Gaya Island Resort, Borneo: The Lowdown

Borneo. You might have an impression, a sense of an unforgettable place in the world, a bucket list destination. You would be right. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world, situated in Southeast Asia. It is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. The island is renowned for its rich biodiversity, ancient rainforests, diverse ecosystems, and unique indigenous cultures. With that in mind, if you want to stay somewhere that is the real deal that blends understanding and a deep commitment ecosystem but with a luxurious travel experience, welcome to Gaya Island Resort. Gaya Island Resort, on the island of Gaya,  nestled a mere 15 minutes boat ride from the hustle and bustle of Kota Kinabulu but worlds away.

Gaya Island Resort, Borneo: The Rooms

Our room was a cosy hideaway  surrounded by nature and nestled high up in the hills.  They’re designed elegantly with a touch of local style, making you feel both the sense of lux and connected to the beautiful surroundings. The views from the rooms are amazing, you can see monkeys playing around and it’s a nature programme playing out in front of you  right from when you open your eyes. The blend of comfort and aesthetics transforms the accommodation into a private sanctuary, inviting you to unwind in style. They give a sense of privacy but with the knowledge of luxurious five star experience meals and service.


Gaya Island Resort, Borneo:  The Food

The resort’s diverse dining options showcase a commitment to quality and authenticity. The Feast Village, one of the main dining venues, offers an array of culinary delights with a focus on local flavours with nightly buffets. From fresh seafood to traditional Malaysian dishes, each meal celebrates the individuality of Borneo cuisine. Clue I was grateful to learn less spicy than Western Malaysian cuisine!  The Fisherman’s Cave, with its overwater setting, adds a touch of romance to dining, creating an unforgettable atmosphere that complements the delectable dishes served. However, our most memorable meal experience, was well….one we cooked ourselves. We had the opportunity for a traditional cooking class overlooking the stunning views of the beach led by a capable chef to craft our own curry.

Gaya Island Resort, Borneo: The Facilities

Gaya Island Resort stands out with its wide array of facilities and activities, you can relax but also you can occupy yourself with a range of activities at your fingertips explained on the blackboard in reception daily.  The Spa Village, nestled in the mangroves, provides a tranquil space for rejuvenation, offering traditional spa treatments that reflect the healing traditions of Borneo. The pool area, surrounded by lush vegetation is the perfect spot for unwinding in the sun and with snorkelling literally on your doorstep. Grab a snorkel and just by the dock is the most incredible coral and fish paradise. Further noteworthy was  Tavajun Bay, a secluded spot where you could hop on a boat for a few minutes and be in your own desert paradise, swimming in the coral rich waters.

However, what makes Gaya Island truly unique is their true dedication to conservation. Gaya Island Resort are involved in marine conservation efforts with a resident marine biologist, Scott in charge of nurturing three injured turtles on site. The resort also engages guests in education experiences, with a  wonderful naturalist who took us on a kayak tour of the endangered mangroves, fostering a deeper understanding of the planet’s fragility.

Gaya Island Resort : The Verdict

Gaya Island is more than a luxurious hotel experience, it is a real eco resort which goes above and beyond and really educates on the importance of conservation by inspiring you to fall in love with the unique beauty of Borneo and its ecosystem. We still talk about the mangrove kayak trip and snorkelling excursion back in London and it prompted a real change in the urgency in which we must think about climate change personally and our own responsibility.  Alongside that the elegant rooms, the delicious food, the exceptional spa treatments and kind service are nostalgically etched on our memories.

For more information on Gaya Island Resort Borneo see here