Turtle Bay Resort

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View of resort from helicopter
View from room 501

The Turtle Bay Resort is the major hotel on the North Shore of Oahu island in Hawaii.

Turtle Bay Resort
Design and construction
ArchitectMartin Stern Jr.
Main contractorDel E. Webb Construction Company


The resort is about a 50-minute drive from Honolulu, between Kahuku, Hawaii to the east and Kawela Bay, Hawaii to the west. The resort owns 858 acres (3.47 km2) of land with five miles of ocean front at Turtle Bay, and features 410 hotel rooms and suites, including the Premier Rooms on the 6th Floor; 42 Beach Cottages that were refreshed in 2015; and manages numerous Ocean Villas, which are larger 2-BR to 4-BR units. The hotel recently unveiled a $45 million resort-wide, eco-sensitive[1] renovation enhancing food and beverage operations, event staging and guest experiences. The hotel was built with three wings on a small peninsula which provides every room with an ocean view. The resort has a variety of restaurants, including Surfer The Bar, a partnership with Surfer Magazine, and The Point Sunset and Pool Bar. The resort also features The Guide Post, a new concept on the traditional hotel concierge, but more interactive and a key component of the Turtle Bay's positioning as an experiential resort.[2] Turtle Bay Resort sits just north of the Kuilima Estates condominium complexes along both of its golf courses, at 21°42′19″N 157°59′55″W.


Turtle Bay Resort opened in May 1972 as Del Webb's Kuilima Resort Hotel and Country Club.[3] In the Hawaiian language kui lima means "joining hands".[4] It was built by casino developer Del Webb (1899–1974) to be the first casino on the island; a gaming initiative was on the ballot in the mid-1970s but it did not pass.[citation needed] Hyatt took over the property until August 1983 when Hilton Hotels & Resorts took over.[5] It was renamed "Turtle Bay Golf and Tennis Resort"—early advertisements had to include a guide to pronunciation.[3]

A potential development deal with Starwood Hotels fell through in July 2007.[6] Although much expansion had been approved in 1985, local opposition had developed against the plans.[7][8] Governor Linda Lingle suggested the state buy the property in 2008.[9] The Trust for Public Land also tried to raise funds for the preservation effort.[10] Two offers were made by the state in August and November 2008 that would have included surrounding open space, but they were not accepted.[11]

After a threat of foreclosure of investor Oaktree Capital Management from Credit Suisse, a new consortium of investors took over the resort in February 2010.[12] As of 2010 it was managed and operated by Benchmark Hospitality International.[13] In December 2013, the management of the resort was split between Replay Resorts, based in Vancouver, British Columbia and Benchmark Hospitality International.[14] After four years of court battles, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in July 2010 that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement must be filed for new development.[15] The Resort, represented by Replay Resorts, released its Draft Supplemental Impact Statement on November 23, 2012 with the Public Comment Period extended until January 18, 2013.[16]


The resort is several miles away from surf spots including Waimea Bay, the Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach. The two golf courses are named after designers Arnold Palmer and George Fazio. The Palmer Course was the site of the Turtle Bay Championship, a PGA Champions Tour Event held from 2001 through 2008,[17] and the Fazio Course has hosted the LPGA Tour's Hawaiian Open. The runways of the World War II era Kahuku Army Airfield have been absorbed into the fairways of the golf courses.[18] The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge preserves a small pond adjacent to a golf course.[19]

In 1999, the resort hosted the final Big Mele, a rock festival that had been held for the previous six years at Kualoa Ranch.

Films and TV shows have been filmed on or near the Turtle Bay Resort. The hotel has been the setting for episodes of Hawaii 5-0, Magnum P.I., Full House, Cougar Town and the short-lived Fox TV series North Shore. The resort featured as the setting for the reunion-movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding and for the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall.[20] Preserving the undeveloped setting for film locations was one reason given by opponents to the expansion.[21] The Hills cast have filmed at the Turtle Bay resort in Season 5.[22]


  1. ^ Cooper, Jeanne. "Hawaii resorts act as stewards with gardens, land preservation". sfgate.com.
  2. ^ Erace, Adam. "Fortune's Concierge Black Book: Oahu". Fortune.com.
  3. ^ a b "It's just a 45 minute drive from Honolulu. But it's like being on an Outer Island". New York Magazine. March 20, 1972. p. 84. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel Hoyt Elbert and Esther T. Mookini (2004). "lookup of Kuilima ". in Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  5. ^ John R. K. Clark (2004). "lookup of Turtle Bay ". in Hawai'i Place Names: Shores, Beaches, and Surf Sites. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  6. ^ "Starwood Backs Out of Development Deal at Turtle Bay Resort". Club & Resort Business. July 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "Koʻolauloa North Shore Alliance". official web site. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  8. ^ "Keep the North Shore Country". official web site. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  9. ^ Linda Lingle (2008). "State of the State Address". Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  10. ^ "Campaign to Protect Turtle Bay (HI)". The Trust for Public Land. August 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  11. ^ "Administration made Proposals for Turtle Bay". state of Hawaii press release. January 7, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  12. ^ Janis L. Magin (February 23, 2010). "Oahu's Turtle Bay Resort has new owners". Pacific Business News. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  13. ^ "Group of lenders take ownership of Turtle Bay Resort from Oaktree Capital". Honolulu Advertiser. February 23, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  14. ^ http://www.johnnyjet.com/2014/11/31-reasons-to-stay-at-turtle-bay-resort-in-oahu/
  15. ^ Hawaii Supreme Court (July 20, 2010). "Order Denying Motion for Reconsideration" (PDF). Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  16. ^ http://www.turtlebayseis.com
  17. ^ "Turtle Bay Championship". PGA Tournament web site. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  18. ^ David Trojan (2005). "Kahuku Airfield". North Shore Community Web site. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  19. ^ "James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge". National Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  20. ^ Forgetting Sarah Marshall on IMDb
  21. ^ K.C. Connors (July 22, 2010). "Keeping country country is good for isle film industry". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  22. ^ http://www.turtlebayresortblog.com/2009/04/the-hills/

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