Most of us are (very!) familiar with the desire to find somewhere to retreat from the rush of the world for a while; to let your mind reset amid simpler surroundings. The award-winning Gaya Island Resort is just such a place, and exquisitely so. Situated in sheltered seclusion on the eastern shores of Pulau Gaya, this is somewhere to experience the full bliss of Borneo’s desert island side.
The resort has been built with an eye on preserving the island’s rugged natural beauty, with villas set amongst dense rainforest and a sumptuous spa village nestling amid the mangroves. Along with embodying an admirable dedication to the region’s vital conservation, the resort doesn’t skimp on offering guests a feeling of deep luxury. The villas are spacious and private, the bespoke dining celebrates local cuisine, and the views across the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park are of the kind that soothe the soul.
In a sheltered bay on the eastern side of Gaya Island, just offshore from Kota Kinabalu, this secluded resort combines a wildlife-filled jungle backdrop with coastal conservation.
Spa village and pool
Diving and snorkelling
Expectations of the Gaya Island Resort are high, and it meets them. A gorgeous place to unwind. We loved going snorkelling out in the bay too - a really memorable stay.
Discover what to expect from staying at Gaya Island Resort
The Gaya Island Resort doesn’t take it’s extraordinary location for granted, and everything is focused on showcasing its diverse natural surroundings. The dense jungle is untamed and allowed to grow freely between and around the villas, enclosing them and maximising the sense of seclusion. The beach and shoreline are within touching distance, pristine and rugged. The temptation to get out into and onto the water is strong, and the resort offers excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities as well as treks into the jungle. And the views? These are of the kind that real desert island dreams are made of.
Preserving the extraordinary landscapes and marine environments of Borneo’s diverse ecology is a huge priority. Combining this requirement with facilities that genuinely feel sumptuous is a challenge that the Gaya Island Resort rises to. Villas are furnished in a contemporary style with low lying beds, rich woods, marble bathrooms, and ample natural light provided by the vast picture windows that make the most of the stunning vistas. Romantics might favour the extensive spa treatments, while gastronomes will love the diverse range of dining experiences, including private beach BBQs and rooftop seafood feasts. It fully ticks the ‘luxury’ box.
Go snorkelling or diving out in the bay, or trekking into the island’s wild interior. Relax on the beach, by the pool, or on your secluded balcony, enjoying the stunning views across the bay, and treat yourself to a pampering at the spa village. Learn more about the region’s inspiring conservation work, both in the water and on land.
Being in the middle of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park comes with hefty environmental responsibilities, and the Gaya Island Resort has a pivotal role within the island’s conservation initiatives. The Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre, a 5-minute boat ride away from the resort, undertakes crucial conservation work and research with the region’s green turtles, alongside coral reef restoration and initiatives to educate people about the best way to care for this fragile environment. Inland, the Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre educates people about the diverse wildlife within the island’s jungles, and undertakes focused conservation work with endangered proboscis monkeys.