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“Terrible service overshadowed a great location”

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Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 October 2017 via mobile

We spent 5 days at Bunga Raya with a group of friends and I would never return. We all experienced consistently bad service throughout our stay. It took 45 mins to get food served in the restaurant, despite it being empty apart from is. After a couple of nights, I realised that our sheets were not being changed and there was sand in our beds...I specifically requested that the sheets be changed twice, but they never were. Used plates and glasses were never cleared from our balcony after meals were served. Towels were never available at the pool and took 5-10mins to get after I walked into the reception to ask for them. The staff were friendly, but just completely untrained and acted with no urgency. While the beaches and rooms were very nice, I would never go back.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
Thank Supriya S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 1 November 2017

Dear Supriya,
I am so sorry and somewhat surprised to hear about your stay In Bungaraya. Obviously there are some operational issues which i need to look into further and for not living up to your expectations i do apologise. As you know, you stayed while we had the tail end of a category 2 typhoon hit Western Sabah. It is never much fun to be stuck on an island when this happens, yet this is life in the tropics. There were 11 in your group and we aim to serve everyone at the same time, unless otherwise specified. 45 min to make 11 meals from scratch, running 75% occupancy seems quite within reason, however we should always ensure to keep you up to date with the timing. Another way of speeding up the service is to pre-order, which i know you did on other days.
I spoke to your group on several occasions and not once did anyone tell me about your dissatisfaction. Rectifying issues at the moment is so much easier than afterwards.
Once again, i am sorry you did not enjoy your time us , thank you for sharing your feedback.

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Reviewed 28 October 2017

We stayed for three nights during a heavy storm which did impact upon our stay quite a bit. We liked the resort in terms of how it looked, the room (huge and well appointed with them being well hidden in the jungle which was very cool listening to the sounds!) and the food at the restaurant was superb. The shower was very poor (weak and couldn't maintain a temperature) and we were given the reasoning that its in the rain forest but sadly when they charge what they do, that isn't an acceptable excuse. Our room was up a steep hill and staff were great in coming to get us with a buggy whenever we wanted as it was dangerous to walk when wet. The rain meant that we only had limited time at the pool (which was nice and comfy in a nice spot. We also tried the short canopy walk which was good (we saw a snake!) and wanted to do a longer one but the rain meant it was cancelled. We also did a short snorkeling but visibility was poor due to the rain. We found the resort and staff to be nice but there really was a lack of things to do or effort from staff in bad weather. Their response was to spend more money at either the spa or on cooking classes. They told me there was a games area which burned down over a year ago but no attempt to replace what was there as that would have kept us occupied whilst raining. Having stayed in similar resort type place where you are stuck on the island, many offer discounts at the spa during storms and that would have been enough to get us to go along. I felt the staff just weren't proactive enough with the rain which they knew was coming. I was also very concerned with the safety around the boat transfers. When we were checking in, they told us there was a storm coming yet still put us in a small boat (without the sides for rain down), the boat came close several times to capsizing (no exaggeration!) and everyone was socked and two guests were hit by parts of the boat. The kid who was driving had no idea what he was doing and eventually turned back due to the rough sea and took us to their sister resort. When we arrived we sat around for a couple of hours without being told anything before being put in a room which had itself been flooded. We then got to Bunga Raya 4 hours later than planned. When we arrived, all other guests were taken by buggy to their room but there weren't enough for us so we had to wait in the rain! The whole arrival process was poor. Yes the weather was bad but it wasn't a surprise to them (it was forecast and staff told us they knew about it) so we should never have been put in a boat and put in danger and when we arrived the check in should have been much better. Despite the resort being nice and in better weather the beach and snorkeling i'm sure would have been good, it was way way off being as good as comparable places for the same price. We felt ripped off for what it was and felt that staff were always trying to get more out of us rather than caring about our experience and acknowledging that we were stuck with them due to the weather so had little to do. I wouldn't go back.

