Kamis, 31 Mei 2012

Gaya Island Resort Reaches Mount Kinabalu's Summit

On Saturday, 26 May at 5:30am, a bleary eyed group staggered aboard a bus with a brewing sense of excitement and anticipation at the two day adventure which was set to unfold. The group consisted of General Manager of Gaya Island Resort, Jeffery Mong, and several of the resort's team and members from YTL Hotels' Kuala Lumpur office, Reef Check Malaysia and also well-known celebrities, Elaine Daly and Carmen Soo.

Director of Public Relations for YTL Hotels, Tracy Khee, along with the rest of the Gaya Island Resort team who had elected to stay behind, gathered to give their final voices of support and a farewell wave to the chosen few as the bus embarked towards Mt. Kinabalu before making their own challenging climb back to bed.
The journey from Kota Kinabalu to South East Asia's tallest mountain at 4,095 metres in height took less than two hours. The time would jump every so often whenever a glimpse of the looming mountain was caught which would captivate and raise the excitement levels, with small lumps forming in the throats of a few as they realized the task that lay before them. Jeffery Mong though remained a calm figure with his only thought being an image of standing on top of the mountain with his team standing beside him while raising the YTL Hotels' flag which lay in the seat next to him to mark the company's entry into Sabah, Borneo.
Upon arrival, Anslem, the team's guide from Let's Go Borneo, assembled his group at the foot of the trek at Timpohon gate. His words were full of encouragement and advice however they couldn't help but realize how small they were as individuals when compared to one of Mother Nature's natural creations.
At 9:30am, the trek began with the sun shining brightly, lighting up East Malaysia's natural wilderness and barely an hour had passed before a lucky omen was spotted overhead; a rare sighting of a red-leaf monkey who reflected back the same wide eyed expression he received from those staring up at him. Anslem explained that his appearance was a sign that this would be a memorable climb.

It certainly was memorable, as 6 kilometres of ascending stairs, made up of a variety of wood, stone and natural soil, was not something you would quickly forget. It was a tedious ordeal which strained at the muscles and drained the enthusiasm like a dripping tap. It wasn't made any easier by the sight of the porters who would march up the steps, overtaking everybody, while carrying a weight of at least 40kg which included gas cylinders and many other items. A series of rest points was a welcome relief but it was the moments where seemingly all of Borneo was laid before them, with glimpses of the summit and encouraging words from each other being the main motivators to keep trudging on.

By 4pm, the weary team representing Gaya Island Resort stumbled into the Pendant Hut but were only afforded enough time to stake a claim to their beds for the night before being ushered into the dining hall for a briefing on the early morning attempt to reach the summit and the Via Ferreta. Officially regarded as the world's highest Via Ferreta, the brief split the group, leaving several excited and others apprehensive at what was waiting in store for them.

Dinner was served down at the rest-house, Laban Rata, which allowed them to replenish their energy and bear witness to the stunning sunset that cast a red glow across the sky before nightfall descended. Brief but enough to inspire the room to want to to see something promised to be even more beautiful early the next morning.
The toll of the previous hike told and by 9pm, the team had all fallen into a deep sleep but it wasn't long before the switch was flicked and the lights came on and a breakfast of champions, toast, was made available. When 2:30am arrived, the push towards the final 2 kilometres commenced.
A white rope and a guide showed the way as the group had to climb the first part of the remaining 2 kilometres by using the rope to help pull themselves up until they reached the final checkpoint. From there, a steep incline was their awaiting reward which continued all the way up to Low's Peak. Dozens upon dozens of shuffling bodies made their way forward, reminiscent to the zombies from The Walking Dead in their slow, methodical movements which was illuminated in the night by the bright stars which scattered across the sky's black canvas.

