Background and Location

The hotel originally started as an Embassy Suites in 1986, and after an extensive reservation, it reopened as the Zachari Dunes Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton in October of 2022. The hotel mentions that they are Southern California’s only all-suite oceanfront resort, featuring 250-all-suite guest lodging options. This would be my third stay at a Curio Collection property, which is an upscale brand that features independent hotels with unique themes. My most recent Curio Collection visit was the Wassseturm in Cologne, Germany, which was a former water tower that was converted into a hotel.

Zachari Dunes with palm trees and a parking lot

Zachari Dunes Lobby Exterior

The resort’s name pays tribute to sugar mogul Henry Oxnard as the hotel is in the city of Oxnard, California & the Greek word for sugar is Zachari.

Zachari Dunes a sign with palm trees and a building in the background

Zachari Dunes Entrance

The hotel is in the suburban city of Oxnard, which is between Malibu (37 miles) and Santa Barbara (36 miles). Also, Los Angeles International Airport is 70 miles away from the resort. Other points of interest nearby include the Channel Islands National Park, and Downtown Ventura.

Zachari Dunes Mandalay Beach Takeoff Points

Date of Stay: December 2023
Room Type: Two Queen Suite Ocean View
Pros: Large newly renovated rooms, all with at least two bathrooms, nice beach, good cleanliness.
Cons: Shower water pressure could be improved, and grounds foliage could
be kept up better.
Overall Takeoff Score: A-

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the Zachari Dunes. I think the property is much too nice to be a former Embassy Suites, and it’s a good fit with the Curio Collection.

Booking the Zachari Dunes

Cash rates for the property start at around $200 a night before taxes and fees for winter months and can go up to around $400 a night during the peak summer season.

The property is listed as a Hilton Resort, and so I booked the property with a cash rate to utilize the Hilton Resort Credit that comes with my American Express Hilton Aspire Card, which is now $200 semi-annually. It’s nice that the resort credit can be used for room rates, as long as they are not pre-paid rates.

Zachari Dunes building with a waterfall and a stone wall

Zachari Dunes Grounds


A few days before arrival, I got a welcome email from the hotel that highlighted the activities and hotel amenities. Additionally, I got an email that I got a Hilton Diamond upgrade to a Garden View Room. Since many room types were still showing as available, I decided to email back and see if any rooms with an Ocean View were available. The hotel quickly got back to me and confirmed a complimentary upgrade to an Ocean View.

Check-In & Hilton Diamond Benefits

Self-parking is available at the hotel for $36 a night, or $40 a night for valet. Since we didn’t have much luggage, we ended up finding free street parking on Sunset Lane which was about a 5-minute walk to the hotel.

I found the lobby to be quite nice, and I was quickly helped by an associate. The hotel didn’t seem too full during my stay, as I believe it’s much more popular during the summer months.

Zachari Dunes lobby with a christmas tree and stairs


a room with a plant in a pot

Reception Desks

I was informed as a Hilton Diamond that I would get a $30 Food and beverage Credit ($15 for up to 2 people) to be utilized during my stay. Standard check-out was 11 AM, and when I requested if 1 PM was possible, they granted us a 12:30 PM.

Heading to the Room

There are 9 buildings in the resort, each labeled with a word starting with A-I. We were in the Heavenly building (H), on the top (3rd floor).

Upon walking to our room, it was nice to see the array of buildings, along with fountains and gardens. However, I do believe landscaping maintenance could be a bit improved upon.

Zachari Dunes patio area with a balcony and a table and chairs

Walking to the Room

2 Queen Suite Ocean View

Upon entering our room, I was impressed with how fresh and spacious our room felt. The smallest rooms start at 600 square feet and are all suites.

Immediately to the right was a full guest bathroom with a standup shower which is a great addition when traveling with friends and family. All rooms at the property come with at least 2 bathrooms. I found the wallpaper to be quirky but interesting, which showcased the area the hotel is in on an abstract map.

Zacari Dunes guest bathroom with a mirror and a toilet

Secondary Bathroom

A coat closet is located across from the bathroom, and then you’ll enter the main living area featuring a 4-person table, full-sized sleeper sofa, and TV. There is also a wet bar, with a mini fridge and microwave. A coffee maker was provided as well.

Zachari Dunes room with a television and a table

Living Area

Zachari Dunes room with a red couch and a table

Sleeper Sofa

a counter top with a sink and a mirror

Wet Bar

A sliding door led out to the large balcony that contained 2 lounger chairs, as well as a table for two. The balcony was a nice touch, and the views were great.

a deck with chairs and a table and a table with a view of the ocean

Balcony Ocean View

Primary Bedroom

The bedroom featured 2 Queen Beds, a chair with an ottoman, and a TV. There was also a closet with an iron/board.

Zachari Dunes with two beds

Two Queen Beds

The beds, linens, and pillows were comfortable and up to the 4-star level. The only thing I found a bit annoying was the shutters that did not fully close and should have been replaced during the renovation. It seems they just painted it over.

Primary Bathroom

The main bathroom had double sinks with newly updated countertops. There was a tub/shower combo and a separate room for the W/C.

Zachari Dunes Primary Bathroom

Primary Bathroom

Toiletries were in large refillable bottles and were the BeeKind by Gilchrist & Soames Lemon and Honey scent.

While I found the primary bathroom to be a great size, some minor inconveniences that I encountered were low water pressure and hot water in the shower to take a while.

