Hawaii, Oahu: Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii

57-091 Kamehameha Highway Kahuku
Oahu, Hawaii 96731
Reservations: 866.827.5321

Friction Factor = LOW FRICTION

Fond Memories


Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu North Shore
Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu North Shore

I first have a confession, but I hope you'll keep reading in spite of it... On my last visit here it was still the Turtle Bay Hilton. That was all the way back to February 1988 with another visit two years earlier. But our stays there were so enjoyable that I've got to give Turtle Bay Resort an honored place here. Now a Preferred Hotels & Resorts property, having been upgraded not long ago, the photos on their site show that it is as beautiful today as I remembered it.

The Turtle Bay Resort, to us, epitomizes Hawaii’s reputation as paradise.

I very much hope to return to Hawaii soon, and then to leave Waikiki and head for Turtle Bay as soon as we arrive. Why? On our first trip to Hawaii we stayed the first night on Waikiki. We enjoyed the experience of its beach and taking a walk through the neighboring market. But we are a different kind of beach people. We prefer quiet Holden Beach in North Carolina over Myrtle Beach. A walk to the pier along a quiet shoreline or reading a book on the cottage deck looking over the ocean is our idea of a great beach trip. Waikiki is a lot of fun and we enjoyed visiting. But we now know that we want to stay at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore where it is peaceful and relaxing.

So you'll understand our relief that we had the foresight back then to spend the rest of our time on Oahu across the island at the Turtle Bay Resort. We rented a cool convertible sports car and headed north. The drive is gorgeous. Locals consider it a major trip that requires vacation level planning (or so we were told). To mainlanders it is an hour's drive through paradise. The Turtle Bay Resort, to us, epitomizes Hawaii's reputation as paradise.

As we entered the Turtle Bay Resort the first time, the big open air entrance and the wide interior spaces gave the impression that we never really went from outside to the inside of a hotel. It felt more like a slow transition that never did seem to end up with an "inside" feeling.

The waves are more dramatic and soul reaching on the North Shore than they are in North Carolina. I like both experiences very much, but there is a different kind of magic at the Turtle Bay. I love having the windows open at night. The waves almost surround the Turtle Bay Resort and are the ultimate sound sculpture to relax and soothe, and eventually to put you to sleep.


While we thoroughly enjoy a quiet beach with its relaxing sounds of surf and wind, we were able to satisfy an adventure streak with the Turtle Bay Resort as home base.

Adventures on Oahu

A short distance away is the famed North Shore and the Banzai Pipeline, home to epic, big waves.

A few miles away in Laie is the famous Polynesian Cultural Center. Strong recommendation: spring for the Super Ambassador pass. It is well worth the VIP treatment you'll get for what could be a once in a lifetime incredible experience.

A drive along the North Shore will take you to an airport at Dillingham Airfield where you can take a breathtaking ride in a glider plane. We soared around the northern area of Oahu with an amazing view of cliffs, mountains, and whales on migration (ok, only the whales were migrating).

Catch a helicopter ride from the Turtle Bay Resort. The sightseeing helicopter has a "glass" bottom for the co-pilot passenger. My favorite part of that experience was the fast elevator drop down Sacred Falls, sinking into the huge vertical cavern that surrounds it, then defying gravity to rise back into the sky. An aeronaut (balloonist) and skydiver, I loved it. We all did (on this second visit we were delighted to have my in-laws with us).

An early morning drive south along the curvy cliff roads in a sports car is fantasy realized. This drive ended at Hanauma Bay, for all intents an purposes a giant natural aquarium. I went scuba diving there. Being only about 20 feet deep, my tank lasted almost an hour, so I was able to explore all over Hanauma Bay. At one point I was taking photos of a pretty coral formation when I realized that a moray eel had come out close to my camera and was staring back at me, though his thoughts were likely more about lunch.

Another day, I returned to Hanauma Bay to take a dive boat several miles offshore where we went deep sea diving with the sea turtles. Earth is such an incredibly beautiful place to live.

On a journey back to Honolulu for dinner, we even got to be entertained by Don Ho.

One fond memory connected to the Turtle Bay Resort is that there I enjoyed the best smoothie I have ever had.

In 1988 the Web was in its infancy. My own work in developing online collaboration tools involved connections via packet switching networks like Infonet. So you have to forget for a moment how common place it is today to telecommute to work and to have ubiquitous access to Internet connections. In those days, to be sitting in a lounge chair alone on the beach of Turtle Bay, working on my laptop—that was an experience where you start looking for the cameras filming the commercial. Now that was telecommuting.