The last hundred metres proved to be the most draining but rewarding as the group scaled Low's Peak to reach the summit at 5:30am to witness the day's awakening. Dawn brought the rise of the sun which cast a light that revealed all that had been accomplished and a sight of Sabah Borneo from East Malaysia's highest point. Just as he had envisioned and set out to accomplish, Jeffery Mong, with his team standing around him, raised the YTL Hotels' flag proudly with the sunrise as his backdrop. 
All that was left was the descent which was no easy feat. 8 kilometres of declining slopes and steps awaited, including the Via Ferreta. A course that involved scaling down the side of the mountain which pushed the inhibitions of the wary and enthused the excitement of others but was a challenge which was met by all. Finally, as the sun set to close the second day, the team returned to their starting point at Timpohon Gate.

Along with the rest of the team, Carmen Soo and Elaine Daly found the climb both difficult but rewarding and refused to give in to the challenge Mount Kinabalu had offered. They displayed the same steel determination they have shown throughout their careers to reach the summit and were proud to be part of the accomplishment and Jeffery Mong's vision.

Everybody who had been part of the assembled team left Mount Kinabalu with the memory of the sunrise still clear in their minds. The sunrise not only offered Gaya Island Resort's team a sense of satisfaction but on that clear morning, it had also presented Mount Kinabalu a shadow which it used to cast across all of Kota Kinabalu with the shadow's peak landing directly on Pulau Gaya and Gaya Island Resort, marking the resort and its team who had reached its summit with the honour of being Distinctively Borneo.

A special thanks to Cede Prudente Photography for all the spectacular photographs.

Kamis, 24 Mei 2012

Gaya Island Resort Sets Its Sights On Mount Kinabalu

Surrounded by the natural wilderness of Sabah, East Malaysia, the silhouette of Borneo's natural world-renowned landmark, Mount Kinabalu, can be admired from several of the balconies at Gaya Island Resort. The highest mountain throughout Malaysia is both breathtaking and inspiring and will leave you gazing in admiration at the spectacular sight.

What struck us when we gazed at that mountain was a vision. A vision of imagining ourselves standing at Borneo’s highest peak with the world lying beneath our feet as we witnessed the dawn of a new day. It was a thought we knew everybody who came to Gaya Island Resort and set their sights upon Mount Kinabalu would share. It is a vision which we aim to turn into a reality.

Led by Jeffery Mong, General Manager of Gaya Island Resort, this Saturday on the 26th of May, 2012, Gaya Island Resort will make its mark within Borneo ahead of opening its doors on the 1st of July, 2012, by assembling a team to scale the mountain and reach the summit. Along with staff from YTL Hotels, the team from Gaya Island Resort will be joined by well-known celebrities, Elaine Daly and Carmen Soo, as well as several members of Reef Check Malaysia and North Borneo Safari. The goal for each individual is to make it to the top. The collective goal of the team is to have an experience like none they’ve had before and share a moment of accomplishment.

Jeffery Mong’s enthusiasm and drive is shared throughout his assembled team with Elaine Daly counting down the days. “I'm extremely excited to be joining this hike up Mount Kinabalu with YTL Hotels.” She said. “I’ve been preparing for the trip mentally & physically for a month now and simply cannot wait! One week to go till the peak!”

General Manager of Reef Check Malaysia, Julian Hyde, has not been resting on his laurels either. “I’ve just finished our last four hour training walk for the Mt Kinabalu climb!! Walking through an old rubber plantation up Bukit Putih, Cheras, we are hoping the terrain will be similar to what we will soon be facing in Sabah. Amazing to find such a lovely area so close to KL. Lots of people on the trek, most of them giving a friendly ‘Morning’ as we pass, panting, up the steep slopes.”

An idea is only an idea until you do what is required to turn it into reality and Jeffery Mong believes that Gaya Island Resort can’t claim to be Distinctively Borneo if a flag bearing the resort’s emblem can’t be proudly raised on Mount Kinabalu’s summit. This Sunday, as the sun rises over East Malaysia with all of Borneo before him, that’s exactly what he aims to do.

Selasa, 15 Mei 2012

Gaya Island Resort's PURE Activities Progamme

Uncover a place of wild mystery with YTL Hotels at Borneo, Sabah that captivates all those who step into its natural kingdom which is diverse in nature and rich in culture. To discover Borneo  in the most suitable way to you, Gaya Island Resort offers you the PURE activities programme.

