Beachfront Best Kept Secret
Design lovers will appreciate the newly revamped multimillion-dollar remodel at Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach with coastal art, beachy décor, lavish chandeliers, BoHo basket lights, and a grand staircase retaining some of the property’s historic charm. Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, this modern Hacienda-style resort is an easy getaway. All 250 suites feature two bathrooms and six presidential suites offer two bedrooms. Oceanfront rooms are nestled on a rugged sand beach with Channel Island views.
Art and artifacts show how sugar mogul Henry Oxnard once planned to use this coastal land to grow sugar beets, intending to name the settlement after the Greek word for sugar – Zachari. Instead, the region was named after him, with the resort-inspired by Oxnard’s vision.
This “playground” offers an expansive pool, tennis (soon pickleball) and basketball courts, daily activities like yoga, and a game room filled with foosball, TVs, and more. As part of the resort fee, guests choose from an on-site rental shop filled with activities that can be used (free) for two hours a day like boogie boards, surfboards, skateboards, tennis rackets, record players, Go Pros, and beach chairs.
Chef Damien Gilberti is behind the hotel’s exceptional dining program at Ox & Ocean. Inspired by the bounty of the Oxnard Plain and Coast, Chef marries flavors from the same area because “If it grows together, it goes together.” The Grilled Porkchop with apple bacon chutney and acorn squash puree may be the best you’ve ever had. The Red Curry Coconut Broth Mussels and Brussels Sprouts with a yellow curry dressing and garlic aioli are also amazing.
The cocktail program tantalizes agave lovers with Palomas and Margaritas while the Espresso Martini and Foggy Old Fashion are essential vacation-mode cocktails. Weekday happy hour food and drinks like beer battered fish tacos and heaping guacamole don’t disappoint.
Breakfast is equally satisfying, beautifully presented and prepared, and includes favorites like strawberry smoothies, a Jalapeno Corn Fritter Benedict with bacon and chipotle hollandaise, Lemon Marscapone Pancakes, and a Chorizo Burrito loaded with eggs, potatoes, caramelized onions, Oaxaca cheese, and avocado. A new Airstream Café with colorful seating and breakfast bites is coming soon.
Some of the resort’s new offerings coming soon include an Airstream Café with colorful seating and easy breakfast bites and an intimate spa with massage treatments in cabanas helmed by Float in Santa Barbara.
Staying at Zachari Dunes not only gives me Aloha vibes but also feels value-added since the hotel delivers more than one would expect from a room rate with a relaxing environment that often is hard to find in Los Angeles, in part also to the way the resort is spaced out. Room rates are much lower than what one might find in Los Angeles or Malibu.
Pro Tip: Rent beach cruisers to pedal to the peaceful Channels Islands Harbor.
If you have more time, take a ferry from Ventura to the Channel Islands – https://lalascoop.com/2021/10/05/channel-islands-like-nowhere-else-on-earth/