Turtle Bay Resort: Oahu’s North Shore gem


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The Hawaiian island Oahu isn’t all Honolulu, and Waikiki is much from the one — and even greatest — seaside on the island.

Now, that’s no shade meant towards Waikiki, because the vacation spot is wealthy in historical past and has a lot to supply. However you might be lacking out on lots of what makes Oahu particular if that’s the one slice of it you expertise.

On this journey to Hawaii, my household determined that we needed one thing completely different from the Oahu we’d skilled earlier than, so for a part of our trip, we headed north, sure for Oahu’s North Shore and the world’s nicest lodging — Turtle Bay Resort.

Right here’s what we discovered hiding in plain sight on the island’s North Shore.


Associated: These are the very best resorts on Oahu

What’s Turtle Bay Resort?

Turtle Bay Resort is the one true massive resort on Oahu’s North Shore, and it’s an establishment unto itself because it has been there for over 50 years — since 1972, to be precise.

It sits on a large 1,400 beachfront acres and has 408 rooms unfold out over three wings. And, because the title suggests, you could very effectively encounter inexperienced sea turtles there, amongst different wildlife.


You may additionally acknowledge the resort, or at the very least a few of its surrounding terrain, because it’s been used over 150 instances as a filming location for motion pictures and exhibits — “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Starvation Video games,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Misplaced,” “Jumanji” and “The Superb Race,” to call a couple of.


This resort leans into its surf tradition historical past, each by way of its decor and its modern-day choices, together with the on-site Jamie O’Brien Surf Expertise.


Standout options of Turtle Bay Resort

  • The peaceable North Shore location is off the crushed path and supplies loads of house to unfold out, loosen up and revel in watching the sundown and the waves.
  • There are numerous on-site actions, together with horseback driving, surf classes, kayaking excursions, night time snorkeling, ukulele classes, a spa, golf and pickleball.
  • The rooms have been renovated in 2021 with an all-new look that also feels fairly contemporary.
  • You’re near some enjoyable, small shore cities equivalent to Haleiwa, and you can too go to see surfers catching large waves on the close by Ehukai Seaside Park.
  • You’ve acquired shot at seeing some magnificent sea turtles on the seaside of the resort.

The best way to e book Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort is expensive, however the excellent news is that it’s a part of the American Specific Effective Resorts + Resorts program, which makes that an important pathway to e book in case you have The Platinum Card® from American Specific.

Reserving by way of the FHR program unlocks late checkout, potential upgrades, a each day breakfast credit score of $110 and a $150 property credit score to make use of as soon as throughout your keep. And belief me — you want these credit, in order that’s a extremely good approach to e book.

Anticipate to spend about $700 per night time (earlier than taxes and the $58.99-per-day resort charge) for normal rooms which might be a bit over 400 sq. toes. Peak dates can go greater.

For budgeting functions, know that parking is an extra $40 per day, and valet parking and self-parking are the identical worth. Due to the resort’s location, you virtually actually wish to hire a automotive to get right here for those who plan to do any exploring in any respect, which you completely ought to.


The place is Turtle Bay Resort?

As talked about, Turtle Bay Resort is on the seaside of Oahu’s North Shore, a couple of one-hour drive (longer if there’s visitors) from Daniel Okay. Inouye Worldwide Airport (HNL).


The vibe at Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay had an attention-grabbing vibe as there was a big contingent of adults that gave the impression to be there for a multiday convention, but in addition loads of households like us that have been there on spring break. There are a number of retailers and a spa on-site — but in addition choices for households.


For instance, youngsters have been welcomed proper from the beginning with a go to to the treasure chest of toys subsequent to the check-in desk.


Due to the big and comparatively outside nature of the resort, it will possibly comfortably cater to each adults and households on the similar time.


The one group that I don’t assume can be greatest suited right here is rowdy nightlife seekers, as this can be a sleepier, extra mellow a part of the island. And whereas I might see some teams doubtlessly creating their very own get together on the adults-only pool or foyer bar, this isn’t actually the form of place that you simply go for thrilling nightlife.


Beautiful rooms with a view

Let’s now head as much as a room with a view — which I feel all of the rooms at Turtle Bay have as a consequence of its distinctive footprint out on this level.


Our room with two queen beds was completely splendid for my two youngsters and me, with very comfy bedding, stable soundproofing and a balcony overlooking the water.

The air con was top-notch at maintaining the room cool, which I by no means take as a right on an island.

Housekeeping was included each day, the room had a minifridge and there was a set of desk and chairs, which is clearly tremendous helpful for simple meals within the room and even doing slightly work.

The lavatory had a pleasant entryway with a closet, self-importance, bench and loads of house for baggage or to prepare. Then, there was a separate lavatory space with the bathroom and bathe.