The PURE activities programme is designed to vivify your senses and allow you to witness, feel, taste, touch and discover all of East Malaysia, Borneo at the pace that suits you most through its four activity paths: Discovery, Vigour, Creativity and Balance.

If you love to take an outdoor adventure  then take the path of discovery which  navigates you through the natural environment of Borneo with our resident naturalist on guided nature walks, or enjoy a personalised gourmet picnic on the island's pristine white-sand beach Tavajun Bay. Go beyond Pulau Gaya and explore the surrounding islands on a private yacht charter or witness the stunning sunset on the sunset cruise. Explore the hidden depths of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park with our Snorkelling & Dive Programmes that takes you to spectacular coral reefs and diverse marine wildlife which all await to be uncovered.

Perhaps your one of those who just can't help but bounce off the walls when you're on holiday and need to always be on the move. With our path of vigour, you can burn all that energy and need to stay moving by jogging through the rainforest, or kayaking and stand up paddle surfing in the sea. Or explore Borneo at your own pace from the golf course with several available to test your skills, including Borneo Golf & Country Club designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus.

For those creative individuals who have that forever urge to create, invoke your creative side by trying your hand at creating your own memento with our handicraft class which represents the ethnic background of Sabah or join our tribal art class and immerse yourself within the arts of Borneo which will deliver a deeper understanding of the local culture. If you want to be creative while amazing those back home with more than just your stories, then put your culinary talents to the test in the kitchen by learning the secrets of Borneo's dishes with our chef's guidance who will help you master new cuisines.

The path of balance is aimed at restoring balance to the body and mind and is ideal for those who are seeking a luxurious stay of relaxation. Along with sessions of yoga and guided meditation, you can pamper yourself in our tranquil hideaway, Spa Village Gaya Island, which is set amidst a lush mangrove. This unique spa village draws on aspects of the natural environment of Pulau Gaya and the culture of Borneo to create an uplifting and unforgettable experience.
Gaya Island Resort is designed to provide you the perfect location to explore East Malaysia however suits you best at your ideal pace.

Minggu, 13 Mei 2012

Happy Mother's Day

We wanted to show how much we appreciate all the Mothers out there by acknowledging those that chose to spend their special day at YTL Hotels' stellar Malaysian properties, Tanjong Jara Resort and Pangkor Laut Resort.

Mothers brought on holiday to Malaysia's tropical paradise, the one island one resort, Pangkor Laut Resort, by their families received a beautiful rose, handed to many by their own children (just in case they had forgotten to bring a gift themselves to the island) or found it waiting for them on their bed in their room upon their arrival.

While at the 'Unmistakeably Malay' resort, Tanjong Jara Resort, enthusiastic children took to the kitchen on the Saturday and under the guidance of the 'Walking Menu', Chef Ann, worked hard to show their Mums just how much they appreciate them. They created scrumptious art with their decorative cookies, each one accompanied with a personal message, telling them just how much they mean to them.

Our aim for anybody who visits our luxurious properties is to deliver memorable experiences and help make those important days truly special and we hope that we were able to do that for all of you who stayed with us over Mother's Day.

Kamis, 10 Mei 2012

Summer Holiday Special

Summer is just around the corner and YTL Hotels have put together a limited seven day offer for you to take advantage of with the Summer Holiday Special package for Pangkor Laut Resort and Tanjong Jara Resort.These special packages to our Malaysian based properties offer you a collection of inspiring experiences and not only that, but they also include all of your meals for the duration of your stay.

At Pangkor Laut Resort, you can immerse yourself within the surroundings of a private tropical island paradise while dining on a two-course lunch on the edge of the two-million year old rainforest in front of one of the world's best beaches, Emerald Bay, at Chapman's Bar. Following a day of leisure, you can then choose to enjoy an intimate set dinner at Uncle Lim's restaurant with the stunning view of the Straits of Malacca as the sun sets or at the vibrant Feast Village.

