Pick of the month: Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii . As a semi-impoverished freelance travel writer more than 20 years ago, I boarded a city bus in downtown Honolulu for a four-hour trip around Oahu, an island of underrated beauty. The bus stopped for 20 minutes at the tip of the island's north shore, not far from Oahu's legendary surf breaks: Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, the Banzai Pipeline. I stepped out to explore what was then the Hyatt Kuilima Resort. The impression was lasting: scalloped lava coastline, miles of sandy beach, turquoise blue waters, and a really nice-looking golf course.
|The Turtle Bay Resort re-opened last summer after a major facelift. Turtle Bay Resort|
After many permutations, the 445-room property is today Turtle Bay Resort, a 36-hole complex recently treated to $35 million in improvements by new owners. The original layout, the George Fazio Course, which debuted in 1972 and hosted the first Senior Skins Game in 1988, reopened last summer after a major facelift. Broad fairways, deep bunkers, and large, gently rolling greens mark the design. The resort's Arnold Palmer Course, site of an annual Champions Tour event, is a sturdy, 7,199-yard track that was named one of GOLF MAGAZINE's Top 10 You Can Play after it opened in 1992. The front nine, built on rolling terrain nearly devoid of vegetation, sets up as a breezy links, while the back nine is tunneled through ironwood trees and a wetland preserve. From the 17th green, set atop a plateau 100 feet above the surging Pacific, players can watch humpback whales breach offshore.
The Palmer Course is $115 for hotel guests, $160 for visitors ($110/$155 for the Fazio Course). The resort's three-night, unlimited-golf package, including upgrade to an oceanfront room, is $1,150, based on double occupancy. Reservations: 800-203-3650; www.TurtleBayResort.com.