One of the only two hotels on Oahu’s famed North Shore – and the only oceanfront resort, Turtle Bay Resort is a standout on an island where stunning views and tropical surrounds are a given. For travellers wanting to experience the famed surfing mecca of the North Shore, the 5-star Turtle Bay Resort offers understated modern luxury with a welcoming aloha vibe 55 minutes from Honolulu International Airport.
It’s also been the unassuming star in some of Hollywood’s biggest films shot on Hawaii, where the resort interiors and lush gardens can be spied in the background of movies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Soul Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
The expansive main lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows makes the most of its oceanfront location on the northernmost tip of Oahu at Kuilima Point, and what a sight it is. A refreshments table and telescope encourage visitors to linger, while the centrally located Guidepost experience centre has interactive screens and knowledgeable guides to clue guests in on the huge range of activities and amenities available at Turtle Bay Resort.
The hotel design consists of three wings that extend along the point; looking out over the water, to your right is Kuilima Cove, and to the left is Turtle Bay, a sheltered cove where onsite surf school Hans Hedemann Surf Center conducts its surfing and SUP lessons. Beach Cottages and Ocean Villas, along Turtle Bay and Kuilima Cove respectively, complete the 452 accommodation options.
Set on 344 hectares (more than all of Waikiki combined), Turtle Bay Resort bills itself as the most spacious resort in Hawaii with two landscaped pools (including one with a waterslide), a championship golf course and tennis courts plus plenty of room for horse riding and around 20 kilometres of oceanfront trails for hiking or professional mountain biking tracks. There’s also eight kilometres of beachfront access -Bay View Beach is a fantastic family-friendly cove with sheltered shallow waters and a clear seascape that’s ideal for snorkelling, swimming or lazing on an inflatable.
Newly renovated, every room here has an ocean view and our Epic Ocean View room does not disappoint. The clean lines and modern theme of the resort flow into the rooms with colourful soft furnishings I instantly covet (clearly I’m not the only one - the ‘Aloha’ throw pillows are available for purchase downstairs at the shops). Bringing the outdoors in, the palette is a soothing mix of earth and ocean tones with framed images of those big waves the North Shore is known for. There’s plenty of room for our family of three with two queen beds, and the bathroom boasts a walk-in stone shower and double vanity. As an added bonus, we have complimentary use of a Beats by Dre Pill wireless speaker during our stay to play our own tunes, or we could head out to our lanai (balcony) to watch the Sunday night luau and nightly sunset.
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There’s so much to keep you occupied here, your luxury digs may end up being just a place to rest and refresh between activities. We took advantage of the onsite fitness centre on the lobby level, as well as the beach and pool area. I also booked a group surf lesson with Hans Hedemann Surf Center, while my husband and daughter took a ride on one of the golf buggies. Sadly we didn’t get to go up on the Magnum P.I. replica helicopter during our two-night stay, but the prices were amazing.
Turtle Bay Resort also has seven onsite restaurants and bars, ranging from sea-to-table cuisine to casual grills and fine dining. We ate at Ola one night, a casual affair on the beach where our daughter played with other kids in the sand while we dined on Hawaiian fare. Another night we hit up Surfer, The Bar – a collaboration with Surfer Magazine – where we lucked on karaoke night and joined the locals for an onstage sing-a-long.
You name it, they’ve got it here. Want to learn the surf the legendary waves of the North Shore, complete with the resident surfing dogs? Go lava tube fishing? Try stand-up paddleboarding? Hit the hiking and biking trails? Or take a Segway tour? The list of activities is mindboggling, ranging from extreme (cage diving with sharks, anyone?) to serene (try the Nalu Therapy treatment on a table that mimics the movement of the ocean). There’s also the aforementioned chopper rides and tours of local family farms.
It’s easy to see why Turtle Bay Resort is a favourite with celebs, honeymooners and locals alike – for anyone wanting a pinch-me-now slice of North Shore living, this is the place to be.