Overview of Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu’s North Shore gem

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

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

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

This is what we discovered hiding in plain sight on the island’s North Shore.


Associated: These are the most effective resorts on Oahu

What’s Turtle Bay Resort?

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

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 a minimum of a few of its surrounding terrain, as it has been used over 150 occasions as a filming location for films and exhibits — “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Starvation Video games,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Misplaced,” “Jumanji” and “The Superb Race,” to call just a few.

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This resort leans into its surf tradition historical past, each by 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 offers loads of area to unfold out, calm down and revel in watching the sundown and the waves.
  • There are various on-site actions, together with horseback using, 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 are near some enjoyable, small shore cities akin to Haleiwa, and you too can go to see surfers catching massive waves on the close by Ehukai Seaside Park.
  • You’ve got obtained shot at seeing some magnificent sea turtles on the seaside of the resort.

The right way to ebook Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort is costly, however the excellent news is that it’s a part of the American Specific Advantageous Inns + Resorts program, which makes that an ideal pathway to ebook if 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 ebook.

Count on to spend about $700 per night time (earlier than taxes and the $58.99-per-day resort payment) 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 value. Due to the resort’s location, you nearly actually need to lease a automotive to get right here if you happen to 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 few 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 seemed to be there for a multiday convention, but additionally loads of households like us that have been there on spring break. There are a number of retailers and a spa on-site — but additionally choices for households.


For instance, children 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 out of doors nature of the resort, it could possibly comfortably cater to each adults and households on the similar time.


The one group that I do not assume could be finest suited right here is rowdy nightlife seekers, as it is a sleepier, extra mellow a part of the island. And whereas I might see some teams probably creating their very own get together on the adults-only pool or foyer bar, this is not actually the sort of place that you just go for thrilling nightlife.


Attractive rooms with a view

Let’s now head as much as a room with a view — which I believe 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 ultimate for my two children and me, with very comfy bedding, strong soundproofing and a balcony overlooking the water.

The air-con was top-notch at holding the room cool, which I by no means take without any consideration 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 straightforward meals within the room and even doing somewhat work.

The toilet had a pleasant entryway with a closet, self-importance, bench and loads of area 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 payment of near $60 per day, it contains quite a lot of experiences. Within the foyer, you will discover a checklist of each day actions akin to lei-making, hula classes, bike excursions, farm excursions, and so forth.

The trick to that is that lots of the actions have restricted capability and do replenish, so you will have to plan prematurely if you wish to benefit from all that’s provided. Additionally, know that a number of the experiences listed do have an extra payment, so do not simply assume every thing 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 selection of horse rides out there, starting from pony rides for the littlest riders to pricier non-public 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 individual (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 out there for 45-minute leases. Golf carts are additionally out there as a approach to traverse the large property, however sadly, they’re solely out there 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 a giant 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 in a position to ebook a same-day 30-minute therapeutic massage. What made me really feel good pulling the set off is that whereas it was costly, the worth wasn’t inflated for being shorter than the usual therapeutic massage. On high of that, it was a full remedy that got here with entry to all the identical facilities because the longer, pricier remedies.

I adored my half-hour within the open-air remedy 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, nevertheless it felt like cash effectively spent.

Health courses and gymnasium

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

Nature middle

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


There are a few 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 need to play conventional golf or disc golf, Turtle Bay has you coated. 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, on the subject of facilities, households will possible actually respect the on-site laundry that company can entry (there are easy-to-operate coin machines within the room) to get every thing clear. We have been grateful to have the ability to use them earlier than heading to the subsequent cease on our journey.


Swimming pools and on-site seaside

If you have not seen by now from a number of 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 this kind of climate can occur anyplace, my expertise is that it does occur extra on the northern shore than in another elements of the island, particularly within the winter months, so I might think about it the next threat right here.

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

Turtle Bay swimming pools

Despite the fact that we did not 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 stuffed within the afternoon and early night with conferencegoers.

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


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


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


Turtle Bay seashores

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

Nevertheless, the Kuilima Cove seaside that’s immediately subsequent to the resort shouldn’t be the one seaside. The truth is, the Turtle Bay web site lists seven seashores that you may stroll to from the resort.

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


A lot of eating selections


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 finances accordingly, as breakfast for myself and two children was a minimum of $40 right here, even after we have been ordering very conservatively.


A simple spot to eat outdoor — 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 children 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 would not be a spotlight of the journey. Fortunately, that first impression wasn’t consultant of the entire.

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


Right here, even the youngsters’s meal ($19) was thoughtfully introduced 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 incredible. This open-air restaurant is simply off the seaside and is an absolute star that all of us liked. Make reservations prematurely 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 if you happen to booked by way of that program.

Some standout gadgets 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 foremost of our selecting (we went with hen) and ice cream for dessert. The youngsters meal was $29, so once more, finances accordingly, however every thing was fairly flavorful. I used to be craving veggies, so I had the beet salad ($21), which was additionally contemporary and flavorful, nevertheless it would not go far if you happen to have been actually hungry.

Whereas our go to wasn’t lengthy sufficient to strive all of it, at Turtle Bay, you will 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 underneath are free).

Environment friendly service

Service was at all times form and useful at Turtle Bay, however not persistently proactive. For instance, if you happen to requested about an exercise and the employees member mentioned it was full, they would not proactively recommend different ones or examine for the subsequent day. It was extra of a transactional question-and-answer-style interplay, however nonetheless, everybody was at all times form and useful.

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


Causes the resort is probably not the one for you

We actually loved our time at Turtle Bay, regardless that it did not become a pool-and-beach kind of journey, however no resort is for everybody, so listed below are some causes it won’t be for you.

  • It was very windy and a bit chilly throughout our March go to, which might occur in the course of the winter months on the North Shore, so if you happen to simply need a heat and sunny time in Hawaii and are touring within the winter months, this is probably not the correct spot for you … although, in fact, nobody can actually predict the climate.
  • Turtle Bay is in a comparatively remoted spot in comparison with another elements 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 every thing,” this is probably not the correct spot to remain.
  • This will probably be true for many locations in Hawaii, nevertheless it’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 fluctuate from season to season, however there was a convention vibe, so whereas there are households at Turtle Bay, it isn’t as family-centric as, say, Disney’s Aulani on the identical island.
  • It is very giant and unfold out, which can be an ideal factor for some vacationers, however if you would like or want the entire points of the resort at your fingertips, this is probably not the only option.


Turtle Bay has a very detailed web site of choices on the subject of accessibility.

Highlights embrace 16 totally 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 programs for the swimming pools and scorching tubs, accessible entrances to the entire eating places and bars, and extra.

Trying out

I am a giant fan of Hawaii’s totally different north shores, and this one was no exception. It may be straightforward for first-timers to imagine that Waikiki is the place to be on Oahu, however I might say after getting skilled it, it is 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 far more genuine to Hawaii than another elements which might be lined with resort after resort.

Turtle Bay is a approach to have a style of the most effective 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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