Elizabeth here, sharing the second instalment of my Malaysia highlights and some VERY special Sabah honeymoon / holiday offers just for you.

(Want to get up to £800 off your honeymoon? Check out the offers at the bottom of this post!)

My time in Sabah, on the island of Borneo, consisted of hanging out with orangutans, swimming in turquoise waters, exploring the local night markets, being pampered at luxury spas and going on rainforest river safaris…is it any wonder I fell in love with the place?

In fact, it was all so romantic and ‘trip of a lifetime’ worthy that I often felt like I was on a honeymoon for one! (Despite travelling with a group of friendly travel bloggers as part of the #LoveSabah campaign.) Every evening as I basked in the glow of Sabah’s stunning sunsets I had this intense urge to squeeze the hand of whoever happened to be standing next to me. Awkward.

Sunsets are even better when shared with someone you love, don’t you think?

Gaya-Island-Resort-Sunset-

Not that I’m complaining! I got to hog the huge bed at the picturesque Pacific Sutera Hotel, enjoy one of the best massages of my entire life at The Gaya Island Resort spa and soak in my very own balcony hot tub overlooking the ocean at the Shang Ri La Rasa Ria Resort. Not too shabby eh?

Today, I’m sharing a little more about the resorts that I would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone planning a honeymoon, destination wedding or even simply a romantic getaway in Borneo!

Gaya Island Resort

I spent the day at Gaya Island Resort, located within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and can honestly say it was one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels I’ve ever been to. It’s a member of the Small Luxury Hotels Of The World group, which is a big seal of approval for me as I have a particular penchant for boutique hotels.

Another wonderful aspect to Gaya Island Resort is their focus on protecting and caring for the environment as well as respecting and celebrating the local Malaysian customs and culture.

Gaya Island Resort

Upon arrival at Gaya Island Resort (which is so peaceful and remote it can only be reached by boat!) guests are greeted by staff members lining the steps to the jetty, waiting with a warm smile and a refreshing, ‘welcome’ juice. The resort is traditional, Malay island style mixed with a clean, modern aesthetic. Their rooms are not really ‘rooms’ at all but suites and hill villas on different levels throughout the lush grounds.

The friendly team at this resort sure know how to cater to couples looking for romance – with heavenly couples massages at their spa village and a variety of private dining options, including a traditional Malaysian meal prepared especially for two on their secluded beach (a 5 minute boat ride away). Bliss. As well as a diverse variety of activities on offer from diving to yoga, cooking classes and nature trails.

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You can read all about the highlights from my day trip to Gaya Island Resort here.

Sadly, I didn’t get to stay overnight at the resort (or sample their breakfasts – I often judge my hotel stays on how good the buffet breakfasts are as it’s my favourite meal of the day!) but I did go on a tour of the villas and O.M.G, they are absolutely breath-taking. Think chic, minimalist decor, huge beds and balconies with epic views out over the ocean. Wow.

And, if the exquisite lunch we enjoyed, freshly prepared in front of us on the beach, is a reflection of the cuisine throughout the resort, then I imagine the breakfasts and dinners at Gaya Island Resort are phenomenal too!

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Special Mention For A Few Nights: Sukau Rainforest Lodge

We spent one night at the beautifully rustic, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, where Sir David Attenborough has stayed many times, and if that’s not indicative of it’s eco friendly-ness I don’t know what is.

It certainly wasn’t the fanciest place we stayed in on our trip but it was one of my favourites. With clean, pretty rooms complete with ceiling fans and a tropical air to them. Each guest is provided with their own traditional Malaysian sarong (for men and women) and they are encouraged to wear it to dinner – a delicious Malay buffet under the stars!

If you and your partner love the idea of staying up close and personal with nature, and don’t mind getting back to basics, this authentic, traditional lodge in the middle of the Kinabatangan River river is a must visit. (I’d recommend staying 1-3 nights, unless you’re a wildlife fanatic, or Sir Attenborough.)

