18 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Very good but not luxurious level yet
"My husband and I were in KK for 8 days in Mar09 and we stayed in 4 hotels - Jesselton, Gayana, Mercure and Imperial International. Do read my review of each as all offered something different. We stayed 3 days 2 nights in Lagoon View room #5. Our story : - The room, bathroom and the resort in general were spacious, well-maintained, modern and clean. - The mattress was firm and we slept very well. The aircon in our room was not strong enough (we put it at the lowest temperature 16 degree celsius !). It did not improve even after the maintenance person came and did something. - Set breakfast was included in the room cost. There were a few chioces. The "Macac" set was good. The serving size was all quite small for us who were used to lavish hotel buffet breakfast. - At the Macac restuarant, we spent RM39++ for lunch and RM 59++ for dinner per pax without drinks and only the main course. The serving size was quite small and the menu limited. A watermelon juice cost RM 18++ per glass. - We felt that Alu Alu restuarant offered better value and wider variety. We spent RM18++ for lunch per pax without drinks and only the main course. The dinner was also more affordable. The serving size was better. However, we did not order anything that swam in the tanks at the entrance so.... the choice is yours ! - The infinity pool was very welcoming and if you want to avoid direct sun, wait till 3pm onwards when the sun goes behind the hill. - The sea water was clear and inviting and we saw fishes swimming around but we were told (and we saw) jelly buds were around and swimming not advised. Quite disappointing, come to beach resort but cannot swim in the sea ! Just a word of advice about the sea - this is not Maldives. - The activities we enjoyed were the paddle boat (no strong waves in the bay), the MERC (Marine Ecology Research Centre) especially the touch pools where we touched starfish, sea star, sea cucumber, sand shark and turtle and the numerous giant clams we saw! - We also tried the massage RM195++ for 90min (if no promotion, 60min) per pax. It was good. By the way when we went back to KK city, the massage was RM63nett 90min.) - To give my husband a surprise, I informed the resort that it was our wedding anniversary. The Macac restuarant set up a very nice table for our dinner and baked a cake. - There is no nightlife here (pub, disco, karaoke). - This is the place to be for quiet, close to nature, relaxing, do-nothing getaway. - Bring some tidbits and munchies (chocolate, potato chips etc) along. In conclusion, my husband and I enjoyed our stay here and we did feel the work stress melted away, relaxed and happy........and raring to go shopping back at KK city ! As my title suggests, I feel this resort is very good but somehow not quite luxurious level yet, you expect more when the published price is RM1,010++ a night for the Lagoon View Room! I feel served but not pampered."
- Travel date: 18th April 2009
Excellent Service & friendliness
"We arrived at the resort after a mix up with our transport & the staff couldn't do enough for us. We also had an upgraded room which was excellent. The meals in the main restaurant were excellent. You get 8 dishes for 88 ringgits. Far too much to eat in one go. All through our 5 night stay the staff went out of their way to make our stay a happy one. Snorkelling was not quite as good as I'd hoped but there were some unusual sightings eg giant clams."
- Travel date: 5th March 2009
Hidden Gem. Will be Back!
"I visited Gayana Eco Resort about mid Jan and had a fabulous time. Prior to booking, I really did not know what to expect as the resort had many mixed reviews. Some said it was great while others thought otherwise. My trip was absolutely fantastic. The airport transfer was very smooth and unlike many other island destinations I have been to , it was quick. The staff at the island were very friendly and were almost too helpful at times. The resort had just completed a new private beach area which was very picturesque and idyllic. The food was excellent and moderately priced by world standards. It is after all , a Preferred Boutique property so you can't be expecting hawker prices. The seafood restaurant had plenty of interesting items, I tried the Tiger Grouper on my first night of stay and had to admit it was delicious. Although seeing something swimming before eating it takes a bit of getting used to. The live prawns and live shellfish I ordered were not bad either. I must say that ultimately there was not enough time to do all the activities on offer. The snorkeling and kayaking was fun. So too was the jungle trekking and the out of the way fishing excursion arranged by the resort. The diving programme offered by the resort seemed very enticing but alas I did not stay long enough to fully explore all the great dive sites in the area. All in all, the resort was a certainly something out of the ordinary and I would certainly recommend it to anyone."
