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The Exquisite Location of World Swimsuit 2016: Gaya Island Resort, Borneo

This year the World Swimsuit team had the distinct privilege of staying at the Gaya Island Resort, Borneo. The five-star establishment sits on the picturesque coast of Malohom Bay, on an island within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It is framed by abundant indigenous jungle and mangroves, and looks out over emerald waters with the magnificent Mount Kinabalu standing proudly in the distance.

Access to the resort is by boat only, and the trip from Jesselton Point provides the perfect welcome for guests. The 15-minute journey, in one of the resort’s boats, offers an overview of the beautiful surroundings; a shimmering sea dotted with islands, constantly being criss-crossed by fishing vessels of all shapes and sizes. Before long Gaya Island Resort can be seen in the distance, elegantly designed and perfectly complementing its exquisite backdrop, it’s the epitome of a luxury island getaway.

Opulent villas comprise accommodation at Gaya Island Resort. Ranging in size from 55 square metres up to 188 square metres, each villa enjoys a scenic setting and is finely crafted with indigenous materials, paying tribute to the local Sabahan culture with subtle finishes. Each boasts breath-taking views of the nearby mangroves, jungle canopies, the tropical rainforest or the tranquil South China Sea. In-room amenities reflect the resort’s high standards and include a luxurious bed, a large writing desk, and a spacious bathroom with an oversized tub, and his and hers vanity units. Gaya Island Resort is much more than just a pretty place to stay though, it’s a world of indulgence and adventure waiting to be explored.

The highly-renowned Spa Village is among the best in Asia, and offers an array of treatments that will relax, refresh, rejuvenate, and revitalise each and every guest. Located on the edge of a lush mangrove forest, the setting alone is enough to transport guests to a world of tranquility. Each spa treatment is a uniquely tailored experience, combining the age-old healing practices of the area with contemporary practices using essential ingredients extracted from the land itself.

Adventure abounds at Gaya Island Resort. Its PURE world encompasses its extensive activities program which includes PADI snorkelling and dive programmes in one of the world’s most diverse and impressive marine settings, one-of-a-kind fishing excursions, guided nature walks in the resort’s adjacent rainforest, visits to the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre, and much more. Even just a walk around the resort is an adventure in itself, with regular encounters with some of the more exotic residents including monkeys, monitor lizards, hornbills, to mention but a few.

Throughout our stay, the World Swimsuit team relished in the variety and diversity offered by the resort and its nearby attractions. Below is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the many locations we enjoyed while shooting.

An intimate breakfast on the resort’s beach

Tana Boshoff looking stunning in front of the resort. 

Gavin Bond shooting Jessica Strother in the shallows in front of the resort. 

The lovely Bianca Koyabe taking her boat for a stroll. 

Tanya Mityushina embracing the local terrain. 

Jacques Weyers shooting the sporty Kara Del Toro in the waters of Tavajun Bay.

Zippora Seven on the beach, after a roll in the sand!

A typical Bornean sunset, captured from the boat. 

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