4.5
Very Good 1703 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

Amenities

  •  Babysitting
  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Kids Club
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

Location

With a stay at Gaya Island Resort in Gaya Island, you’ll be on the beach and close to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and KK Esplanade. This 5-star resort is within close proximity of Kota Kinabalu Central Market and Suria Sabah Shopping Mall.

Rooms

Make yourself at home in one of the 121 air-conditioned rooms featuring minibars and LCD televisions. Rooms have private balconies. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming provides entertainment. Private bathrooms with separate bathtubs and showers feature deep soaking bathtubs and complimentary toiletries.

Spa, Wellness & Premium Amenities

Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body treatments, and facials. If you’re looking for recreational opportunities, you’ll find a health club and an outdoor pool. This resort also features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and babysitting/childcare (surcharge).

Food & Drink

Satisfy your appetite at one of the resort’s 4 restaurants. Thirsty? Quench your thirst at a bar/lounge, a beach bar, or a poolside bar. Breakfast is available daily for a fee.

Business & Travel Amenities

Featured amenities include a business center, dry cleaning/laundry services, and multilingual staff. Planning an event in Gaya Island? This resort has 968 square feet (90 square meters) of space consisting of a conference center and a meeting room. A ferry terminal shuttle is available for a surcharge.

How to Get There

Gaya Island Resort
Malohom Bay, Pulau Gaya
Gaya Island, 88000 Malaysia

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 1703 Reviews
Luxury Resort, Supreme Service!
Reviewed 2 hours ago

I cannot rave enough about this beautiful resort. The room was outstanding, for the same price as a semi-decent Hilton, you get copious amounts of space, an amazing walk-in wardrobe, a bath big enough for a football team and outstanding levels of cleanliness. Then there's the staff, the most helpful, friendly and courteous team of people I have ever come across in my 16 years working in tourism and hospitality.

The Chefs and Wait staff could not be more attentive, I had a real craving for Crayfish one night and off the chef went, bringing back and cooing to perfection for no extra cost, they are super eager and enormously talented! Every aspect of our holiday was completely perfect. The resort is amazing the spa is gorgeous and the staff just make every moment amazing. Thank you so much!

beautiful resort with areas of improvement
Reviewed 5 hours ago

you get taking to this island resort on a speedboat from main island kota kinabalu and the first view of the resort is stunning! Facilities are well maintained although on the smaller size. When we hit the gym one morning it was so packed when in reality less than 10 people were at the gym.
The resort itself is right by a beautiful beach with shallow and clean water that's amazing for a swim and some snorkeling by the pier, however, because the resort has a principal of preserving wildlifes, the sand is was not chemically treated and so we were bitten quite a bit, despite being provided with ample insect spray by the hotel. I have absolute respect that they do not want to harm the wildlife with chemicals, but wish they would look at other ways to improve the situation.
The rooms were spacious and clean, well thought out and designed. One of the two rooms we were in had a weaker ac but it's not the end of the world.
Overall i'm very happy with the facilities and the hotel is well maintained
Staff is friendly and helpful, i've read other reviews saying that service was inconsistent, that had not been my experience so perhaps they have improved. On the day of check out I realized my bag had a huge hole at the bottom, and upon speaking to concierge, she had house keeping and maintenance staff looked at it, then sew it up with fishing wire for me herself!! I couldn't have made it home without having to buy a new bag if she hadn't helped me!
Their main area of improvement is F&B. As this is an island resort only accessible by hotel ferry (which costs 160 MR return and to give you some context, a big bowl of noodle soup good enough to fill you up for lunch is around 10MR in the city). with that in mind, you would prefer to stay at the hotel, however, the food has been so mediocre and expensive, we decided to suck up the transportation cost and go back to the main island for dinner one night. I wouldnt mind spending the money if the food was delicious but when you spend 40MR (again please reference to average lunch price) for a plate of 5 deepfried prawns that had two times too many batter on with frozen prawns, or 80MR for a nasi goreng so small that you went to bed hungry, you don't feel like you're on a vacation anymore.
So, Gaya Island Resort, if you're listening, charge that crazy hotel price if you must, but get your executive chef to deliver at a level that this resort, and it's patrons, deserve! Admittedly I am a foodie and the food experience here is the main reason this resort gets a three from me

Beautiful surrounds but some issues with the resort
Reviewed 3 days ago

Ever wondered whether those online hotel or holiday packages are as good as they seem? Wonder no more as here comes a review on an escape package we paid $1399 half board, 6D/5N package to Gaya Island Resort in Borneo! Included in the price was accommodation in the Kinabalu Villa, daily breakfast and dinner, one 50 min couple's massage, return transfer by speedboat, 2 activities: 1 hour guided snorkel and mangrove kayak tour.

This is luxury resort in Borneo also has a Small Luxury Hotel stamp on it. Gaya island is located 10 min by speedboat from the pier, which is located about 20 min by taxi from Kinabalu airport in Sabah, Malaysia.