- Travel date: 22nd February 2009
Good mix of wild nature and luxury
"My wife and I chose this resort to experience some beautiful nature, while also having a bit of luxury. Both were there. As to nature, the resort is literally enveloped by forest and sea. Directly behind the overwater bungalows, a dense jungle starts that features monkeys, large butterflies, and exotic birds like large hornbills. The bay contains beautiful, unspoilt corals with many kinds of fish and giant, colourful clams. Since the resort is quite isolated, our experience was much better than in the touristy snorkeling spots, where there is always some damage. As to the rooms, they had all we needed. Not super luxurious, but quite okay. The infinity pool is lovely. Both restaurants are fine but a bit expensive. Gayana likes to advertise itself as a 5-star resort, but it really is 4-star. (In a 5-star place I would expect better wines, better English from the staff, fresh juice and a few other things.) That said, we paid a 4-star price ($200 a night), which is fair for what we got. One thing to note is that the resort is really the only inhabited place on the island. If you're there to escape from a busy city, you will enjoy the quiet, but do not expect any nightlife. Summarizing: if you love the outdoors and like to hike, kayak, snorkel and dive, while also enjoying decent rooms and chilling out by the pool, this is not a bad place to be."
- Travel date: 16th February 2009
Prepared to hate it.. at first!
"When my partner surprised me with two airline tickets and a 4 day stay at Gayana Eco Resort, the first thing I did was dash to my computer to see where this mysterious place was. I was horrified to read the awful reviews that had previously been published and quickly printed them out in attempt to convince him that he had probably made a mistake and we would probably have more fun somewhere else. However since everything had already been paid for, we had no choice but to make the trip. I packed as many books as I could fit into the suitcase (I was not planning to stay in the room for as much as possible) and insisted we stop to buy packets of instant noodles before entering the resort (as I had heard food prices were crazy). Armed and ready, we climbed into the boat and headed off to the island. Although I was silently resenting my partner for dragging me all the way there, I couldnât help but notice how beautiful the sea was. I had always presumed the water would be dull and murky, not the million shades of blue and green that it was. By the time we were offered welcome drinks and cold towels at reception, I was beginning to relax. Maybe it wouldnât be that bad, I thought. The resort had obviously undergone recent renovations because the images I had seen online did not match what I saw. We were ushered to our rooms, which was neat and had a magnificent view of the bay. Our room had a private balcony with a set of stairs which allowed my husband to go for his morning swim. I was pleasantly surprised to find a table set up on the balcony one morning (apparently, my husband had arranged this upon our arrival). Breakfast was then delivered to our doorstep straight from the kitchen on the resortâs âbreakfast boatâ. It was quite a sight to see the floating gondola making its way to our chalet with trays of hot food. We were advised to take a tour of the resortâs Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) which proved to be a entertaining and educational experience. I am impressed that all the resortâs staff seemed to be familiar with the different marine life and were able to answer all our questions. For instance, I did not know that squids change their colour to blend in with their surroundings, or that clams are a natural filter to âcleanâ the sea. All in all, it was great and I would definitely take my kids there. We never got round to tucking into those instant noodles I had packed, somehow it seemed ridiculous given the variety of good food available at the resort itself. I especially liked the âprawns with fruit saladâ prepared at the Macac restaurant. The Alu Alu Restaurant has an amazing view and a huge variety of seafood. They make a good marmit lamb (or something like that). I have to admit, I was relieved to find the quality of food was really good and the prices were not as outrageous as we had expected. For the level of freshness and variety that the resort offers, the prices we ended up paying were beyond reasonable. Donât forget, you are paying for the ambience and the service of their staff. I felt stupid lugging all those books around too, seeing as we spent most of our time either by the pool or on a kayak exploring the surroundings. I am told that Gayana specialises in diving certification and my husband and I are already planning on coming back here next year for our next get away. I am glad I let him drag me here despite all my previous hesitations. It was lovely, I wouldnât recommend it, but purely for the selfish reason of wanting to keep this treasure just for ourselves!"
