Gaya Island Resort

Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and a 30-minute car and speedboat ride from the airport, this 121-villa resort offers breathtaking views of the ocean and Mount Kinabalu. The place is home to many rare species including the orangutan and the proboscis monkey. Plenty of outdoor activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, nature walks and private yacht charters are available. A 40-meter infinity swimming pool rounds out the fitness facilities. There are also more sedate handicraft classes and storytelling sessions, plus, a spa village with six rooms—surrounded by a mangrove forest—offering treatments informed by Borneo culture. Rooms are available from RM600 ($243).