Dining at Zachari Dunes

Ox & Ocean

The main restaurant is inspired by Southern California cuisine and the ocean waters. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

a room with tables and chairs

Ox & Ocean

My friends and I had breakfast there, and we liked the decor of the restaurant. I enjoyed my Garden Omelet, but my friends found that their dishes could have been improved upon. The Fritter Benedict had overcooked eggs and the portion was on the small side, while the Chilaquiles were at a cold temperature. My friends also commented that their lattes were too sweet as well.

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Sugar Beats Brews and Eats

This is an adorably looking dining addition that has outdoor seating and is in a converted Airstream beach trailer. It serves morning coffee, on-the-go breakfast & fresh pastries. During the afternoon it also serves snacks and alcoholic drinks.

a picnic tables and benches in a yard

Sugar Beats

Room Service

In-room dining is available from both Ox & Ocean and Sugar Beats. It has a more limited menu and is mostly snack/light options but it helped us during dinner when we wanted more bar bites than a full dinner. We ended up using this service and ordered using the QR code from our room.

a group of take out boxes with food in them

Chicken Tenders ($16), Sliders & Fries ($16), Kale Salad ($15)

Dive Bar & Game Lounge

Currently, the Dive Bar opens Friday to Sunday and serves alcoholic drinks and snacks. It’s a cool space that also serves as a game room. There’s a basketball machine, darts board, pinball machine & shuffleboard. Additionally, there are plenty of board games available. It’s a great spot to hang out with friends and family.

a room with a table and chairs

Dive Bar & Game Lounge

Poolside Dining

As of my December 2023 stay, poolside dining is available from noon to 7 PM daily.

Service & Amenities at Zachari Dunes

I found the service to be helpful and attentive during my stay. While I was a bit disappointed the hotel doesn’t participate in the “Message Hotel” function on the Hilton App, they have a texting service that worked just as well. One of the TV remotes ran out of battery, so we texted for a replacement and an associate came by pretty quickly. Also, all the associates we encountered from the Sundries store to the Game Lounge were friendly.

Resort Fee

The Daily Resort Charge of $35 per night plus tax includes Guest internet access; two-hour adventure gear rental, including beach and sports equipment; fitness/wellness classes; PressReader access; 15% off parasail and jet ski rentals and 5% off kayak rentals.

Mandalay Beach

The hotel is just steps away from Mandalay Beach, which is quite a beautiful beach as far as Southern California beaches go. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice and not too rocky the sand was. Even in the cold December water, it was fun to dip my feet and walk in the sand. I would love to experience this beach during the summer months.

Mandalay Beach with waves crashing on the shore

Mandalay Beach

a beach with palm trees and buildings

Hotel from Beach

Swimming Pool

The resort features one large swimming pool in the center of the resort, and there is also a hot tub area. Hours during my stay were from 7 am to 10 pm daily.

a pool with chairs and trees in the background

Swimming Pool

a pool with lights in the back

Hot Tub Area

We visited the pool in the evening; it was heated, which was nice for the crisp weather in December. The pool was maintained well and quite clean which I appreciated.

Cabana rentals were also available, and I passed by one that was in a cute holiday theme.

a patio with a table and chairs

Holiday Themed Cabana

Float Luxury Spa

There is a luxury spa that offers massages, facials, rituals, and more. They also offer in-room and poolside services.

chairs outside a building

Float Spa

Fitness Center + Sport Courts

The 24-hour fitness center is located near the spa and is well-equipped. It was empty every time I walked past it, which is nice for a peaceful workout. There are Peloton bikes as well.

a room with exercise bikes and a wood floor

Fitness Center

The hotel also features tennis and basketball courts.

courtyard with trees and a bridge

Tennis + Basketball Courts

Henry’s Sundries & Gear Rental

Located next to the lobby, there is a sundries store that also provides gear rentals like bikes, skateboards, paddleboards, and more.

a store with a couch and a sign


The resort fee allows for a daily 2-hour gear rental (minus the large tandem bikes). This was a nice feature to have, and my friends and I rented a longboard and hoverboard for an hour each to utilize the benefit. There’s a nice pathway to the park next door, and it was a perfect spot to test out both the longboard and hoverboard.

Other Activities

There was live music outside Ox & Ocean Friday night and a Sunset Beer Tasting in the lobby that was complimentary during my visit. Also, they had beach yoga daily, as well as a holiday movie nightly. They also had some paid activities like cookie and ornament decorating.

The night we arrived, there was also free beer tasting from a local brewery in the lobby which was cool.

a table with cans of soda on it

Beer Tasting

Pet Friendly

The resort is pet friendly, with a $175 fee, 50 lbs maximum.

The Verdict

Overall, the Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach Resort provided a great stay for a quick Southern California getaway with my friends. The large, newly renovated rooms were perfect to share with friends, and I loved how all rooms have at least two bathrooms. The resort is a great pick for friends and family travel, and the great beachfront location makes the property a nice hidden gem. It’s a solid mid-upscale pick that doesn’t come with the high price tag that other California beachfront resorts command.


Have you stayed at the Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton before? How was your experience? Comment below!




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If you are interested in getting Fora perks and want to stay at the Zachari Dunes, feel free to email me at or fill out this contact form below. If you have other trips you’d like for me to help plan, feel free to reach out as well!