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Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

San Diego, CA
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28 posts
5 reviews
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Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

My wife, daughter (8 years old) and I are planning on being on Oahu at the end of May for 4 days prior to a week stay on Maui. We've done the Waikiki thing before and are looking for something a little different this time around. We like nice hotels with good pools and beaches, not too choosey when it comes to food. We will have a car and will probably do a couple of afternoons of exploring the island. My first inclination was to stay at Turtle Bay but I've heard so many mixed reviews that I'm beginning to rethink it. Anybody able to compare these two properties??

Athens, Alabama
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408 reviews
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1. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

I can't compare the properties since I have never stayed at the Ihilani but I can tell you our experience at the Turtle Bay was wonderful. The rooms are spacious, especially the bathrooms, and the property and grounds are beautiful. The decor is done in subdued tropical solids, not all the flowery wallpaper you see at other resorts. The staff was great and the kids program was unbelievable for no more than it cost. We too were a little apprehensive about the TB with the mixed reviews but after being there for 5 minutes we knew we had made the right decision. We loved the North Shore and Turtle Bay and that's where we'll be staying on our next trip.

Los Altos...
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728 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

The rooms at the Ihilani are nicer although I wouldn't have worries about Turtle Bay, which is also very nice. Turtle Bay definitely gives more of a Hawaiian retreat feel. But it's also obviously pretty far from the excitement of Waikiki, which might be a consideration. The JW Marriott is away from the heart of it all for a more secluded feel, but is still close enough to Waikiki that you can take a relatively quick hop into it if you want. I like being in Waikiki so I don't think that I'd stay at either again, but I'd say I enjoyed the Ihilani more.

One other place to consider is the Kahala Mandarin Oriental, which is better than either of these other two hotels.

San Diego, CA
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28 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

The Kahala Mandarin looks great but I would prefer not to have to sell my daughter into slavery to cover the room rate :). Thanks for the feedback though. If I could find a rate for the KM even close to the other two I would definitely put it in the running.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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58 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

I am familiar with both properties and both are equally luxurious. The Turtle Bay has undergone major rennovation and I am quite impressed with the overhaul. The Turtle Bay has a great beach, whereas the Ihilani has several beautiful (albeit, "man-made") lagoons for swimming. If you or your wife are into a spa retreat, then I recommend the Ihilani hands down. So here's my overall advice when choosing: Both properties are a ways from Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki. However, you will always have quite a drive from the Ihilani if you want to go out and explore the rest of the island. At least the Turtle Bay is on the North Shore where there are places to sight see and things to do (ie: close to Laie's Polynesian Cultural Center, Haleiwa Town and the North Shore). You can even find local eateries without having to drive a long ways - which you will have to do if you stay at the Ihilani. The biggest complaint that tourists have about the Ihilani is that it is so far removed from everything - yet, that's the point of having this resort built - to be away from it all. So if that's what you are looking for, then Ihilani is it. However, if you don't want to feel so far removed and want to venture around the island, then the Turtle Bay might be the convenient choice. By the way, have a great trip to Maui afterward! I leave for Maui in the morning and going whale watching - reports are that the whales are abundant right now and many are with their baby calves - can't wait to see them up close! Be sure to go whale watching on Maui if you get the opportunity! And of course, take the drive to Hana, but start very very early in the morning so you can do the drive at a leisurely pace and stop at some great sites along the way! Happy trip!

San Diego, CA
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28 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

Many thanks islandmele! Your points about the degrees of remoteness at each hotel is just what I needed to hear. I had concerns with the Ihilani of not having anything (casual dining, a grocery store, etc.) nearby. This seems to be the major complaint about it. I'm all for remoteness, but there is a limit (at least for me and my family). I'm just about set on Turtle Bay at this point. Thanks again.

Have a great trip to Maui. As it turns out, we are now heading to Kuaui instead (Kauai Marriott). It's a long story so I'll spare the details. We were in Maui (Maui Marriott) last May and had a blast. It's been 4 years since we were last in Kauai (also at the Marriott) and we are looking forward to another great stay.

honolulu
12 posts
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6. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

Turtle Bay Resort is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Honolulu and Waikiki compared to 45 mins to Ihilani....not much to do outside of the resort activities near Turtle Bay besides the North Shore(dont leave any valuables in your car!), Waimea Bay , and the Polynesian Cultural Center.....all of which u could do in one day trip if ur renting a car......aside from being reasonably close enough to town.....there are a couple of great Luau's next door to Ihilani and a waterpark (Hawaiian Water Adventure Park) nearby........I haven't been to Turtle Bay since the renovation but Ihilani is very nice and i prefer the beach lagoons there to Turtle Bay's....however if its privacy u want u could walk a ways down the beach from TB and find a nice private cove. TB also used to have a horseback ride...not sure if they still do that.

Athens, Alabama
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3,949 posts
408 reviews
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7. Re: Turtle Bay vs. JW Marriott Ihilani

Turtle Bay still has horseback riding along with on-site helicopter tours and surfing lessons (cheaper.better lesson available in Haliewa). There are miles of trails and 5 miles of secluded beach on their 600 or so acres. We found enough to do on the North Shore to keep us busy for a week with our only excursions to the Honolulu/Waikiki area for Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the Aloha Stadium Flea Market. Get a good guide book that covers the lesser known attractions and locals hangouts. Moon handbooks are great for that. I love the Hawaii Handbook The All Island Guide.