Is the New Turtle Bay Resort Worth It?

The North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort took a time-out in 2020-21 to undergo a major renovation. If you haven’t checked rates to stay at the property since 2019 you may notice an uptick in prices. The average rate for a one-night stay is around $600-and-up for their Ocean Bungalows (standard rooms) and significantly higher for suites and detached accommodations. While expected, you can’t help but wonder if it’s worth it. After all, remodeling does not always equate an improvement. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining an aura of Hawaiian authenticity. Is the new Turtle Bay Resort better than it was before? Does it honor the legacy of the North Shore? It absolutely does and then some. Here’s why.

Why the Recently Remodeled Turtle Bay Resort is More Authentic and Better Than Ever

A Very Surf-Centric Upgrade

We were honestly concerned when the tarps went up around the Turtle Bay Resort at the onset of the renovation. Confidence was not inspired after Surfer, The Bar was permanently closed in March of 2020. But when the canvas and other construction coverings were gone we were greeted with a treat.

Instead of eschewing the importance of surfing on the North Shore, the resort went all in, leaning into surf culture more than any other accommodation on Oahu. This is made evident from the moment you pull up to the property. The entrance is flanked by decorative surfboards and there is an impressive exhibit of Rory Russell Lightning Bolt boards at the entrance. Once you step through the lobby you are greeted by the Surf House, which is a boutique surf shop that carries designer surf wear in addition to a great collection of literature, surfboards, and accessories. Adjacent to the Surf House is a cozy nook with a library of surf-themed coffee-table books for your enjoyment. If you’re up for a little tube time you can sit down at Ho’olana cafe to watch North Shore surf contests on TV while sipping a latte or cocktail. When you explore beyond the lobby into the expansive property you’ll discover other surf-centric upgrades, including surfboard art by Eduardo Bolioli (@eduardobolioli). Then there’s the exciting new surf school that has been added to the resort – the Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience which is run by everyone’s favorite local vlogger. Turtle Bay also welcomes local legend Rocky Canon to provide ke iki (kids) the opportunity to surf with his adorable dogs.

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

Honors Hawaiian Culture

One of the most noticeable updates to the property is the new lava-rock constructed passage that takes visitors on a journey through mauka (mountain), kula (valley/plains), and makai (ocean), honoring the spirit of Aloha ‘āina. Aloha ‘āina represents a relationship between all of Hawaii’s natural elements, including the land, sea, and fresh water streams that have sustained life for the Hawaiian people for over 1,500 years. The exhibit is named after the Ahupua’a system. Ahupua’a is a system of land management developed by the ancient Hawaiians as a means to regulate and sustain resources for the people that live within.

Turtle Bay Resort has really outdone itself with this new installation. You can feel the mana as you walk through its dim lit tunnel.

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It
Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

The New Infinite View of “Turtle Bay” is Amazing

Another impeccable upgrade made to the resort is the new view of Turtle Bay (the natural one) which is located to the western side of the property. The walls were torn down and an infinity pool was installed to unveil what you came to the North Shore for in the first place. You can spend hours enveloped in the common area with friends, ohana, or solo with a good novel.

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

Enjoy the view from the new “Ocean Club” lobby bar too

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

Festive Upgrades for the Holidays

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

We revisited the new resort during the Holiday season and found a very festive upgrade. Every hotel on the island puts up a Christmas tree in December, but Turtle Bay ramps up the “Mele Kalikimaka” with a Letters-to-Santa program and a visit from St.Nick. If planning a family vacation on Oahu around the Holidays, be sure to consider Turtle Bay.

Service with Added Aloha

There are some fresh faces in employ at the new Turtle Bay Resort, many of which are Hawaiians. It’s nice to see a resort property give back to the island community in this way. In return, guests get to experience what true Hawaiian hospitality is like. Service has always been great at the resort, but now there is some added ALOHA.

Other Things that Make the new Turtle Bay Resort “Worth It”

The activities, amenities, and features that have always made Turtle Bay a draw maintain, with some added bells and whistles. In addition to the exciting upgrades addressed above, guests will enjoy authentic on-site dining establishments, retail, and experiences.

On-Property Dining Options

Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It
  • Alaia
  • Sunset
  • Off The Lip
  • The Club
  • Ho’olana
  • Lei Lei’s
  • Beachhouse by Roy Yamaguchi
  • Luau

On-Property Retail

  • Breeze (women’s boutique store)
  • Golf Shop (golf shop)
  • Nalu Boutique (spa products, workout wear, and athleisure)
  • Surf House (boutique surf shop)
  • The Shop (signature clothing and accessories)

On-Property (or Adjacent) Experiences

  • Arts and crafts
  • Beach picnics
  • Bike tours
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Snorkeling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
Is Turtle Bay Resort Worth It

Is the new Turtle Bay Resort worth it? If you can afford it – absolutely! No other accommodation on Oahu has been able to tie adventure and luxury together in a way that honors Hawaiian culture quite like this property. We give them an enthusiastic double-shaka for the remodel!

Do you have any other questions about what it’s like at Turtle Bay Resort? Leave a comment below and we’ll reply.


  1. If you’re a guest at Turtle Bay, is dining included in the room rate? I.e., is this an all-inclusive resort?

  2. While the visual changes to Turtle Bay Resort and Golf are great, the customer service is lacking in too many areas. That includes some on-property retail shops, golf course, some dining, and always with the call center for both resort and golf. It isn’t truly a Hawaii experience if you display Aloha but don’t show Aloha. As a local who lives not to far from this area, we used to frequent Turtle Bay regularly for golf, dining and weekend getaways but lately the experiences are disappointing so not worth it.

    • Aloha LK! It definitely varies by experience. Our collective “staycation” experiences have been GREAT thus far. That said, last month, one of our writers was recently followed around the HOLO-HOLO store as if he was about to steal something. He was quite insulted, as this probably would not have happened to a “mainlander” (ahem). It was very blatant, and witnessed by his girlfriend who was waiting outside of the shop. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on resort staff ourselves, as a result. Right now, we don’t want to punish the property for one bad experience with a staff member. Stay tuned!

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