Renovated Turtle Bay Resort ready for prime time


KAHUKU -- Here, on Oahu's north shore, there is only one full-service resort, and it is shining a spotlight on this section of the island.

In June, Fox Television began airing an hourlong series titled "The North Shore," featuring exterior and interior shots of the Turtle Bay Resort.

The series is the latest example of the area's appeal to Hollywood location scouts and filmmakers. "Blue Crush" (2002), "The Big Bounce" (2004) and "50 First Dates" (2004) are some of the recent films shot on the north shore.

The 401-room Turtle Bay Resort, which sits on five miles of oceanfront, has completed a $60 million renovation. The project has been ongoing since ownership and management changes took place in 2001.

The first vision travelers have of the resort upon entering the gate is its 42 beachfront cottages. When I last visited the property, prior to the renovations, they were simple domiciles well-suited for families but lacking in design and character.

Now, the cottages are modern, sleek and comfortable. Stained wooden floors, four-poster beds and Hawaiiana accents accompany sweeping ocean views visible from the common living areas of nearly all of the units.

"Our beach cottages are slightly away from the main hotel, which the typical visitor to the north shore likes," said a hotel representative.

Cottage guests have access to the resort's amenities plus a few amenities not available to the hotel's guests.

For example, cottage guests are offered butler service, which means an attendant will be waiting upon arrival to unpack bags, prepare food or beverages and arrange golf, restaurant or surf lesson reservations.

The resort boasts two swimming pools that sit on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, and champion surfer Hans Hedemann has opened a surf school on the property.

His motto -- that he can get anyone "age 8 to 80 to stand on a surfboard and catch a wave during the first lesson" -- has enticed many to grab a board and take to the surf.

Tennis courts and a 100-acre wetland preserve -- home to an array of rare birds, picturesque beaches and miles of hiking trails -- remain as before. However, the addition of the Spa Luana is another draw for those seeking tranquility.

Hot stones, Vichy showers, traditional Hawaiian lomi lomi massage, couples massages and seaweed body wraps are examples of what is available at the facility.

I found the spa treatment to be a great way to culminate a day of horseback riding along the property and its beaches.

Palm Terrace, the hotel's buffet-style restaurant, features fresh fish and meats prepared in Pacific Rim styles. With its panoramic ocean views, 21 Degrees North is the hotel's upscale dining option that features Hawaiian cuisine.

The property added nine holes to its existing 27-hole golf course, which was originally designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio. The course pro shop was renovated, and a new restaurant -- Lei Lei's Bar & Grill -- overlooks the course.

Turtle Bay offers the following packages:

• Spa Paradise, $450 per night, double, includes two 50-minute spa treatments.

• North Shore Par, also beginning at $450 per night, includes one round of golf for each adult daily.

• The Romance Package, $499 per night, offers couples breakfast in bed, dinner for two at 21 Degrees North and oceanfront deluxe accommodations.

• A Fifth Night Free package, starting at $229 per night, offers a free night when a guest books four.

For more information, call (800) 203-3650 or visit

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