Included and add-on actions

Whereas Turtle Bay does have a resort charge of near $60 per day, it consists of quite a few experiences. Within the foyer, you’ll discover a checklist of each day actions equivalent to lei-making, hula classes, bike excursions, farm excursions, and so forth.

The trick to that is that most of the actions have restricted capability and do replenish, so you will want to plan upfront if you wish to benefit from all that’s provided. Additionally, know that among the experiences listed do have an extra charge, so don’t simply assume all the things on the board is free.


The one exercise we booked and paid for on our quick journey was a horse path journey, open to these age 7 and up. There are a variety of horse rides obtainable, starting from pony rides for the littlest riders to pricier personal sundown rides.

Horse rides

We took a midmorning group path journey, booked simply the day earlier than, that lasted about 45 minutes and price $115 per particular person (earlier than tip), and we discovered that to be cash effectively spent.

We walked alongside the shoreline and thru the forest a bit on well-trained horses that solely often would try to go for some inexperienced, leafy snacks. Fortunately, the guides have been useful, form and instructive when one thing like that will occur.

Bike rides

Bikes have been complimentary and a good way to get round, although technically solely obtainable for 45-minute leases. Golf carts are additionally obtainable as a approach to traverse the large property, however sadly, they’re solely obtainable to make use of when going to or from a booked exercise, which was a little bit of a bummer.


Nalu Spa

The Nalu Spa at Turtle Bay was an enormous spotlight for me. It was not overly fancy and had a soothing open-air ready space the place you would take heed to the ocean.

I used to be capable of e book a same-day 30-minute therapeutic massage. What made me really feel good pulling the set off is that whereas it was costly, the value wasn’t inflated for being shorter than the usual therapeutic massage. On high of that, it was a full therapy that got here with entry to all the identical facilities because the longer, pricier therapies.

I adored my half-hour within the open-air therapy room with a masseuse who was nice at checking in on stress and actually made the many of the quick time we had by specializing in precisely what I requested for. It was $120, but it surely felt like cash effectively spent.

Health courses and health club

Turtle Bay has a big health club and a separate health studio. The health courses vary from high-intensity interval coaching to yoga. Some courses include an additional charge, however some are included for resort friends.

Nature middle

On the resort, you’ll discover a actually informative nature middle with instructional shows in regards to the space. It’s a small however uncommon (in a great way) providing and completely value a go to.


There are a couple of half-dozen (largely higher-end) retailers at Turtle Bay — my favourite was the Surf Home, which had surf-style clothes and decor.


Golf and disc golf

Whether or not you wish to play conventional golf or disc golf, Turtle Bay has you lined. The resort has not one however two 18-hole golf programs — the Arnold Palmer Course claims to be the No. 1 course on Oahu.

But when disc golf is extra your fashion, we noticed an expansive course close to the stables.



Final however not least, in terms of facilities, households will seemingly actually admire the on-site laundry that friends can entry (there are easy-to-operate coin machines within the room) to get all the things clear. We have been grateful to have the ability to use them earlier than heading to the following cease on our journey.


Swimming pools and on-site seaside

For those who haven’t seen by now from among the pictures, we didn’t hit the climate lottery whereas on Oahu’s North Shore. Our two-night keep in March was chilly, grey and typically wet. Whereas such a climate can occur anyplace, my expertise is that it does occur extra on the northern shore than in another components of the island, particularly within the winter months, so I’d take into account it a better threat right here.

This meant that our time on the swimming pools and on the seaside wasn’t as intensive as it could have been if we’d had higher climate.

Turtle Bay swimming pools

Despite the fact that we didn’t use them very a lot, Turtle Bay has three on-site swimming pools which might be layered in a method that makes every really feel distinct from the others: the principle pool, the children pool with a waterslide and the adults-only pool.


The one pool that was ever busy throughout our keep was the adults-only pool, which was crammed within the afternoon and early night with conferencegoers.

My 8-year-old slide tester gave the waterslide a thumbs-up, even when it was slightly chilly.


On a much less optimistic notice, whereas the new tub within the adults-only pool space appeared beautiful, the one on the principle pool degree appeared like there was a bit extra movie and/or scum in it and wasn’t very inviting to me.


However again on a optimistic notice, there was included reef-safe sunscreen obtainable to be used, which helps tremendously with packing.


Turtle Bay seashores

The Turtle Bay Resort is situated on the seaside, the place you’ll discover complimentary seaside chairs, umbrellas and toys.

Nonetheless, the Kuilima Cove seaside that’s instantly subsequent to the resort isn’t the one seaside. The truth is, the Turtle Bay web site lists seven seashores that you could stroll to from the resort.

Kawela Bay is slightly over a mile from the resort, however simple to entry by bike, and was my favourite of the bunch as a peaceful bay that wasn’t very busy throughout my visits. That is additionally the place they maintain lots of the surf classes.


