Turtle Bay's $35M refit enhances group space

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HONOLULU -- The Turtle Bay Resort here is putting the finishing touches on a $35 million renovation project.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, director of special events, said visitors will see major changes at the resort, which is operated by Benchmark Hospitality.

The 880-acre property, located on Oahu's North Shore, will debut expanded meetings facilities, an 8,000-square-foot spa, a surfing school and upgrades to its two golf courses -- the largest such resort golf facility on Oahu.

The property's official opening tentatively is slated for February, although it will host the Senior PGA Tour's Turtle Bay Championship this month.

Aside from aesthetics, Turtle Bay will undergo a sea change in its marketing plan, more closely targeting meetings and incentives groups with the additional meetings space.

"The lack of meetings space was the missing component of this resort" under previous management, Fitzgerald said.

"The goal is for the market mix to be 50% groups and 50% FITs by 2005," she said, with the group market comprising 50% incentives, 30% corporate meetings and 20% associations.

By January, the property will complete the refurbishment of its existing 13,800 square feet of space, adding 10,000 square feet of break-out space. A 9,600-square-foot grand ballroom will be completed later next year, Fitzgerald said.

The new spa is another focal point of the refit, featuring six oceanfront treatment rooms, an oceanview fitness center, a hair and nail salon, locker rooms for men and women and a wet sauna.

The two-story building also will feature 22 spa rooms.

Turtle Bay's main building, which had been widely criticized for its dated exterior, also received a much-needed upgrade, Fitzgerald said, with $7 million spent to replace the tower building's facade.

The renovation also includes upgrades to the 440 tower guest rooms, with new soft and hard furnishings, new TVs, phones and revamped bathrooms.

The property's 42 beach cottages also underwent substantial renovation, with about $150,000 spent on each unit.

Fitzgerald said the beach cottages will be operated as "an entirely separate hotel within a hotel," with private check-in, butler services and amenities.

Discounted promotional rates at the beach cottages are in effect through December.

Nightly rates are $349, double, through Dec. 30; prices increase to $650 to $750 starting Jan. 1.

Travel agents who wish to view the renovation will be privy to preview rates, which will be established in the next few weeks.

Extensive landscaping also was completed on the property's 880-acre grounds, five miles of beachfront and 12 miles of walking trails.

A total of $4 million was spent on rebuilding the back nine of the 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, and on improving the Arnold Palmer-designed course. A golf clubhouse was added.

For additional information or bookings, call (800) 203-3650 or visit the Web at www.turtlebayresort.com.

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