- Travel date: 16th January 2009
"I recently went for a two night romantic getaway to Gayana Eco Resort and I have to say that my trip was certainly a holiday to remember. From the onset, we were given a warm welcome from the staff and were informed of the different activities offered by the resort. The room was very comfortable and clean. My husband and I were very impressed by the âbreakfast boatâ and found it a wonderful complement to our trip. The first full day of our stay was our anniversary so we were wondering what we could do to make it extra special. We asked them what they could offer us and they went the extra mile to arrange a boat for us to Hornbill beach, a picnic lunch and blanket. It made our day really special. We were a bit hesitant to stay longer but found that we had more than enough activities to occupy our time. We felt very close to nature from the rooms (situated above the water), to seeing fish feeding and tours of the surrounding rainforest and MERC (Marine Ecology Research Centre). The staff were very informative on our tours and we saw many interesting marine and wildlife. We were amazed at all the different types and colours of fish which appeared during feeding time! As for the restaurants, Macac food was delicious and the food was comparably priced, being about the same you would pay at a nice restaurant. The service was exceptional, as the staff were always ready to attend to us and it was easy to get their attention. Alu Alu was also nice and the portions were quite generous. Gayana is a resort we would definitely visit again, especially as we didnât have enough time do all we wanted. I definitely recommend this resort for a great romantic getaway!"
- Travel date: 16th January 2009
Did I Go To the Same Place??
"I might not have been to the same place as some of the other reviewers, because I don't know how one could give a place like this more than 2 stars! I just got back from this hellhole and was glad to leave. Firstly, the rooms are overpriced and, even though they're new, they still have much to be desired. We stayed in the ocean villas which had steps leading down to dirty waters. Everytime we went for a swim, there was some sort of rubbish in it, from jelly wrappers to beer cans. When swimming to another part of the resort, I started getting stung, and only found out that they were jellyfish when I was leaving and looked down into the water properly. No warning was given by staff. The food was terrible and overpriced. The service was horrible and most of the time, they were understaffed. The breakfast was cheap and disappointing. I mean, their 'pastry basket' consisted of 4 slices of cheap white bread and packet butter with packet heinz jam. Their yoghurt and fruit barely had any yoghurt in it and their omelette was the size of my palm... The Chinese seafood restaurant was ugly and each meal there (with very average food... the seafood was ok) cost at least rm100 per person. A steamed promphret (a very common fish in malaysia) cost rm60! I ordered room service one night and 2 slices of marinated chicken on a pile of stuff smaller than the size of my palm cost rm70! Even a local dish like a nasi goreng cost rm50 on their ridiculously limited room service menu. Their diving centre was constantly empty, and when there were people, they didn't know how to sell anything. I intended to dive when I was there and even brought my gear with me, but after having to attempt 3 times enquiring about diving packages and getting very clueless responses, I decided not to waste my money (I mean, rm500 for 2 dives?! they should have been begging me!) I had a fever the second day I was there, and when asked for Panadol, the reception staff told us that they didn't have any. 1 hour later, one of their staff turned up at my room with 2 stating that they couldn't give medicines to guests. I mean, come on! A 5-star island resort not being able to give Panadol? In the end, it took them another 4-5 hours to head to KK to buy me a packet. Oh, and their DVD library consisted of a pile of old pirated DVDs. I'm just thoroughly disappointed with this place and do not intend on returning. Was one of the worst holidays that I've been on."
- Travel date: 8th January 2009
The potential to be great
"We just came back from three nights at Gayana and had a pretty good time. The staff were really friendly and almost a little annoying with their over-service at the restaurants (it was hard to have a chat without having someone interrupt you during your meal asking if you wanted something or if you were enjoying yourself..grrrr) First thing, make sure the include the "ferry" ride in your room. They charged us RM40 per person and it should be free. The hotel will tell you to get to the ferry terminal 45mins before you ferry - we got their 45mins before the ferry and waited for 45mins before anything happened. You could get there 5mins before it is due to leave and you would be absolutely fine. The hotel also told us it is a 15mins ferry ride - it is a 6min ride. Pulau Gaya is the closest island to KK town and the hotel is just around the western side of it. It is so close to town you can hear the town at night (well not quite) but it is closer than you think. The rooms are great and although I think we had the worst room in the resort it was still great. What ever you do don't take a room #15. It is a juingle view room but the view is all footpaths used by other guests. Every other room in the resort has at least some part of its view that is private. We had to keep all the shades drawn the whole time we were there otherwise people would see us as they were walking to and from their own rooms. Bummer really! The food at the poolside restaurant is pretty average and severely