A lot of eating decisions


Hoolana, the bistro simply off the foyer the place you will get your espresso, muffins, flatbreads and extra, opens each day at 5:30 a.m., which is nice for these jet-lagged mornings the primary few days in Hawaii.

We actually loved the pineapple coconut muffin — simply funds accordingly, as breakfast for myself and two youngsters was at the very least $40 right here, even once we have been ordering very conservatively.


A simple spot to eat outside — and benefit from the sundown — is the aptly named Sundown restaurant.


Sundown had pleasant service, however the meals was simply OK. It did the trick for that first night time, however regardless of costing about $135 for 2 youngsters and me, nothing was memorable.

Seaside Home by Roy Yamaguchi

After that first meal at Sundown, I used to be frightened that the meals at Turtle Bay wouldn’t be a spotlight of the journey. Fortunately, that first impression wasn’t consultant of the entire.

Our lunch the following day at Seaside Home by Roy Yamaguchi was glorious.


Right here, even the kids’s meal ($19) was thoughtfully offered in three programs, together with a cute salad and quesadilla starter.

I had the bento field with tempura shrimp, a poke bomb and an alae roll ($28), and it was completely unbelievable. This open-air restaurant is simply off the seaside and is an absolute star that all of us beloved. Make reservations upfront on OpenTable to make sure you get a spot right here.


The fanciest restaurant at Turtle Bay is probably going Alaia, which is in the principle constructing. We tried each breakfast and dinner right here — and that is the place you’d use your Amex FHR breakfast credit score for those who booked by way of that program.

Some standout objects we had have been the focaccia bread with whipped butter that got here with dinner, and, surprisingly, the children meal that was served in one other three-course fashion with a crudite starter, a primary of our selecting (we went with rooster) and ice cream for dessert. The children meal was $29, so once more, funds accordingly, however all the things was fairly flavorful. I used to be craving veggies, so I had the beet salad ($21), which was additionally contemporary and flavorful, but it surely wouldn’t go far for those who have been actually hungry.

Whereas our go to wasn’t lengthy sufficient to attempt all of it, at Turtle Bay, you’ll additionally discover the Off The Lip bar, Lei Lei’s Bar & Grill and The Seaside Membership. On Wednesdays, there’s a Paniolo Luau close to the stables that begins at $195 for adults and $120 for youths 4-12 (3 and beneath are free).

Environment friendly service

Service was all the time form and useful at Turtle Bay, however not constantly proactive. For instance, for those who requested about an exercise and the workers member stated it was full, they wouldn’t proactively recommend different ones or examine for the following day. It was extra of a transactional question-and-answer-style interplay, however nonetheless, everybody was all the time form and useful.

It’s value mentioning that there’s a nice valet system the place you may scan a QR code in your ticket if you’re prepared to your automotive, which instantly texts to your automotive to be introduced round.


Causes the resort might not be the one for you

We actually loved our time at Turtle Bay, despite the fact that it didn’t develop into a pool-and-beach kind of journey, however no resort is for everybody, so listed below are some causes it may not be for you.

  • It was very windy and a bit chilly throughout our March go to, which may occur through the winter months on the North Shore, so for those who simply need a heat and sunny time in Hawaii and are touring within the winter months, this might not be the fitting spot for you … although, after all, nobody can actually predict the climate.
  • Turtle Bay is in a comparatively remoted spot in comparison with another components of the island, so whereas there are some meals vehicles and smaller seaside cities on that aspect of the island, if you wish to be “near all the things,” this might not be the fitting spot to remain.
  • This can be true for many locations in Hawaii, but it surely’s costly. Not solely are the room charges going to be fairly excessive, however meals and exercise prices will add up — together with the parking and resort charges.
  • This would possibly range from season to season, however there was a convention vibe, so whereas there are households at Turtle Bay, it’s not as family-centric as, say, Disney’s Aulani on the identical island.
  • It’s very massive and unfold out, which can be an important factor for some vacationers, however if you’d like or want the entire points of the resort at your fingertips, this might not be your best option.


Turtle Bay has a really detailed web site of choices in terms of accessibility.

Highlights embrace 16 completely different accessible rooms, together with one ocean bungalow, with door ramps to the balcony, seize bars within the lavatory, and decrease towel bars and gown hooks.

The resort additionally has switch methods for the swimming pools and scorching tubs, accessible entrances to the entire eating places and bars, and extra.


I’m an enormous fan of Hawaii’s completely different north shores, and this one was no exception. It may be simple for first-timers to imagine that Waikiki is the place to be on Oahu, however I’d say upon getting skilled it, it’s time to discover extra of the island, and heading north is a good way to try this.

Whereas Oahu’s North Shore is actually changing into extra commercialized and tourist-driven, it nonetheless feels way more genuine to Hawaii than another components which might be lined with resort after resort.

Turtle Bay is a approach to have a style of the very best of each worlds — the facilities and comforts of a giant resort only a quick drive away from small cities and true surf tradition.

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