Turtle Bay Tussle: Vp Expounds On Governor's Preemptive Announcement To "Possibly" Purchase 880-Acre Oahu Resort

Turtle Bay Tussle: Vp Expounds On Governor's Preemptive Announcement To "Possibly" Purchase 880-Acre Oahu Resort

There has been a considerable amount of interest surrounding the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu, especially from travel sellers and North Shore enthusiasts who enjoy the upscale resort. While much of the back-and-forth politics that dominates local media isn't something we at B on Hawaii concern ourselves with, the fact that Turtle Bay is the solitary hotel option on the North Shore is important to readers.

That said, we thought we'd take a look at recent developments in order to set the record straight.

As many know, Turtle Bay Resort is a glorious 880-acre swath of green set oceanfront, complete with an Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf course (which hosts two PGA-sponsored tournaments annually), acres of equestrian and hiking trails, residential town homes, and a hotel positioned idyllically on a rocky peninsula-surrounded on three sides by raging North Shore surf. The brief editorial we will interject is as follows: we'recently spent a weekend in a Beach Cottage, and it was nothing short of a splendid experience. Staff was punctual, accommodating and exuding genuine aloha spirit. The dining experiences were extremely pleasurable, the room comfortable and the grounds well kept. It was all anyone could ask for in a hotel experience.

The skirmish: In January of this year, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle made a surprise announcement -- apparently unknown even to management of Turtle Bay -- that the State of Hawaii is pursuing an interest in purchase of the resort, in order to "best manage it's contents, for the people of Hawaii." The news triggered shockwaves-and assumptions came from North Shore land coalitions, local political analysts, nearby homeowners, surfers and business owners alike. Everyone with a slant on what should happen to the picturesque resort chimed in -- and rampant rumors of the hotel's demise arose, totally unwarranted.

This week, Hawaii's full Senate will vote on whether or not The State supports the governor's bill to purchase the land -- a proposal that has yet to reveal the source of funding (she did say it would be a combined effort between private, public and non-profit players). Rather vocal North Shore community groups are eager to hear more of the plan, which effectively could halt the current owner's plans to build five more hotels, dozens of condominium clusters, shops and various activity centers on the valuable yet fragile land.

Here, we have a lengthy statement from Turtle Bay vice president and general manager Bob Boyle, carefully explaining the hotel's situation. At a conference in N.Y. last week, Boyle defused, stating: "All financial and service level indicators are up at the resort for the fourth consecutive year."

Boyle went on to spotlight what the resort has done for the local community. "The hotel, golf courses and restaurants provide 789 jobs in the North Shore community and comprise a very successful business, as evidenced by our recent award and sales achievements," said Boyle.

He did continue to say that the surprise announcement by the governor has impacted sales at the resort greatly. He cited a $500,000 loss this year in room revenue when, upon hearing the announcement, a major U.S.-based wholesaler removed Turtle Bay from their web site. He also mentioned that a major travel agent monitoring company issued an "alert" cautioning the stability of the property.

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion on development; but I don't think there is anyone who would like to see the currently robust and flourishing business that supports so many employees and vendors on the North Shore be so seriously jeopardized," said Boyle. "The resort pumps over $20 million into the North Shore community in wages and benefits alone annually plus an additional $18 million in purchased goods and services...and over $100,00 to North Shore charities."

Boyle then concluded with a heartfelt plea: "This is not only about desired conservation. It's about jobs. It's about couples deciding to get married. It's about parents deciding to have a child. It's about not being afraid to buy a new car or move to a larger home. It's about many things that matter to a 'quiet majority' of people on the North Shore and beyond."

In short, visitors familiar with Hawaii should not be surprised to learn that nothing happens overnight in Hawaii. Vacationers and travel agents keen on the North Shore should absolutely book at Turtle Bay with confidence; it's a wonderful home base for exploring North Oahu, and isn't closing any time in the near future.

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