Ko’Olina vs. Turtle Bay – Which is the Better Resort Community on Oahu?

If you’re looking for property in a resort community on Oahu, but aren’t interested in the urban setting of Waikiki, the two locations you’ll likely compare are Ko’Olina and Turtle Bay. Both are well outside of the city of Honolulu on large parcels of oceanfront land adjacent to hotels and restaurants. Both boast excellent golf courses, access to water sports, and host well-known festivals and entertainment. So, how do you choose?

Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort

Location & Access

Ko’Olina is located on the western (leeward) coast of Honolulu, approximately 19 miles from the airport. Turtle Bay is on the famed North Shore of Oahu, in the heart of the big surf, about 37 miles from the airport. Turtle Bay is smaller and the surrounding area much more rural than Ko’Olina, so if you’re truly looking to get away from it all, head North. Ko’Olina has a greater variety of shopping and restaurants while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere, and is just one exit away from the “second city” of Kapolei, where you can find all of the comforts of home.

Coconut Plantation Home

Coconut Plantation Home (MLS# 201418706)

Property Style & Atmosphere

Both Ko’Olina’s Beach Villas and Turtle Bay’s Ocean Villas are oceanfront condos located in resort zones, so short term vacation rentals are permitted. But Ko’Olina also has several other neighborhoods with a more residential feel, such as Coconut Plantation and Kai Lani

These are gated single family or townhouse style communities with more long term residents. Initially marketed as second homes, long term vacation rentals, or retirement homes, the floor plans are more conducive to permanent living, with garages and additional storage.

With the growth of nearby Kapolei moving Oahu’s population west, more buyers feel it’s reasonable to expect the best of both worlds – daily life in a resort setting, with a reasonable commute to work.

Disney Aulani Resort

Disney Aulani Resort

Price & Quality

A sampling of homes currently on the market in Turtle Bay and Ko’Olina are listed below. Click on the links for the complete listing information.

  • Ko’Olina Hillside Villas, 2 bed/2.5 bath, 981 sq.ft., $454,000 (MLS# 201417666)
  • Coconut Plantation at Ko’Olina, 2 bed/2 bath, 1,117 sq.ft., $630,000 (MLS# 201418706)
  • Beach Villas at Ko’Olina, 2 bed/2 bath, 1,315 sq.ft., $2,899,000 (MLS# 201400681)
  • Kuilima Estates West at Turtle Bay, 2 bed/2 bath, 1,072 sq.ft., $699,000 (MLS# 201418041)
  • Ocean Villas at Turtle Bay, 3 bed/ 2 bath, 1,684 sq.ft., $2,785,500 (MLS# 201409154)


Monkeypod Kitchen, Ko’Olina

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