experience during your stay, the staff are all amazing ensuring that everything is right. If you have a food preference or if there is anything you don't like taste wise then bring it to their attention and they will try to avoid it being served, we personally don't eat spicy food for example. The rooms are very spacious and kept clean & tidy with safety boxes in each room for valuables. Speed boat transfer takes about 15 minutes in calm conditions from Jesselton Point in Kota Kinabalu, all luggage is handled by the staff, all transfers were handled very well. A huge thank you to everyone at the resort for making our stay a very memorable experience. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Could not fault - incredible holiday

Mar 28, 2020 EstellaB Burwell, United Kingdom

Thank you Gaya Island Resort for giving us the perfect holiday. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff were fantastic, special thanks to Haliza too! Absolute paradise and we will definitely be returning