overpriced. Breakfast seems to be included in all rooms rates so that's fine but then you go for lunch or dinner and you find out where they are trying to make some quick profit. You are stuck on the island so it is not easy to eat anywhere but at the pool side restaurant or at Alu-Alu chinese seafood restaurant. We had two paid meals at the poolside restaurant and never came back (except for breakfast). We had a "special" buffet on our first nigt for RM80++ per person and it was pretty bad. I have had better food at a food court buffet and paid a fraction for it. I had a fish and chips that would have left a child hungry and they they charged RM60++ for it. And the drinks are pricey so if you have space in your bags bring along a case of whatever you like to drink (they give you all the bottled water you want for free) The food at Alu-Alu is much better but frankly Chinese Seafood - although really nice - gets a little boring after a couple of days. And while the servings are more adult in size, it is still US$75 minimum per couple for a decent meal. You need to budget about US$75-150 per couple per day on top of your room bill just for food. Quite ridiculous really when you realise this is Sabah where food is plentiful and cheap. Unfortunately for me I enjoy my food when I travel and if you give me bad food and over charge for it then I wont truly enjoy my stay. Then we get to the spa - this is where my wife enjoys her holidays. The spa at Gayana charges RM195 for a 1hr massage. While it may be cheaper than a 1hr treatment in the US or Europe - this is Malaysia, and Sabah at that. Gayana is not a spa destination and the masseurs and all local girls. I'm sure the massge would be nice but we went for a 2 hr massage in Kota Kinabalu (a 5min boat ride and 10min taxi ride from Gayana) and it cost RM99. That's RM50 per hour! Sorry but Gayana has got the spa pricing all screwed up too. Finally, the "eco" side of the resort is a little hazy. They claim some mysterious "litter-free" status from the Malaysian government but frankly any resort that did have litter liying around wouldn't have too many guests so this award seems a little pointless ever though they display it with pride in the foyer. The Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) is well worth the visit. You get up close with all sorts like sand sharks, turtles, HUGE cuttlefish and more. The problem is that when we checked in they didn't give us any details about MERC so we didn't know it was all the way down the end of the wodden walkway and that it only takes visitors from 10-11am and 3-4pm. We got lucky and strolled in at 10:15am but no one told us how to get there. Quite strange really. The other thing that bugged me about the "eco" side of this place is that they use an awful lot of electricity that wasn't needed. The lighting on the walkways and in the trees and even shining straight down into the water seemed a little bit of a waste to me (the walkway lights are left on all night long and there isn't a solar panel in sight!). All in all we had a good time. Any more than 3 days/nights wuld probably get boring."
- Travel date: 7th January 2009
A nice time
"We just returned from the Gayana. +: We stayed in the jungle view rooms but even from there, you can see the ocean and here the waves lapping. A really beautiful view and lovely swimming pool overlooking the ocean. -: The food (which you have to eat since it's the only thing on the island) was overpriced and left a lot to be desired. Also a lot of the kitchen staff were not very well trained. Overall, a nice place for a one-night retreat, but gets boring pretty quickly."
- Travel date: 8th October 2008
The Best Eco Resort in Borneo!!!
"I've stayed in a room where i had a full view of the South China Ocean, breakfast was sent to our room by a beautiful Gondola... The best breakfast i had in years...Staff has the 5-star in hospitality, we were given the warmest welcome!"
- Travel date: 3rd July 2008
Gayana Eco Upgrade
"I recently went to Gayana Eco Resort for an inspection and see that much of the old structure has been taken down such as the Open Sea Swimming Pool and has been replace by a new pool near the restaurant. A spa is also coming up as I heard from the management and a newly renovated Seafood Restaurant. The conservation area is still intact and will be expanding their own size. As for the room there isnt't much of a changes but the balcony side has been added a little of a venice still where a boat can just land at your back door. View some pictures here : http://tinyurl.com/4txnyr"
- Travel date: 15th June 2008
"My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights in June 2007. We had been warned that renovations were taking place but we decided to go anyway. We were so glad we did. We stayed in a newly refurbished chalet over the sea - I think we were the first people to have stayed in this particular chalet. The chalets have been renovated to 5-star standard. The restaurant was excellent (although not as reasonably priced as some places but they do have a captive audience!). We ate here for all of our meals and they were all very good. The staff were helpful and arranged our transfer to Hornbill Beach for snorkelling on demand. We also did the jungle walk which is a little steep in places but we enjoyed it (but it certainly isn't a gentle stroll - insect repellent & walking sandals/shoes required). My only reservation would be that once the renovations are complete this will be a beach/spa resort and for us that would spoil it. We were also lucky as there were very few guests during our stay due to the building works."
- Travel date: 10th September 2007
Gayana Marine Resort is also called
- gayana eco resort
- gayana resort