Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
What We Love
- A five-star hideout between jungle and white sands, including breakfast, transfers and moreSelecting a bottle from a store of over 4,500 in Bunga Raya’s award-winning wine cellar
- Diving among schools of tropical marine life with one of the resort’s certified PADI instructors
- Retreating to a private spa pavilion for a relaxing massage using natural Kerstin Florian products
What To Know
- This resort is secluded; you'll have to take a short boat ride to get here
- Bed down in your own tropical villa
- The 80-foot infinity pool is the property's central feature
You might want to give a little thought to your desert island discs before you arrive at this hidden gem in Sabah, Borneo. Accessible via a short boat journey from Kota Kinabalu, Bunga Raya is the castaway dream, with a staggering white-sand beach to the fore and virgin rainforest as a backdrop.
Make like a luxe adventurer in one of 47 rough-hewn villas, each wrapped in tropical foliage on the terraced hillside. With masses of space and high-end amenities including Thann toiletries, Frette linen and BOSE sound systems, they’re not short on five-star comforts, but the simple timber and stone lets the tremendous scenery do the talking.
Bunga Raya may feel very Robinson Crusoe, but no need to fish for your supper. Dine on fusion Asian and Western fare at open-sided restaurant The Longhouse, which overlooks the 25-metre infinity pool, koi pond and waterfall. For spa relaxation, cross the suspended bridge to the resort’s hilltop sanctuary, and for all manner of leisure activities on land, water and treetops, this island playground is yours to explore.
How to Get There
Extremely secluded and nice resort with fantastic beach. We had 2 bedroom deluxe villa...total jungle experience with monkeys and wild boars and lots of birds. Huge rooms and a huge balcony. Restaurants are ok but not fantastic. Service is fine but slow....
the hotel is reached by a short 15m boat ride from jesselton point in town, and are very impressed when you arrive - great setting, nice private beach with beautiful coloured water. the resort itself is great, with a sweet pool vibe on the beach and the staff are very friendly. however, where it falls short: tonnes of plastic in the ocean and on the beach, alcoholic drinks are very expensive for what it is (almost $100 for a crap rose thats worth $10-15 max) and they dont serve any local alcohol - one doesnt fly to borneo to drink heineken and coronas, some local brew would be preferred; the food was abysmal - western classics were terrible (pasta, pizza, calamari, etc.), but the local noodles were alright. overall, would recommend staying here if in KK / Gaya, but be prepared for these negatives before you arrive
After our hectic schedule of wildlife spotting and safari’s, Bunga Raya was the perfect chill out destination. 48 villas discretely built on the edge of the rain forest. We opted for a plunge pool villa, which was situated beach front. Just a short stroll from the South China Sea, which was a balmy 30 degrees. So nice to walk out of the villa, straight into the sea, to wake up in the morning.
There are 2 restaurants. The Pantai grill and the Longhouse. The Pantai serves breakfast every morning and hosts the happy hour each evening. Happy hour runs from 5 to 7 every evening. The first drink is free, the second half price.
The staff are very helpful and very charming, they may not get it right all of the time, but it really doesn’t matter, and adds to the charm of the resort.
The longhouse restaurant, which is open alternative nights, is primarily an Asian menu, the food is pretty reasonably priced, the alcohol is a little bit expensive, as it’s a Muslim country. A bottle of beer is around £6 and a bottle of wine is around £40.
The watersports centre has plenty of activities to keep you occupied, snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing.
I would certainly reccomend this little pocket of paradise. It’s beautiful
Having stayed at seven other places in Sabah over two weeks we thought we’d saved the best till last but sadly that wasn’t the case. The resort is pretty, well laid out and staff were helpful. Rooms (deluxe two bed chalet) were comfortable, clean and spacious. Beach was cleaned (of a ridiculous amounts of plastic washed up) every day but my husband and I still managed to pick up over over 40 straws in one 15 min stroll. The resort had a strange vibe and although relatively busy felt a bit soulless. However, the real disappointment was the food. Inconsistent quality, expensive and at times tasteless. The saving grace was the breakfast buffet which was consistently good. During our stay we bumped into the manager Tomas, who was very engaging and made a point of asking for our feedback on the food. He explained the resort had lost its executive chef and some of his team and even though apologetic, surprisingly didn’t offer any kind of compensation not even a pre-dinner drink! I guess he knew we had no other option than to eat at the resort. We did however venture to the sister resort, Gayana Eco Resort, one night for dinner. We were the only people in the restaurant. Of the two resorts Bunga Ray is definitely the better! If you do stay at Bunga Ray whatever you do don’t leave anything there as you not get it back, unless you’re prepared to pay for an expensive courier service.
Bunga Raya was our bit of luxury at the end of a Borneo trek. It promised much and delivered a lot but there were issues - the biggest problem was the food. The Long House restaurant served delicious local food - fabulous - but on alternate nights it was closed so you had to eat in Pantai - offering "international" food. The food in Pantai was erratic and the service slow. Management are aware of this and have recently employed a new chef but there needs to be improvement and fast.
Plunge pool villa - wonderful
Soft drinks and beers - replenished in your fridge daily free of charge
Happy Hour cocktails - excellent
Water sports centre - brilliant staff
Snorkelling - fantastic - Sharks, turtles, bat fish, sting rays, parrot fish, beautiful corals
Fabulous large communal pool
Massage - truly superb
Beautiful beach location - they work hard trying to keep the beach clean
This place has so much going for it and once they sort the food it will truly be a slice of heaven.