Check in: occurs in an office at Jesselton Pier in an air conditioned office. Process was straightforward,  courteous and friendly. There are only boats going to the island, every 2 hours. We got there an hour before the next boat departure and managed to kill sometime by getting lunch at the hawker stalls at the jetty. 15 min prior to departure, things went a bit out of control as more guests arrived. Despite us getting on the 2pm boat, our bags didn't actually arrive with us due to the lack of coordination between passengers and luggage. Luggage arrived about an hour after we got to our room. Whilst we were waiting for our room to be ready, the reception staff offered us complimentary beer! That was lovely.

Rooms: the villa was spacious, clean and comfortable with excellent views of the sea and mountain. Mini bar was basic and there were tea making facilities as well complimentary 2 l bottles of water. Bed was comfortable and there were separate bath,  shower and toilet. There were enough power point sockets. There were two separate chill out lounges outside edict we didn't use as it was always too hot during the day. Unfortunately, we requested a room change due to- phone not working, aircon not working, toilet blocked after 2 uses. Reception staff kindly obliged and left a bottle of wine in the new room for the inconvenience.

Facilities: not enough for the number of guests! A number of lounges on the beach and by the pool that require some effort in order to secure one in the mornings. The gym was basic and small with the usual machines- treadmill, bike and cross trainer. At least towels and water were provided. Exercise mats were old and smelly. There were non motorised water sport equipment for hire including masks and snorkel. Despite paying resort tax, the usage of equipment was not complimentary. The "guided" snorkel excursion was really just following the guide.  More a silent swim tour. There was no information provided during this so called tour. One of the guests in the group was standing on the coral and the guide said nothing. There were some intact coral and loads of fish just 50m off the beach. The pool is about 50m long but only about 4m wide. It was clean but got a bit crowded when everyone was by the poolside.

F and B: my main gripe with this resort,  was the mediocre quality of food and drinks. It was pretty expensive considering the standard. There were 3 restaurants at the resort- one main asian/ western buffet styled restaurant, Japanese restaurant and a seafood restaurant (which we didn't dine at). There's also the bar and poolside restaurant that essentially have the same menus as the main restaurant. Drinks were expensive and consisted of low calibre makes of wine. We were served flat prosecco (charged at RM 50 per glass). When we returned it,  they served the drinks from the same flat bottle! The waiter was quite rude when we asked if it came from a new bottle. The barman then offered us another drink following our half finished glass of flat prosecco. He took it off the bill and made us cocktails to make up for our disappointment. But not before pointing out that the prosecco was a "cheap " one. We had 2 dinners at the Japanese restaurant- shabu shabu one night, and teppanyaki another. Very average food,  under seasoned, lack flavour and sake that tasted stale. This is something that the resort could really improve on given that guests have no option but to eat at the resort.

Staff: overall extremely friendly and helpful. The pool staff were excellent and always came by to offer guests ice water. Apart from the waiter at the bar, whenever we did raise an issue, it was addressed eg room change,life jackets during snorkelling, flat prosecco.
There is inconsistent training of staff on customer service. For example, when opening the bottle of wine we had ordered (RM 320 which worked out to be AUD 110), the waiter broke the cork. My partner had to take over the task for fear of them corking the wine. On the last day, we were surprised we received turn down service as we did not have that the first 4 nights. Of the 5 days we had breakfast, we were asked if we wanted coffee or tea, 2 out of the 5 days. We would have just assumed we had to obtain our own beverages!

Swimming and surrounds : water in the ocean was warm and great clarity especially in the mornings. Currents were mild and one could swim from one end of the beach to the other end safely, for about 1km or so. There are no lifeguards but water was quite shallow. There is plenty of wild life that unfortunately includes sea lice due to the mangrove forests. We spotted one jelly fish that we thought may have been a box jelly!

For a resort that prides itself in conservation, the lack of recycling, the presence of plastic trash on the beach and absence of guests education in environmental waste and treatment of coral, really contradicted it's purpose and concept.

As this resort has been built into the rainforest and the resort is technically not treated for mossies ( what they said even though we got sprayed with industry dose insecticide during happy hour), if you have an aversion to insect bites, this is not the place for you.  We got bitten despite using DEET repellant. This is also not a resort for you if you wanted to get away from the crowds. They have 120 rooms and not the facilities to match the volume of guests.

