This is my last Hawaii post for the week, because frankly, I just can’t write about it anymore without potentially booking a flight to Oahu this weekend.
Turtle Bay Resort. I happened upon this splendid establishment on accident. I’m not much for crowds and feeling like one of a million, so on our trip to Hawaii, I searched for a place made me feel like one in a million. Even cooler still is the fact that the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed at the hotel!
Situated on the North Shore of Oahu, Turtle Bay is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu. Best known for their world class surfing waves, North Shore and the resort are only a little over 40 miles from Honolulu (and well worth the drive, in my opinion!). While you will have to rent a car to get there, the drive is spectacular, passing you by the cliffs and beaches of Waimea Bay, the Dole Pineapple Plantation and various other charming towns and locales. It’s only after you turn off of Kamehameha Highway and onto Turtle Bay property that you know you’re in for something special.
The main building looks like any other American resort hotel. A multi-story HoJo-esque tower adorned with a painting of graceful turtles, by none other than famous marine artist, Wyland, is your first up-close view of the space– but it is what’s inside these walls that set your vacation apart.
From the moment D and I walked in, we were treated as their special guests. Seeing as we were only staying one night during a stopover, I only expected courtesy, cleanliness and safety. We arrived 4+ hours early, so I told the front desk clerk that we were more than happy to wait for our room by the pool. She assured me that our room was ready and the bellman would take us up. We walked into the regular room, paying somewhere in the range of $250 a night thanks in part to low season and Dan’s military discount (geeze, I miss those!).
While our room was seemingly fabulous, a closer inspection revealed multiple unemptied trash cans and soiled linens. Considering we were very early, I called to the front desk and nicely asked if they could send someone up to change those few things. The staff was mortified! They quickly sent the bellman back up to gather our things, brought us down to the desk for new keys and then, before we knew it, were loading us into a golf cart and taking us to their separate suites.
The suite was incredible—something you could only dream of being upgraded to, including a beachfront terrace (or lanai as Hawaiians call it), complete with lit tiki torches, a bottle of champagne, P.O.G. juice, and a hammock. It was perfection.
Not only did the service and the resort, far surpass my limited expectations, so did the restaurants on the resort. If you make the pilgrimage, definitely sit outside at the golf course restaurant, Lei Lei’s Bar and Grill, and have their special Prime Rib entrée. I know, I know… I’m from Texas, why would I order beef in HAWAII?? Because it’s damn good, that’s why. And because you’re sick of fish after 2 weeks in the Pacific.
Overall, if you are looking for an experience other than a beautiful beach with high-rises surrounding it, venture off to Turtle Bay. The old world Hawaii resonates on the North Shore and the accommodations, golf and restaurants can’t be beat!
PS- Vacation Rentals By Owner has some awesome deals on the new condos Turtle Bay just built a couple years back. Check with them (www.vrbo.com) for multiple bedroom units with full kitchens!