Gayana Eco Resort
Malahom Bay, Gaya Island (08 838 0390/ www.gayana-eco-resort.com). Set on the beautiful Gaya Island and built as part of a marine park, Gayana Eco Resort is made up of 52 impressive over-water villas. At heart, the resort advocates protecting and re-generating our precious marine ecology and houses its own Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC). The touch pool is a delightful attraction kids will especially enjoy; cop a feel of harmless marine life found in the surrounding waters like sea cucumbers, starfishes and conches. Kids (and adults) can get involved in a variety of fun projects and activities – learn how to test water quality and explore the reef with an underwater camera. Visit the website to view special dive packages.
Nexus Resort Karambunai
Off Jalan Sepangar Bay, Kota Kinabalu (08 841 1222/www.nexusresort.com). Despite receiving mixed reviews (some frown upon the dated state of the rooms), Nexus boasts of a beautiful location and excellent service. The attention to detail from the staff is second to none. We can’t complain about the wide range of facilities for kids including a fun pool, a large toddler pool (a large sunshade is erected in the afternoons) and the Nexie Club, which is open to guests between the ages of four and 11 years old. The resort’s restaurants offer kids’ menus and there are plenty of activities for the whole family including batik painting, origami lessons, horseback riding and football matches.
Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort
Pantai Dalit Beach, Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu (08 879 7888/www.shangri-la.com). Voted fifth in Asia’s Top 10 Family Resorts 2014 by readers of the Australian-based Holiday with Kids magazine, Rasa Ria sits in a gorgeous tropical setting, where jungle meets beach. The Kids’ Club, for children between five and 11 years old, is easily one of the best around. Kids can try their hand at making musical instruments, sit in on storytelling sessions and learn to weave coconut leaves. Visit the nearby nature reserve and orangutan education centre, but not before signing your kids up to become rangers for a day (a fitness check is required).