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Off the beaten track

Part One: Welcome to paradise at Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

Matthew Lee and Anne Martin May 21, 2014

Mount Kinabalu View

When we landed, we must have looked like zombies as we stumbled out of Kota Kinabalu airport into the minibus that was waiting to whisk us off to Gaya Island Resort. We had been travelling for roughly 24 hours…so we were just about ready for some tropical relaxation!

Thankfully, the drive from the airport wasn’t far, about ten minutes later we were dropped at Sutera Harbour Marina where we were warmly welcomed by resort staff. They served us with a refreshing sorbet drink, which was very welcome in the heat and once we’d sipped our last, we were escorted to our speedboat.  It was, for most of us, our first time on a speedboat and it certainly made for an interesting and adventurous ride. 
Lifejackets on, we sped towards Gaya Island Resort with the wind in our hair. A brand new luxury resort, fringed by a golden beach with the villas nestled amid lush rainforest, the sounds from the rainforest hits you as you step onto the island. Our stand out memory of this beautiful place was the majestic sounds of the rainforest.
As well as being surrounded by glorious rainforest, Gaya Island is a really comforting, stylish and exotic place to stay. We’d definitely recommend it for couples, families and honeymooners, as an extra special place to stay.
We each had a Bayu Villa which was set within a tropical mangrove on a gently sloping, lush green hillside. The villa was huge and brimming with luxurious features including a huge, enticing tub, an incredibly comfy looking bed and lots of fancy soaps and shampoos for us to sample. On each private balcony was a large day bed with a separate sun lounger so we could all take in a lovely view of the world. Also, for nut lovers, there were three types of nuts wrapped in a cone shape, all to add a special welcome to our stay!
We didn’t have long before our sunset cruise, so we rushed down to the immense pool and had a quick swim. We had the pool to ourselves, so all in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon.
After drying off, we headed off for our sunset cruise – it was just magical. The 64-foot luxury yacht had four decent sized bedrooms and everything looked really expensive, including the wine glasses! There were three couples enjoying honeymoons on the yacht and there really couldn’t be anywhere more romantic to be, so we joined David at the bow to watch the sunset and sample the free flowing drinks. What bliss!
Afterwards, we dined at the Fisherman Cove restaurant which offered us all delicious, freshly caught seafood for dinner, with a refreshing cocktail to cool us down in the warm evening breeze.
Welcome to paradise.