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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, October 12, 2003

North Shore lodging includes campsites, condos, cottages

Whether you choose to rough it in the great outdoors or relax in the comfort of an air-conditioned condominium, the area from Ka'ena to Kahuku offers a range of accommodations.

Just pick your pleasure.

Camps and cabins

Friends of Malaekahana: This nonprofit group runs a year-round campground that accommodates up to 40 tents and seven aging but comfortable cabins. Tent sites: $5.20 a night per person. Cabins: $66 nightly Mondays through Thursdays, $88 Fridays through Sundays. 56-335 Kamehameha Highway, La'ie. Information: www.alternative-hawaii.com/fom. Reservations: 293-1736.

Camp Mokule'ia: Campgrounds, $7 a night per person; and lodges, $65 and $75 a night per room. 68-729 Farrington Highway, Waialua. See www.campmokuleia.com or 637-6241.

Surfhouse: Campgrounds that can accommodate about six tents, $9 per person, $15 for two. There are cabins at inexpensive rates, but they are booked through the winter. 62-203 Lokoea Place, Hale'iwa. Information: surfhouse.com. Reservations: 637-7146.

— Zenaida Serrano Espanol

Budget accommodations

Backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village: Hostel beds, $20 a night per person; private double rooms, $50; and beachfront studio apartments, $89. 59-788 Kamehameha Highway, Hale'iwa (within walking distance of Waimea Bay). Information: www.backpackers-hawaii.com. Reservations: 638-7838.

— Zenaida Serrano Espanol

Laie Inn, the only small hotel on the North Shore, is a comfortable, two-story, 49-room, motel-style facility clustered around a swimming pool. It's often booked solid. Rates range from $84 to $99 a night ($10 a night discount for kama'aina, available only during slow periods; $10 for each extra adult), depending on room type. All rooms have air conditioning, TV, mini-fridge; continental breakfast is included. Information: www.laieinn.com. Reservations: 293-9282.

— Wanda A. Adams

Luxury hotel

The Hotel at Turtle Bay Resort, centerpiece of the 30-year-old, 880-acre Turtle Bay Resort, was treated to a $40 million renovation project completed just over a year ago. All 401 rooms were redecorated, as were the 42 beach cottages and 48 ocean villas, and meeting space was almost tripled. A network of walking and running trails has been created. Executive chef Andrew Manion-Copley arrived from the Lodge at Koele in 2002 and has revamped the menus of all the restaurants; the signature restaurant was renamed 21 Degrees North and is a very special experience.

Lured by occasional discounts and packages, kama'aina have been checking out the spot many recall as "Kuilima" or the "Turtle Bay Hilton." They find a place whose natural beauty and sense of remoteness hasn't changed, but with a more updated style that's sort of plantation era meets Tommy Bahama meets Cape Cod, with billowy curtains, light colors, muted tropical prints and beach home-type furnishings.

Service is friendly and informal, not overly polished. Turtles seem to be everywhere in Kuilima Cove, Kawela Bay and the aptly named Turtle Bay. Rack rates begin at $295 per night for oceanfront rooms; $550, cottages.

Spa Paradise offers Hawaiian-themed massage (lomi, hot stones, pressure points and others), from $105; scrubs, polishes and wraps with natural elements, such as salt, seaweed, papaya and mud, from $85; facials, from $105; and a full line of hair and nail services and personal fitness training or yoga lessons, from $80. Kama'aina get a 15 percent discount on spa services; spa packages begin at $415 a night, depending on number and type of treatments and class of room.

Activities include golf, tennis, surfing lessons, snorkeling excursions, horseback riding, scuba instruction, day camp for keiki, shopping within the resort.

Information: www.turtlebayresort.com. Reservations: 293 8811.

— Wanda A. Adams

Vacation rentals

The best way to find a vacation rental is to go online, where listings include photographs, prices and contract details, and you can weed through to find the likeliest spots for your budget and preferences. Some Web sites allow you to check available dates and even book online. However, you can check Vacation Rentals in the Yellow Pages; major North Shore players include Sand Sea Vacation Homes (637-2568) and Team Real Estate (637-3507).

We started by plugging "vacation rentals North Shore Oahu" into google.com and found that North Shore vacation rentals range from inexpensive, funky cottages or 'ohana apartments off the beach (as low as $75 a night) to mansions that rent for more than $2,500 a week.

The largest number of rental options are $900- to $1,300-a-week cottages and small houses, and the condominiums at Turtle Bay Resort, ranging from $85 a night for studios to $180 a night for 3-bedroom/2-bath units, with cable TV, lanai, barbecue, and access to swimming pools, beaches, golf courses and tennis facilities.

Many of the rentals are right on the beach. Most are quite well-equipped, with full kitchens and even snorkel gear, guide books, and cable TV or a VCR so you can have a movie night.

We stayed in a one-bedroom cottage owned by a kama'aina family that came with fresh flowers, board games and even a Foodland Maika'i shopping card thoughtfully posted on the fridge!

If you're expecting all the comforts of home, be sure to ask about them: Telephone? High-speed Internet access? TV? Cable? VCR? Laundry facilities? Beach stuff? Privacy? (Some rentals share properties.) On the beach? Beach view? Nearby markets, restaurants? How are emergencies such as a plugged toilet handled?

Almost all the rentals require a seven-day minimum stay and a cleaning and/or security deposit. Most also bar smoking and pets. Internet rental agent Tom Lion explains that minimum stays are in place because the three- and four-night long weekends that many local people request leave midweek "holes" in the schedule that are unlikely to be filled by other renters, and cleaning costs eat up profits from short-term stays.

Property owners have another concern with renting to people who live on the island: parties. Parties that upset neighbors, damage property and make for more cleaning costs.

"Everyone's been burned by something like that," said Lion. Few properties allow rentals for the purpose of party-giving, and you will likely be questioned about it.

Still, Juliana Simone, who manages about a dozen North Shore properties (www.sunsethomes.net), says she occasionally allows short-term rentals if an islander calls at the last minute and the home would otherwise stand empty.

Some examples

The Estates at Turtle Bay: One hundred and thirty privately-owned condominiums, from studios for two people at $85 a night, up to three-bedroom deluxe condos at $190. The properties overlook the grounds of the Turtle Bay Resort Golf Course. 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku. Information: www.turtlebay-rentals.com. Reservations: 293-0600.

Turtle Bay Condos: Condominiums range from $85 to $275 per night; beach homes run from $225 to $350. The condos are on the grounds of the Turtle Bay Resort Golf Course, 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku; beach homes are scattered throughout the North Shore. Information: www.turtlebaycondos.com. Reservations: 293-2800 or (888) 266-3690.

Santa's By the Sea Bed and Breakfast: Beachfront cottage for $135, plus tax, per night for two people, or $150 for two days or less. Ke Waena Road, Hale'iwa (within walking distance of Pipeline). E-mail eskimo@hawaii.rr.com.

Sharks Cove Rentals: Properties include two- and three-bedroom vacation homes with prices ranging from $60 a night per room to $200 for a house. 59-672 Kamehameha Highway, Hale'iwa (across Shark's Cove). Information: sharkscoverentals.com. Reservations: 638-7980.

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows: Beachfront bungalows include studios for $65 and two-bedroom apartments for $140. 59-579 Ke Iki Road, Hale'iwa. Reservations: 638-8229.

— Wanda A. Adams and Zenaida Serrano Espanol