Situated on Pulau Gaya within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Borneo, Gaya Island Resort is a natural sanctuary nestled in the hillside of an ancient rainforest. The 120 hillside villas and two-bedroom suite respect Sabahan elements and blend harmoniously with the natural environment while interiors are designed with a contemporary elegance. Integrated within the mangroves is Spa Village, offering spa programs that reflect the region's ancient healing practices while restoring balance to alleviate modern stresses. Discoveries, authentic experiences, and a closeness with the natural world all prevail across the resort's land and seascape, offering travellers and families an escape that is distinctively Borneo.
Each room is equipped with:
• Complimentary WiFi
• Tea & coffee-making facilities
• Flat screen television with satellite channels
• Powered safe
• Ceiling fan
• In-room climate control
• Selection of international newspapers
Bayu Villa - Set amongst a tropical mangrove on a gently sloping hillside, these villas offer a beautiful outlook and are walking distance from the resort's pristine sandy beach, with a selection of rooms that are located closer to the resort's main facilities. Average room size is 592 square feet.
Canopy Villa - Situated on a hillside amidst lush rainforest, these inviting villas offer a peaceful setting with leafy views ranging from the rainforest canopy to the tropical mangroves. Connecting rooms are available for families. Average room size is 592 square feet.
Kinabalu Villa - With views stretching across the South China Sea, and where the silhouette of Mount Kinabalu can be seen on a clear day, these Kinabalu Villas provide the best views in the resort. Connecting rooms are available for families. Average room size is 592 square feet.
Suria Suite - This luxurious two-bedroom suite lies on the hillside with stunning ocean views. The ground floor features relaxing lounge and dining areas, and a pantry which leads onto an outdoor deck. The spacious bedrooms on the first floor both come with en-suites and a decadent outdoor bath on the balcony provides breathtaking views. Average room size is 2,023 square feet.
• 120-foot lap pool with floating cabanas on the beachfront
• Outdoor jogging path
• Gift shop
• Conference room
Set within a marine park, Gaya Island Resort is located in an area where human activities have already been restricted, but the resort has always aspired to embrace a proactive role in embarking on conservation programs to preserve the beauty of its natural environment, better protect the local wildlife, and raise awareness for sustainable seafood choices. With the help of a passionate and dedicated team, the resort has several eco-friendly initiatives in place that range from conservation through education to rescue programs.
Gaya Island Marine Centre
Gaya Island is set within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a group of 5 islands located off Kota Kinabalu, each with fringing coral reefs. Nestled on Tavajun Bay, Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is accessible either by a 5-minute boat ride from Gaya Island Resort’s jetty or through the 45-minute Tavajun Trek.
Since its launch in October 2013, the marine center has rescued, treated and cared for multiple endangered green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and one critically-endangered Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata). To date, the center has released four turtles - Bobby, Ninja, Carmen, and Nick Jr. all of which have undergone rehabilitation and research. The marine center is also home to four coral reef display tanks for educational purposes and produces coral fragments to be returned to the sea. Outside the turtle rescue center is a 14,000-liter recovery tank, which provides a safe and stable environment for sick or injured sea turtles to have the best chance for survival. This recovery tank also houses a coral nursery that establishes an artificial environment to aquaculture coral fragments to be returned to the sea to help rejuvenate and enhance the natural reefs.
Committed to leading the community in marine conservation, the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre advocates three conservation pillars: Turtle Rescue, Coral Reef Restoration, and Conservation through Education.
The marine center’s programs were conceptualized and are being implemented by Scott Mayback, the resort's Resident Marine Biologist.
This program sees to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sea turtles that the resort receives from the Sabah Wildlife Department and other conservation agencies. Operating a Turtle Hotline, the marine center is notified whenever there are injured or sick sea turtles in need and provide them with a safe environment in which to recover and be treated with the assistance of Dr. Nicholas Pilcher, Founder and Executive Director of the Marine Research Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Kota Kinabalu. Dr. Pilcher played an instrumental role in the creation of the marine center and the recovery and release of Gaya Island Resort’s first rescued sea turtle, "Bobby".
Coral Reef Restoration
The marine center’s coral nursery provides an on-land opportunity for guests to become engaged with coral reef conservation. It also provides a controlled environment for freshly planted corals to recover. This initiative is carried out in collaboration with Reef Check Malaysia, a non-profit organization. Activities include the collection of broken or non-viable coral fragments, their attachment to coral blocks or artificial reef structures, placement in the nursery for observation, and their return to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park to rehabilitate damaged areas.
Conservation through Education
This program aims to lead by example by not selling endangered species like sharks and humphead wrasse, but by choosing products that have minimal impact on the environment, and by providing engaging education opportunities for guests and staff to further their appreciation of conservation. The resort has weekly conservation talks, a Marine Biologist for a Day Program, and encourages guests to become involved in future external outreach programs as volunteers or sponsors. The marine center also provides outreach to the local fishing communities by training the fishermen in using less harmful fishing practices, educating on the benefits of conservation, and implementing a recycling program to reduce floating debris.
The resort also conducts an outreach program with the local primary school. Using a combination of audio-visual materials, creative activities, and fresh pastries from the resort, this program seeks to engage the children while at same time educating them on recycling and the need for conservation.
A conservation fee of MYR 31.80 on the first night of stay and an additional MYR 21.20 for each night thereof is applied to each guest, including children, for every night of stay by Sabah Parks, an organization set up as the caretaker of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park conservation triangle. The conservation fee is contributed to Sabah Parks in support of their effort towards preserving the rich ecosystem of the region. The fee shall be levied in your final bill upon check-out.