Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort

by | Mar 17, 2012

This 840-acre resort is on 5 miles of beaches. On our visit for this edition it was looking the best we’ve seen it. The place seems to have a very low-key, relaxed vibe overall, and the staff is nice. New owners have slowly but steadily been putting money—well over $70 million (including solar power)—into the property. In other circumstances, they might have simply leveled the buildings and rebuilt them. But Hawai‘i’s current laws would never again let them build so close to the ocean. The result is a polished gem.

Rooms in the main building are simple, clean, modern and warm in tones of turquoise and browns. The new bathrooms are fabulous with rainshower heads, handhelds, and even benches in some showers. (Most of the rooms have been converted to showers only, so ask if you need a tub.) Out on a point, nearly all the resort’s rooms have grand ocean views, but the lanais facing the bay are smaller than the others in the building, and some second floor lanais only have a railing to look out from and no place to sit. So be sure when you book to ask about your room lanai.

If you can swing the cost, the 42 oceanfront cottages are as dreamy as any place you’ll stay in Hawai‘i with lots of hammocks by the ocean. Just walk out onto the grass and plunk yourself down in the sand in moments. They have luxurious baths with deep soaking tubs and separate showers.

The thing that makes Turtle Bay so great is also what hurts it. It’s near the northernmost tip of the island—far, far away from Waikiki. Your dining choices are limited to the on-site restaurants, or you’ll drive into Hale‘iwa 20 minutes (or more with traffic) away. Your nightlife will be almost non-existent unless there is a cool event going on in the Surfer Bar. But that’s also the charm here. Its beaches (nearby Kuilima Cove and Kawela Bay—a walk but worth it) are wonderful, the grounds are pretty, there are two golf courses that are never crowded on weekdays, and the pace is relaxing. This is the only place on O‘ahu where you can see sunrise over the water (at least from April to September) and sunset from the same location. Because they’re far from Waikiki, they have other activities (for extra) like horseback riding along the shoreline, off-road Segway tours and helicopter flights from their helipad. Their main pool is small for the size of the resort but has a waterslide and small keiki pool. Cabanas by the pool are an extra fee per day and you get… just the cabana and chairs. Casabella chairs are free on the beach, though.

Their 11,000-sq.-ft. Nalu Kinetic Spa has services for everyone, including keiki, and a state-of-the-art fitness room. They have a very wide selection of treatments for brides. Their chapel by the ocean is a small but lovely setting for a wedding. Their fitness center is large and offers personal trainers and classes, such as yoga and pilates for a fee. They have free keiki activities on certain days during the summer like ‘ukulele lessons and shell hula.

Their 57 villas (about 23 in the rental pool) were built in 2006 on the footprint of former cottages. They are drop-dead gorgeous and consist of studios to four-bedroom units with complete designer kitchens, deep soaking tubs, large TVs, Bose stereos, etc. It is obvious that they have spared no expense. (And neither will you when you get the bill.) The villas share their own pool and have access to exclusive concierge services while still being able to make use of all the resort’s main facilities. The catch is that amenities like this don’t come cheap, and we felt the cottages were a better deal than the villas. 


(866) 475-2567 or (808) 293-6000
57-091 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku
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