If you wish to soak in the Malaysian culture, then take a trip to the 'Unmistakeably Malay' resort Tanjong Jara Resort which is anchored in Sucimurni, the traditional Malay way of life. You can explore the surrounding nature of palm trees and the turquoise South China Sea by accompanying the resident naturalist, Captain Mok, on the Jara Hill Walk. Once you've spent your day building up an appetite, you can either order off the menu or enjoy a steamboat dinner at the Di Atas Sungei, which is Malay for 'Above The River'. The restaurant sits above a river which flows into the South China Sea and is shaded by a huge Ketapang tree.

The Summer Holiday Special package is a great opportunity to take that much needed summer break. Rates start from MYR999 nett per room on a nightly basis for Pangkor Laut Resort and for Tanjong Jara Resort, MYR799 nett per room on a nightly basis with a minimum two night stay requirement.

This is a special offer which ends in seven days time. You can view the package details and make your bookings by following this link: http://www.ytlhotels.com.my/summer_holiday_special.html.

Senin, 07 Mei 2012

Gaya Island Resort: Distinctively Borneo

In less than two months time, YTL Hotels highly anticipated 5 star Malaysian resort, Gaya Island Resort, will be opening its doors on July 1, 2012. The luxury resort is the perfect launch pad to discover Borneo as it is located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and set on the shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

If you're planning on taking a trip to East Malaysia soon, Gaya Island Resort offers you several unforgettable experiences. At the resort, you can take an enchanting stroll through the rainforest with our resident naturalist who will educate you about all of Borneo's rare wildlife species that you come across during your nature walk. Exploring Sabah's natural surroundings also goes beyond the rainforest as our resident marine biologist will lead you to snorkelling sites located in front of the resort at Malohom Beach and also at the shore of the resort's private beach area, Tavajun Bay where you can witness some of the finest marine and coral wonders throughout Malaysia.

If you wish to turn the sights of vibrant coral reefs and vast variety of marine life into a lasting memory, you can. Gaya Island Resort offers you the chance to learn how to take amazing pictures underwater. The Padi underwater digital photography class is a two-part introduction course at selected dive sites within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Of course, not all great experiences have to be made underwater. Board the private 64-foot Princess yacht, Lumba-Lumba, and cruise around Gaya's neighbouring islands and admire the breathtaking natural scenes around you. From views of the lush rainforests, the majestic Mount Kinabalu and glimpses of nature's wildlife in their natural environment, the luxury cruise provides you with many memories to take away with you.
Holidays are about creating those romantic moments with your significant other and at Gaya Island Resort, you can have a private dining experience on the pristine golden sand beach, or if you fancy to dine under the stars, you can have an intimate meal served by a personal chef on the rooftop of Fisherman's Cove. If you wish to truly make a romantic proposition to your significant other, why not offer a day that will etch into your memories for a lifetime by having a private wedding on the golden sand beach with Mount Kinabalu as your backdrop. To top off the romantic holiday, treat your partner, or better still, join her, with a pampering visit to Spa Village Gaya Island, one of the few spas in the world that is situated amidst a mangrove which offers spa treatments which reflect the cultural healing traditions of Sabah, Borneo.

What about those that just need that holiday in the sun and want to spend their days lying out on a beach with the waves lapping at the shore. Tavajun Bay, a tranquil beach located only five-minutes from the resort by boat, is perfect for that day of relaxation and with a personalised gourmet picnic basket in hand, you'll find it hard to ever want to leave. That isn't the only eating available on a beach setting at the resort as you can embrace the indigenous culture every Friday and Saturday with a Borneo tribal-style barbeque. With the sun setting over Mount Minabalu as your backdrop and the sounds of live traditional Kadazan music as the background, you can feel like a local chieftain preparing for a feast.

Gaya Island Resort is a place which will inspire your creative side, inject some vigour into your day, restore some balance and help you to discover the amazing wonders of Sabah, Borneo through PURE'sActivities. The concept of PURE is an activity programme which provides four different paths: Discovery, Vigour, Creativity and Balance. Each path is different and each path helps you to discover the local culture and natural environment in the way most suited to you.

Whichever way you decide to discover Borneo, Gaya Island Resort is the ideal place to do it from. Make sure you don't miss out on the chance to do so with us and have a stay filled with memorable experiences.