Stunning boutique resort with amazing staff
Reviewed 4 days ago

We were 2 couples (with a young child each) travelling through Sabah. Gaya Island resort was the grand finale of our trip to Borneo and what a finale it was! We stayed 3 nights so that we could have enough time to explore all the activities offered and I'm so glad that we did! We could have easily stayed another 2-3 nights and still not managed to try out everything. The only hiccup in the entire trip was the reservation process (through their centralised booking system for the YTL group). The agents just did not respond to our emails promptly enough - they finally managed to answer our questions after we called them on the phone but the booking offer they sent us had an error which they did not correct despite repeated reminders. We finally gave up and booked directly through their website. We opted for the Resident's Package which includes all 3 meals and round trip speedboat transfers and we're glad we did so - it's well worth it!
Our check in at the Jessleton Ferry Point was managed smoothly (the Gaya Lounge is right at the entry to the pier and easy to miss) and we were soon on our way to the resort. Your first view of the island and the resort is stunning - as you cross the long pier from the jetty to resort, you can look down and see thousands of colourful fish swimming around the coral reefs. It was certainly a magical moment. We were warmly greeted by the resort staff and soon each guest was assigned to someone from the front desk. We had Jack - who soon took us on a personal tour of the resort and facilities and then to our room. Jack also helped us make bookings for activities we wanted to do over the next few days and generally went out of his way to help us in every way that he could. Thank you Jack!!

We had booked a Canopy Villa but on check in we were informed that we had got an upgrade to the Kinabulu villa (the view is stunning!). The villas are all identical, the only difference is in the views. The Kinabulu villas are further away from the restaurant and the main areas of the resort, so its a bit of an uphill walk. Please note that this resort is not suitable if you have trouble walking - there are lots of steps and no lifts. The villa itself was lovely - the bathroom is massive, bigger than the bedroom in fact, but do note that there are no doors between the bathroom area and the bedroom area. There is a shower cubicle and the WC is also in a cubicle but the other areas cannot be cordoned off. Toiletries provided are amazing and they have a lovely wicker beach bag for guest use in the walk in closet. There is also mosquito repellant and post bite balm provided - please use it liberally. There are tons of mosquitos and sand flies around. The day bed is only suitable for one child - I don't think anyone over 12 years would fit on it and there is no space anywhere for an extra bed so please keep that in mind while booking your room.

The grounds are lovely and there is a stunning private beach Tavajun Bay - a 5 min boat ride away (please prebook if you want to have lunch there, they have limited seats available). But the best part of the resort is undoubtedly the staff who go out of their way to make sure that every guest is happy and having a perfect holiday. I have to start with Mr Ramesh, the F&B manager, who took special care of us during the trip. On the first day itself, he took all our dietary preferences down and then instructed all his staff accordingly. Since our friend was vegetarian, the chefs would prepare food specially for her (apart from the food available in the buffet). Ramesh was wonderful - checking on us at each meal, sending over special dishes every day(a huge platter of fish one day, a platter of jumbo prawns another day), getting us lunch reservations at Tavajun Bay when they were booked up, and of course organising special meals for the children each day - even getting ice cream in from mainland Kota Kinabulu one day! The level of service was truly extraordinary - thank you so much Ramesh. Please let us know if you move to another hotel - we will surely come and visit you there!

Chef Dolis at Feast Village restaurant - was always happy to see us and eager to experiment and create new dishes off-menu for us, although we were perfectly happy with the large buffet already available. The food was always terrific and served with such attention and care by all the wait staff. We were coming from the Shangri La Rasa Ria resort which was also lovely and had much bigger spreads at the buffet (since it was a much bigger resort) but the personal attention that we received at Gaya Island Resort was on a different level altogether and elevated our experience considerably.
I would also like to thank Noy, who was wonderful with the children, even playing with them from time to time (while the adults were having a drink at the bar for instance) and tended to my friends daughter who ended up with splinters on her hand one afternoon. She helped her out for over an hour, offering first aid and distractions while the splinters were pulled out. On our last night there, she came to say good bye bearing gifts for the children - an incredibly sweet gesture. The kids say hi and miss you Noy!

The resort is probably better for couples than families (there are no special child amenities like a kids club or play areas) but the staff make up for it with the attention they shower on the kids. We were the only families there initially but towards the end of our stay, 2 or 3 other families with young kids checked in. There are loads of activities every day starting with yoga in the morning, nature activities, water sports (quite reasonably priced). We did the mangrove kayaking which was very enjoyable (shout out to Rashid, the resident naturalist) and rented snorkels to do a little snorkeling in the coral reefs near the resort. Unfortunately, the water was a little murky that day but still great fun. We also spent a day at Tavajun Bay and the marine centre there, absolute bliss. All in all, it was a wonderful vacation that we will recollect warmly for years to come.

5 star resort, 6 star service
Reviewed 5 days ago

Came for 3 nights with a few friends to relax. Had a couple of issues with our room on check in however as soon as we informed them they were fixed immediately. The cleaning manager, general manager, customer relations manager and the food and beverage manager all sprung into action to ensure we had a perfect stay. Big shout out to Ramesh, Jack and Marneh who all went above and beyond throughout our time there. Would highly recommend this resort, thanks to everyone mentioned above, Tracey and Martin