Room Tip: Get a one away from the beach
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Jamsimsafc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TomasAndersen, General Manager at Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 1 November 2017

Dear Jamsimsafc,
Thank you for your feedback on Bungaraya. yes that was a terrible storm, when you arrived. I do not want to make light of your boat transfer, since i am sure it was a frightening experience. However, if it wasn't for our very skilled, and fully licensed captain, the boat ride could have been worse. Thankfully, our sister resort, Gayana Marine Resort, had a few spare rooms to give you all to rest in while the storm passed over. As a precaution, the authorities at the Jesselton Pier will always raise the alarm once the weather is too rough and no boats allowed to depart from the harbour.
Being on an island in Sabah we do not have any connectivity with the mainland. This means all water usage is from the sky (plentifull while you visited). Power is generated and our 90L hot water cylinders should be amble for two hot showers. I do know there were 3 of you in the villa which could be the reason why you ran out of hot water, quicker than expected. I agree with you that we need to have more wet weather options for adults. Soon i hope to receive our pool table and we are also upgrading our board games.
Being stuck on an island when a category 2 typhoon is nearby is never a great experience, especially if you were hoping to swim and laze by the pool. We realise we have some shortcomings when the weather is this adverse. Hopefully the improvements we have in place will rectify the issues.

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Reviewed 28 October 2017 via mobile

every first time for a jungle life. they hv boat from the pier from the resort. lifejacket provided, clean n relax. when you arrive, staff already waiting from their pier with the golf car. welcome drinks from staff. they are helpful and friendly.snorkelling is complementary. in the evening they will hv one complementary cocktails/ mock-tails. room is big n chill. when you sleep u can hear the wave n insect very peaceful!

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with friends
1  Thank zita_927
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2017

We stayed here for 3 nights..Beautiful, spacious and opulent cottages , bathrooms large with amazing amenities, services par excellence, they looked after our smallest needs, very caring and friendly staff, buggy service prompt and good, peaceful amidst nature...you jus have to ask and they willing do it..would love to visit again!!! Thank you

Room Tip: Choose room away from construction
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Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
Thank Travelfreak206
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2017

Stayed for 4 nights in Tree House Villa. Very well appointed. Clean. Huge 4 poster bed. Lovely bathroom with wet room shower. Very good air conditioning. Tea, coffee facilities. Mini bar with complimentary beer, soft drinks. There is also wine and Champagne for a charge. Amazing wrap around veranda up in the tree tops. Fabulous plunge pool, nice and clean. No wifi in the room but you can get a wifi myfi hotspot for the room that sort of works.

The Tree House Villa is quite a hike from the beach but the staff are always on hand with buggies to give you a lift up or down to the beach and restaurant etc. They are quick and plentiful.

The main restaurant, the Long House is the place for all the meals. The other restaurant, the Pantai Grill is currently being re-built. The plans for it sound amazing when it's finished. (Not sure when) For those worried about the rebuilding works going on there is absolutely no need to be. The area is all screened off with minimum noise well away from the main area.

The Long House provides the very extensive breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. Mention in other reviews of the food being expensive, we spent about £150 a day on lunch and dinner including wine. The wine can be expensive. The cheapest was about £40 a bottle. The very extensive wine list needs to be revamped. Almost every bottle we ordered wasn't available. Tomas the General Manager assured us this was being worked on. .

The pool area is out of this world. It is the best infinity pool I have ever used in my life. Lots of chairs, loungers and reasonable wifi here and back at the Long House. It would be nice to have waiter service around the pool. We had to track down a member of staff if we wanted a drink or snack, then would take quite a while to arrive.

The beach was fantastic. Beautiful white sand sloping gently. Warm water. No rubbish in sight. I understand they do have issues with it now and then by the staff go all out to remove it asap. The sand-flys were not an issue for us. I wasn't bitten once in Bunga Raya.

Activities - we had a go at snorkelling, kayaking and the canopy walk, all gratis and very good. We also had a go on the Zip wire for a small charge if you fancy some excitement.

Another highlight for us was the wildlife. We saw Hornbill birds close to our room, and seeing them soar through the trees is a sight to behold. There were Macaque monkeys playing close by. The bearded pigs are good fun. The monitor lizards are amazing. The sealife is pretty good. Lots of fish close to the pier area with some coral.

The staff at Bunga Raya lead by Tomas are absolutely amazing, they can't do enough for you and it's always with a lovely smile.

Room Tip: If you aren't too mobile probably better going for one closer to the beach. Otherwise the others...
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Brighton Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Address: Polish Bay, Pulau Gaya 88778, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Pulau Gaya
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Pulau Gaya
Price Range: €242 - €478 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As sensual and exotic as the hibiscus flower that bears its name, Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious jewel set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo. A secluded island hideaway of 47 timbered villas, the resort is framed by white sand beach and virgin jungle. Hillside villas reflect the simplicity of the Borneo architectural style. A hilltop spa blends the finest Traditional Asian and Western treatments using restorative powers of indigenous plants and oils. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bunga Raya Island Resort And Spa
Bunga Raya Island Hotel Kota Kinabalu

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