Having already been to Honolulu and Waikiki several times, my family (wife, three boys ages 11, 9, and 5) decided to bypass the big city altogether and traveled straight from the airport to Oahu’s fabled North Shore. We made our base at Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, which is in Sunset Beach, about 15 minutes north of Hale'iwa. For a family of our size, it was a tremendous value. It is very well-run, very well-kept, and spacious for the price.
The Ke Iki Beach Bungalows are right on a spectacular beach. This is the area that gets monster waves in the winter. 10-15 footers are not uncommon. That means the wave face is 20-30 feet. Imagine surfing down a wave the height of your house. In the summer the surf is more like 1-3 feet, but it still made for fun and challenging body surfing.
We arrived at the Ke Iki Beach Bungalows at around 4pm. I met the proprietor, Greg Gerstenberger, and told him I had seen the movie “The Big Bounce”, which was filmed on location at this hotel a couple of years earlier. I started to tell him, “I love Owen Wilson, I love Morgan Freeman”, and he interrupted “…but it ------, right?” “Yeah” I said. “I mean, I love Elmore Leonard and I love the North Shore, and it should have been a great movie…” he interrupted again, “…but it ------” I said, “Yeah!”. So it goes to prove that you never know how a movie will turn out, but if you’re planning a visit to Ke Iki, you can check out what it looks like by renting “The Big Bounce”. But it -----.
Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, on the other hand, doesn’t. It was great. Very clean, comfortable accommodations on that great beach. Wonderful location. Fair price. For you cyclists, walkers and runners, there is a very pleasant, largely shaded roadside bike path that runs about 2 miles north and about 2 miles south of there.
We stayed in Hibiscus, which is a two bedroom/one bath. There was a small sitting room with a tv set. There was a full kitchen (and a pretty good, non-rip-off supermarket about a mile down the road). We saved quite a few dollars by fixing breakfast in the bungalow instead of eating out in the morning.
The door from the sitting room opens out to a concrete patio that has a charcoal BBQ grill and a picnic table. Just beyond the patio are hammocks and a beautiful golden sand, uncrowded beach. The whole property is very pretty and Greg is accommodating and friendly. This is a very well run place.
There’s lots to do in the area. Waimea Bay is about 5 minutes south. Just behind it is the Waimea Audubon Reserve. In winter you can gawk at the surf and the surfers (we were there in summer, but I’ve been in the area in December, and it is truly awesome). The Polynesian Cultural Center is about 30 minutes around the north end of Oahu. And about 5 minutes south of Ke Iki was a place called Laniakea Beach. It’s somewhat famous because it’s become a favorite spot for sea turtles. The turtles just hang out on the beach through the afternoon and at about 10-11pm they turn around and slip back into the water. Everyone (meaning everyone but one person that we saw) was respectful of these beautiful creatures. People maintained their distance and didn’t touch. One of the locals told me they were trying to keep the turtles' presence a secret, but the world is catching on. Of course it doesn't help their "secret" that they have taken to calling it "Turtle Beach" instead of Laniakea.
There’s also some very good snorkeling in the area at a spot called Shark’s Cove, which is just north of Laniakea Beach. Despite the name, there weren’t any sharks there and from what I’ve heard, there rarely if ever are any. The name refers to a rock formation in the cove.
The main town in the area is Hale'iwa. It's a very cool, funky little town. Good restaurants, interesting shops, and don’t miss out on Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.
I love Waikiki for its energy and fun, but if you’re thinking of skipping Oahu because you don’t want to travel 2500 miles just to encounter a big chunk of concrete, think again. The North Shore is a world apart and definitely worth your time. I can think of no better place from which to explore it than Ke Iki Beach Bungalows.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Oceanside Bungalows on Oahu's Beautiful North Shore. Guests enjoy romantic sunsets on an acre and a half of palm-fringed beachfront land. All beachfront bungalows have beautiful ocean and sunset views. Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of this Hawaiian paradise. If you've been dreaming about getting away to paradise, Ke Iki Beach is waiting for you. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Ke Iki Beach Bungalows Hotel Haleiwa
- Ke Iki Beach Bungalows Hawaii/Oahu - Haleiwa