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Best Resorts of Hawaii's Main Island Oahu Revealed

When Captain James Cook was credited with discovering Hawaii in 1778, the British explorer landed on what is considered one of the most remote land masses in the world. Situated near the center of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a long 2,390 miles west of California and 3,850 miles east of Japan. Remote status notwithstanding, visitors continue to flock to this dreamy Pacific Ocean paradise. For full disclosure, my family discovered Hawaii in 1977 and we've been residents ever since. Personal connections notwithstanding, whether it's the lovely year-round weather, lush tropical settings, pleasant Polynesian culture or world-class beaches and resorts, the Islands offer a certain allure that resonates on many levels to the 8.2 million tourists that visited last year. Unbeknownst to many visitors is the Hawaiian archipelago actually comprises 132 islands, reefs and shoals extending 1,523 miles from Kure Atoll in the north to Nihoa in the south. Overall the islands cover 6,423 square miles. Of course, Hawaii has eight main islands that make up more than 99 percent of the state's total land area. In order of size: Hawaii, or the Big Island as it's commonly called, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. Of the six main islands tourists typically visit (Niihau is privately owned and Kahoolawe is set aside as state land and not accessible to the public), Oahu is where all the action is. The island's nickname is the "Gathering Place" and with good reason considering its home to more than 70 percent of Hawaii's 1.36 million people - my family included. Indeed, Oahu is the bustling "big-city' main island, known for its signature city, Honolulu, and the world-renowned Waikiki Beach and its 2-mile-long stretch of high-end shops, beautiful beaches and top-rated resort and restaurants. But Oahu also is home to historic Pearl Harbor, famous North Shore surfing spots such as Pipeline, Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach and the upscale kickback community of Kailua, where President Obama and his family stays on vacation in a rented beachfront home. Here's an itinerary I'd recommend to anybody visiting my home island of Oahu: - See more at:

Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku

Turtle Bay Resort

I love peninsulas. I live on one in Florida. And I had the pleasure to recently enjoy one of the most beautiful peninsulas on the planet here on Oahu's fabled North Shore. Few resorts can claim 100 percent of their guest rooms, spa treatment rooms, fitness room bikes, restaurants and ballrooms have an ocean view. Then again, how many resorts are built on a peninsula at the northernmost tip of an island at the last break along a famous stretch of surfing coastline? Turtle Bay Resort might be the only one that fits that bill. Located on a pristine 840-acre stretch of raw one-time Kahuku sugar plantation land, Turtle Bay features five miles of unspoiled beach and every one of the resort's 410 rooms and 42 beach cottages have unobstructed views of the Pacific from the ocean's edge. This rare beauty is what initially attracted Del Webb in 1972 to build a resort community in what was then a sleepy sugar cane mill town. More than 40 years later, the place is even sweeter thanks to a fresh $30 million renovation by the new owners and the attentive care of new asset manager Replay Resorts.

Turtle Bay Resort

The new infusion of capital improvements, about a decade after previous owners invested $60 million into the property, is an important milestone for Turtle Bay as it continues an extensive re-branding campaign focusing on creating "authentic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences found only on the North Shore," according to Replay Resorts. Situated at the start of the mecca of surf, or the "7-mile miracle," Turtle Bay is positioning itself as the epicenter of health, wellness and adventure. If you want to discover another side of Oahu, or Hawaii for that matter, this is it. Whether it's horseback riding, playing 36 holes of golf designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio that has played host to numerous Senior PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events, taking a helicopter ride, hiking or ending water sports, Turtle Bay has it all in a unrefined laidback sophisticated setting. And the best part is all 410 main building guest rooms and hallways have been upgraded and completely modeled and the restaurant and bar scene has been greatly enhanced with North Shore Kula Grille and Pa'akai restaurants and Surfer, The Bar - a collaboration between Turtle Bay and Surfer magazine. For those seeking a private residence inside the unmanned gates of the main resort (Replay decided to do away with the un-Hawaiian like gated resort feel), Kuilima Estates along the first hole of the Fazio Course has several fee-simple 1-bedroom condos built in 1973 for sale as high as $396,000. Meanwhile, a stunning 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 2,549-square-foot ground-floor townhome with direct oceanfront access is listed at $2.9 million.

Ko Olina Resort, Kapolei

Ko Olina Golf 18th hole

As you head back into "town," or the hub of Honolulu, a booming part of Oahu on the leeward dry coast is this 642-acre master-planned vacation and residential community. Just 17 miles northwest of Honolulu, Ko Olina features two miles of coastal frontage, including three natural and four man-made lagoons and a string of world-class resort accommodations. Among the resort community's options are a new Four Seasons Resort Oahu set to debut next year, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (see more below), Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club and other timeshare units, condominiums and villa homes. Some of the resort's main amenities are Ko Olina Golf Club and Ko Olina Marina, as well as shopping and dining at Ko Olina Station and Ko Olina Center. Ko Olina Golf Club is an 18-hole layout designed by Ted Robinson that annually plays host to the LPGA Tour. The club also is home to Ko Olina Golf Academy, and Roy's Ko Olina restaurant, created by Hawaiian fusion cuisine master and James Beard Award winning chef Roy Yamaguchi,

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