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 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 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.

  • Booking Bonus: Book by 11 Feb '20 to receive up to 30% off the accommodation cost and a complimentary room upgrade from a Bayu Villa to Canopy Villa or a Canopy Villa to a Kinabalu Villa between 6 Jan '20 and 31 Mar '21 when staying 5 nights or more in a Bayu Villa or Canopy Villa. 

    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 (1176)
  • Very good (462)
  • Average (198)
  • Poor (60)
  • Terrible (27)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing service

Jan 22, 2020 JanieBurton

We recently stayed at this resort for three nights at the end of a trip to Malaysia. What an amazing hotel, beautiful location and rooms and of course wonderful service. However the highlight of our stay was the outstanding service in the restaurant from all the staff but in particular from Chef Dolis and Food and Beverage Manager Ramesh. Their… Read more
We recently stayed at this resort for three nights at the end of a trip to Malaysia. What an amazing hotel, beautiful location and rooms and of course wonderful service. However the highlight of our stay was the outstanding service in the restaurant from all the staff but in particular from Chef Dolis and Food and Beverage Manager Ramesh. Their desire to make sure that nobody left the dining room without having sampled the amazing dishes on offer is a huge compliment to both of these gentlemen. A wonderful experience, thank you. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Tropical island escape

Jan 21, 2020 2017_whiteknight Bournemouth, United Kingdom

15 minutes by speedboat from Kota Kinabalu, this resort is a magical blend of stylish comfort & natural beauty. Hillside villas are nestled within the rainforest & are all spacious & beautifully appointed. Beaches are pristine clean & the waters warm & inviting. Local & international cuisine is served on a buffet style at the open kitchen & is… Read more
15 minutes by speedboat from Kota Kinabalu, this resort is a magical blend of stylish comfort & natural beauty. Hillside villas are nestled within the rainforest & are all spacious & beautifully appointed. Beaches are pristine clean & the waters warm & inviting. Local & international cuisine is served on a buffet style at the open kitchen & is delicious. Staff were super efficient. There was a spa on site but didn’t have chance to use it. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wonderful end to a delightful stay

Jan 21, 2020 Mark B Norwich, United Kingdom

This incredible setting in the midst of a marine reserve deserves the support of all who visit. The conservation activists are worthy of total support from listening to Scott talk about coral conservation and engaging in their own developing techniques of coral planting with Butter to Chris’ fantastic snorkelling trip to coral gardens where I… Read more
This incredible setting in the midst of a marine reserve deserves the support of all who visit. The conservation activists are worthy of total support from listening to Scott talk about coral conservation and engaging in their own developing techniques of coral planting with Butter to Chris’ fantastic snorkelling trip to coral gardens where I saw 5 reef sharks of varying sizes to the large green turtle seen from our returning boat. The highlight had to be the intimate sunset cruise this evening from which we have just returned (photos attached) The staff are genuinely friendly and helpful and a credit to Kath the GM who has moulded a wonderful group of people. The Feast Village run by Ramish and his team of chefs cannot do enough to ensure your stay is 100% enjoyable making food you specifically hanker for Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Excellent experience

Jan 20, 2020 manasi7777

the resort is very beautiful. the staff is extremely polite and helpful. Mr Ramesh Krishna ( Food & Beverage Manager) and Chef Dolis went out of their way to ensure that our stay could be as pleasant as possible . The food spread was huge and catered to all our needs .
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Rain forest, beaches and coral gardens

Jan 19, 2020 iancQ4440GW

We spent eight nights and saw in the New Year at this wonderful YTL hotel situated in its own bay opposite Kota Kinabalu on the Gaya island reserve. The boat transfer from central Kota Kinabalu is 15 minutes or so. The rooms are spacious suites within blocks of four, built in the jungle overlooking the beach. The views are stunning,… Read more
We spent eight nights and saw in the New Year at this wonderful YTL hotel situated in its own bay opposite Kota Kinabalu on the Gaya island reserve. The boat transfer from central Kota Kinabalu is 15 minutes or so. The rooms are spacious suites within blocks of four, built in the jungle overlooking the beach. The views are stunning, particularly from the upper deck rooms which are almost within the canopy. We were woken up one morning by the local hornbill, which then posed on a branch in front of the sunrise. The wildlife is spectacular with lots of bird species, longtailed macaques, lizards, and the occasional snake. If you’re really lucky you might see a proboscis monkey or flying squirrel. There is coral off the beach to both sides of the jetty, and the snorkelling is excellent. Trips are all by boat, and don’t miss the coral garden snorkelling at a nearby island. The resort has its own marine biologist, Scott, and a number of guides - Sylvester and Justin - who lead the nature hikes through the jungle and snorkelling trips. The private beach or another part of the island has a small aquarium where Scott is growing corals, and looking after turtles that get into trouble, often due to ingesting plastic bags. There are three restaurants, And barbecues on the beach three times a week. Many thanks to Ramesh, Burhan, Debora, and Layla for Looking after us so well. We enjoyed the cookery course, the bar snacks, and sampling the fantastic array of dishes from Malaysia and beyond. Read less