Bunga Raya Island Resort
Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo
Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo
Banga Raya is a luxurious jewel set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo. The boutique style resort is a tropical-paradise with no cars, towns or villages but there is a beach with white sand. The rainforest backdrop and endless ocean views will ensure you’ll feel miles away from the real world.
Stay The 47 timbered villas are tucked into the hillside rainforest. Built in Borneo’s simplistic architectural style they are carefully blended with sublime modernism. Luxurious and yet not ostentatious, they reflect the Malaysian characteristics of humility and respect, even when faced with nature. The result is a beautiful experience of a tropical rainforest and beach.
For those who wish to splash out can book the unique two-story hilltop retreat. Perched at the highest point of the property, this suite showcases jaw-dropping views of the South China Sea. It features an expansive master bedroom with a giant whirlpool bath and matching downstairs bedrooms with a wraparound deck and an indulgent plunge pool.
Dine Pantai Grill, the restaurant on the oceanfront is brilliant when the sea is calm and romantic to sit outside. Being outdoors, its opening is dictated by the storm, wind and the hotel’s occupancy on that day. The main restaurant is ‘The Koi’ with a pretty decent ambience; ocean view on one side and waterfall on the other. The hotel has been painstakingly training their staff and the quality of food and service; I am told has got better. But it depends on personal taste. The staffs are very courteous and always willing to help.
If you love wine then you should visit ‘The Gua’ or the cave with 2,500 bottles, an intimate bar, a private dining room and cigar bar patio.
Relax There is much to spoil you here, take for instance there is a spa, Jacuzzi, plunge pool and an outdoor swimming pool. Additionally, there are motorised and non-motorised water sports and opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving. If you get tired of the water, you can spice up your escapade by taking a trek into the jungle and explore the verdant beauty beyond the beach.
For major part of the day, my body has been covered with the oils of the indigenous local plants as part of the natural Borneo treatment. I don’t know if I look younger but I do feel that my skin is rejuvenated and my mind is relaxed.
I step into a cold outdoor shower then slip into an open-air hot tub. Suddenly there is a sense of relief, as if someone has pushed a release button to my built-up stress. I am in an oasis, enclosed by the floor-to-ceiling glass doors in a tropical forest. Jungle streams flow on all sides and the countless birdsongs create the sound track for an ultimate calm. I am in a hidden jewel of the Solace Spa.
Kota Kinabalu is a short hop from Singapore, Hong Kong, Kaula Lumpur and Brunei. Arrive at the Kota Kinabalu airport and drive 15 minutes (2.5mi/4km) to Kota Kinabalu’s Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Gayana Eco Resort is reached by a private boat from this jetty, in the South China Sea. The boat schedules are fixed during the day so ensure that your flight fits well with the departure time.
Scheduled Boat Transfer