Beachfront Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard


After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.

She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.

Beachfront Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard



    Driving to the entrance of the Spanish hacienda-style resort, Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach in Oxnard, I immediately noticed the multi-million dollar transformation the resort recently completed outside and throughout the light-filled lobby.

Located between Malibu and Ventura, along the Pacific Coast, this new Curio Collection by Hilton, took over the former Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach. Now a more luxury lifestyle resort, the interiors throughout the resort embrace the local culture and history of the surrounding area.

     After checking-in, I met Andrew Sutrisno, the Director of Marketing at Zachari Dunes in the lobby for an informative tour. “Guests are welcome to pour a complimentary glass of strawberry lemonade, as a nod to the strawberry crops growing in the Oxnard region” he said.

Images of Henry Oxnard, who helped develop the area, are displayed in the main lobby and hallways to honor the beet sugar farmer. In the early 1900s, Henry Oxnard originally wanted to name the city ‘Zachari’ after the Greek word for sugar. He was the President of the American Beet Sugar Company, and also the American Beet Sugar Association, representing all the beet sugar factories in the United States. “When he didn’t receive approval to name the city Zachari, he named it Oxnard after his family name.” said Sutrisno.

Design influences throughout the resort include photos of strawberry fields, sugary sand dunes, and soothing coastal colors. “Zachari Dunes tells a story about Oxnard in almost every room and outdoor space throughout the resort.” Sutrisno said.

Walking around the large renovated pool and spa, gardens and gentle streams, Sutisno excitedly showed us the two dining concepts. Ox & Ocean is an all day restaurant offering a beautiful interior dining room and lively al fresco dining terrace overlooking the pool.

The other spot, Sugar Beets offers an airstream trailer and festive event spaces with strings of white party lights. Sutrisno explained, “We have locally roasted coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and fresh pastries in the morning. In the afternoon, after a day at the beach, guests can relax to enjoy a locally brewed beer, canned wine or cocktail. We even serve adult Popsicles.”

After the tour, we entered our ocean-facing suite with a kitchenette, full-sized living room, separate bedroom and two full baths. Stepping out onto the dark wood balcony, we enjoyed cheese and crackers with a glass of Santa Ynez Rusack Chardonnay wine. We watched the sky change from blue to yellow, orange and red as the sun gently eased into the ocean behind the Channel Islands was a spectacular sight to see.

We donned our bathing suits for a swim and hot whirlpool soak, before dinner at the onsite farm-to-table restaurant, Ox & Ocean. Executive Chef Damien Giliberti’s menu emphasizes locally harvested seafood, prime meats and produce grown in the nearby fertile fields. “We have amazing produce growing all around us, and there is so much we can do with it.” Chef said during dinner. We enjoyed oxtail bao buns, a beet salad, crispy potatoes and freshly caught halibut. For dessert, Chef Damien makes special strawberry hand pies served with a scoop of local ice creamery McConnell’s vanilla bean.

Walking back to our room, we opened the window in the bedroom to have the gentle roll of the waves land on the sand lull us to sleep.

The next morning, we ordered two coffees at Ox & Ocean with chilaquiles, avocado toast and lemon mascarpone pancakes, before venturing out the back gate for a two mile long walk along the broad strip of sand. There is also a bike path for guests and locals to pedal near the Pacific Ocean. While walking near the edge of the water, we gathered pieces of driftwood and shells along the path.

Guests at the hotel receive a complimentary rental at Henry’s Sundries & Rental Gear Shop in the lobby for surf, land and sand equipment. We noticed some families making sand castles with the loaned sand toys, and a few guests wearing wetsuits riding boards in the waves to enhance their vacation experience.

For those who choose to explore Oxnard and the surrounding communities, the nearby Channel Islands Harbor and Ventura Harbor have whale-watching and Channel Islands boat tours, plus kayak and paddleboard rentals. Downtown Ventura is close to explore too, offering a historical San Buenaventura California Mission, weekend farmers market, long wood pier, thrift and antique shopping, craft breweries, and a variety of dining venues.

This summer make a reservation for a relaxing getaway at the only all-suite beachfront resort just steps to the sand at Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, 2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard. Call (805)984-2500.


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