From the waterfront of Kota Kinabalu at Jesselton Point, you can see Gaya Island across the body of water. From the city jetty, it takes merely 5-10 minutes’ speedboat ride to reach the pristine sandy Malohom Bay where the stunning Gaya Island Resort resides. It was a bright and sunshiney day when we took the chartered Gaya Island Resort speedboat after a half hour rest at their check-in office in Jesselton Point.
We were warmly welcomed at the resort jetty. The short walk to the resort was spent marvelling at the super clear water gently lapping the beach. Numerous sea-facing villas dotted the hill above the main lobby and restaurants. Entering the resort, I got a distinct “familiar” feeling of its layout and structure. Then it struck me: its architectural layout and design are very similar to Pangkor Laut Resort and I was told later that the same architect designed both resorts! Hence, that sense of déjà vu.
The cloudless blue blue sky!
Once we got our keys, we were
taken “escorted on foot” to our villa – it’s highlighted to us that Gaya Island Resort is committed to ecologically-sustainable practices. It is a walking resort with minimal motorised vehicles – that means there is no buggy on the resort to transfer guests around. So, please bring comfortable footwear as there will be lots of walking (and hiking) especially if you are staying at the hill villas!
After walking up three slopes from the reception, we were rewarded by the gorgeous sight of our villa perched on the side of a hill. We fell in love with our lovely Kinabalu Villa, especially the balcony that opens out to the most amazing sea view, fringed by tall tropical trees all around. On a clear day, the silhouette of the majestic Mount Kinabalu was discernible, across the sweeping South China Sea. In the evenings, we caught a couple of spectacular sunsets from our balcony.
It’s a long walk up!
Finally…our Kinabalu Villa!
Gaya Island Resort is perfect for a quiet getaway where you do nothing except dip in the pool and relax by the pool lounge. Or maybe spend some time chilling at the library with a sea breeze blowing in. The slopes of its hilly terrain give a good workout and so does the canoeing along the mangrove swamps. The resort does offer a private kayak tour with their resident naturalist to explore the fascinating mangrove ecosystem. Work those thigh muscles by paddling up a narrow stream at high tide and marvel at the protected mangroves flourishing in brackish water.
Chillax at the Library
If that’s not enough, there’s the gym to head to for a good sweat-out. When you are not busy doing all of the above, spare some time for the other organised activities at the resort…
Lots to keep you busy!
A well-equipped gym is available for the die-hard gym bunnies!
One activity that should not be missed is their Singgah Singgarung where guests get to gain some insights into the Borneo way of life through a unique experience at the beachfront in the evening. There was an interesting showcase of Borneo native arts, traditional activities and delicacies for all to enjoy.
The Sunset Cruise is a must-do when you are at the resort. We got on the resort’s private luxury yacht and were taken on a cruise by the city waterfront and around the island within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Drinks and snacks were served onboard as we immersed ourselves in the stunning sunset show curated by Mother Nature.
The friendly crew onboard the yacht
Spa Village Gaya Island
Lulled by the extremely relaxing island air, we headed to the resort’s Spa for a pampering session. As it’s located halfway between our villa and the main reception, it’s practically a stone throw away. Due to its location, elements of mountain, forest and sea come together in a powerful harmony of nature and that’s exactly the basis of the spa’s many traditional treatments.
It’s just a short walk down to the Spa Village from our villa
Within the high stone columns of the spacious lobby and a koi pond beyond, the Spa Village instantly calms the spirit. Both D and I were treated to the Borneo Vanilla Orchid & Honey Cocoon package.
Our pampering session started with a foot scrub followed by a body scrub made from rich honey, crushed vanilla pods and yoghurt. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? This was followed by a body mask where our skin was drenched in a vanilla-infused honey cacao fruit concoction.
While that fragrant paste worked its magic on the skin, we enjoyed an Indian scalp massage followed by a coconut and avocado hair mask. The virgin coconut oil left our hair smooth and lustrous.
After a shower to wash off the scrub ingredients, we were ready for our toasted coco-nilla massage. The therapists were really good – their long steady strokes worked wonders on our muscles and we left the spa with a definite bounce in our steps.
*Upcoming post: All about Dining in Gaya Island Resort!
GAYA ISLAND RESORT
Malohom Bay, Pulau Gaya
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
88000 Kota Kinabalu
From Kota Kinabalu Airport, it’s about 15 minutes’ car ride to Jesselton Point Gaya Island Meet-up Centre and from there, a 5-10 minutes’ boat ride to the resort. For more information, please log on to: