Need to know
48 villas, including two- and three-bedroom suites.
11am, but flexible subject to availability and a 50 per cent room rate charge until 6pm; after 6pm, you'll need to pay for an extra night. Check in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $298.48 (MYR1,321), excluding tax at 6 per cent.
Rates include breakfast; speedboat transfers (the return trip is free in the morning, charged at RM50 a person in the afternoon); non-motorised watersports; free entry to Gayana Eco Resort's marine centre.
'Bunga raya' is the Malay Bahasa word for 'hibiscus', the country's national flower, and each villa is named after a different variety. There are 80 species of hibiscus planted here, alongside other herbs and flowers in the gardens. Accessible by suspended bridge, Solace Spa also draws on indigenous flower ingredients, with a natural water feature in each of the foliage-fringed treatment rooms and jungle sounds to lull you into relaxation.
At the hotel
Spa, gym, watersports including PADI scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking, beach volleyball, Clubhouse with pool table, jungle canopy walk, library with books, DVDs and board games, 24-hour butler service, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, free minibar (excluding wine and champagne), Thann toiletries. Plunge Pool Villas sport espresso machines and private pools with balcony decks; Tree House Villas have a private plunge pool and outdoor Jacuzzi.
Our favourite rooms
‘Saucer White’, aka Plunge Pool Villa 5, has prime position; you can step from your bed into the plunge pool, and then it’s a short stroll to the beach. The calm, dark-wood interior is simply furnished and the individually printed batik ceiling and wall hangings add warmth and a splash of Malay style. Your bathroom is cool, grey textured slate with his and hers sinks, a rainwater shower and a deep triangle-shaped tub. For a complete hideaway, check into one of the Tree House Villas reached by a jungle walkway high up among the tree tops. Each boasts splendid sea views as well as monkey sightings.
Offering serene ocean views, the gorgeous 25-metre-long infinity pool will keep casual dippers and serious swimmers equally happy. It's set in front of the resort's Koi restaurant, handy for ordering snacks and cool drinks poolside.
A no-nonsense mosquito spray and high-factor sunscreen; Borneo is equatorial and the UV rays are very strong. If you’re planning to trek, remember hardy shoes or trainers. There aren’t any shops on the island, although Kota Kinabalu's malls are only a short boat ride away.
Smoking is allowed on balconies only. Budding marine biologists can book a session at nearby sister resort Gayana's Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) to help out with coral replanting.
Bunga Raya is very child-friendly although the number of family rooms is limited, so you’ll never feel overrun by kids. Baby cots are for free and extra beds for under-12s cost RM350 a night. Staff can babysit for RM35 an hour.
Bunga Raya is very child-friendly and welcomes families.
Any age, although kids old enough to swim may get more out of a stay here.
The Two-Bedroom Deluxe Suite offers separate king and twin bedrooms, with a sea-view balcony. Hilltop retreat the Three-bedroom Deluxe Suite comes with a master bedroom upstairs and two matching bedrooms below, plus a plunge pool with deck.
Most kids will be easily distracted by the beach and fab mix of swimming, snorkelling and watersports on offer, from kayaking to pedal and banana boats, paddle boards and jet skis. Daily activities for children can also be arranged, including art sessions, cookery classes, treasure hunts, beach and pool games, sandcastle building and tours of the nearby marine centre. Older kids will also enjoy the resort's forest canopy walk, jungle treks and zip-lining.
The hotel doesn't have a kids' pool, but inflatables and armbands are available at the main pool, and a lifeguard is on duty from 7am–7pm.
Children are welcome in both the resort's restaurants, and highchairs are provided. Staff can whip up packed lunches and prepare baby food or milk.
Hotel staff are happy to babysit for RM35 (around US$11) an hour, including tax, given a day's notice.
No need to pack
Baby cots, highchairs, bathing tubs and changing mats, available for free.
Extra beds for older kids cost RM350 a night including tax.
Using locally sourced materials, Bunga Raya is built around the natural environment, so don't be surprised to spy trees growing out of rooms. The hotel recycles avidly, participates in local beach and coral restoration schemes, and even serves seasonal seafood from its own fish farm.