Melapi jetty, Sukau Rainforest Lodge

photo via Borneo Travel Blog

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu is a truly gorgeous hotel, with attentive, welcoming staff and an incredible attention to detail. I stayed in a suite on the private, Ocean wing especially for VIPs – such as brides, grooms, their families and honeymooners.

Each luxurious suite has it’s own balcony (that’s almost as big as the room!) complete with aforementioned hot tub, as well as all the amenities you’d expect from a modern resort as well as a few added luxuries such as bowls of fresh and dried fruit to snack on throughout your stay and a room scent menu to be used with an oil burner placed inside your room.

It was such a treat to return to my room and be greeted by the intoxicating smell of exotic frangipani!

The resort also boasts three-kilometres of private beach, numerous beautiful pools, a variety of watersports and daily, scheduled activities, plus a nature reserve where you can spot orangutans. What’s not to love?

Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort Photos

I can’t begin to tell you how pampered, relaxed and just generally ‘taken care of’ I felt here.

When guests arrive they are announced by the strike of a gong and a gentle, tinkling Malaysian musical arrangement performed by musicians in traditional dress. Then comes a refreshing welcome drink. And, for those of you who value your long, leisurely holiday meals (and cocktails) as much as I do, I can confirm that the food here was top class.

There are so many restaurants to choose from but my favourite was the vibrant Makan Street which is set up with different stations, inspired by traditional Malaysian food stalls. My mouth is watering just thinking about our last meal there!

Shangri-La's-Rasa-Ria-Resort-Wedding

If you’re considering a destination wedding in Malaysia, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort could be the perfect setting. Imagine having a beachfront wedding ceremony under the shade of a traditional Malay beach hut draped in billowing, white fabric, overlooking the ocean? It doesn’t get much more romantic than that!

Find out more about their wedding packages here.

Now onto the AMAZING special offers…

(Please note that these offers are best suited to our UK based readers as they include a flight from London, Heathrow. And that, because they are so darn good, they are limited time offers so you’ll need to book by 31st March 2015.)

The following offers are exclusively available to Bridal Musings readers, as well as readers of the following fabulous travel blogs: Live Share Travel, Global GrasshopperInside The Travel Lab and Eat Like A Girl. So be sure to use the special links highlighted below to make the most of them.

You won’t find them anywhere else!

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(Gaya Island Resort)

Offer 1 – 10 Night Tour Of Sabah

· 10 night tour of Sabah staying at a variety of resorts (including Shangri La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Sukau Rainforest Lodge) from just £1108 per person flying with Royal Brunei Airlines
· Available for travel between 23rd February and 10th December 2015 (Other dates in 2016 are available on request)
· To find out more and book, visit: http://www.skytraktravel.com/services.php?id=174

Offer 2 – 10 Nights At Gaya Island Resort

· 10 nights at the Gaya Island Resort from £1199 per person, flying with Royal Brunei Airlines (save up to £817!)
· Available for travel between 23rd Feb and 10th December 2015 (Other dates in 2016 are available on request)
· To find out more and book, visit: http://www.premierholidays.co.uk/…/honeymoons_in_b…/_nocache

Offer 3 – 12 Nights At Shari-La’s Rasa Ria Resort

· 12 nights at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria from £1199 per person, flying with Royal Brunei Airlines (save up to £485)
· Available for travel between 24th February and 8th Decemer 2015 (Other dates in 2016 are available on request)
· To find out more and book, visit: http://www.premierholidays.co.uk/…/honeymoons_in_b…/_nocache

Shangri-La's-Rasa-Ria-Resort-Beach

(Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort)

Because I’ve experienced first hand how wonderful these resorts are, I’m pimping out these offers to everyone and anyone who’ll listen as they really are such great value. Please do help spread the word by sharing these offers with friends and family who are planning their holidays or honeymoons this year, trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

Sabah, Malaysia, is without a doubt, one of the most romantic (and fun) destinations I’ve ever been too. Imagine how amazing it’d be to experience it with the one you love most?!

This post was brought to you as a result of the #LoveSabah blog trip, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Sabah Tourism and Royal Brunei Airlines. But, as always, on Bridal Musings, we’re writing from the heart and only sharing the things we think you’ll love as much as we do.