Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

California's Only All-Suite Beach Resort Offers the Central Coast's Most Unique Stay

Santa Barbara Epic Stays
by Molly O'Brien Dec 9, 2022

Oxnard’s recently unveiled Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach is a destination in and of itself as the only all-suite oceanfront resort in California (and one of the only true oceanside resorts on the west coast). Geographically, it’s perfectly placed between the cities of Santa Barbara and Malibu, serving as a secluded escape to relax with breathtaking ocean sights.

The resort gets its name from the region’s storied history. In the early 1900s, Henry Oxnard, an entrepreneur and sugar tycoon, outlined his plans to use the long stretch of land along California’s Central Coast to grow and process sugar beets. He wanted to name his newly founded community after the Greek word for sugar, “Zachari,” but ultimately named the region after his namesake. Today, Zachari Dunes’ name pays homage to Henry and his original vision while giving a new meaning to the likeness of those tall, sugary sandy dunes lining the property’s perimeter and adorning the seaside landscapes of this town.

Zachari Dunes emits a laid-back, upscale vibe that properly speaks to the atmosphere of the entire Central Coast of California. There are seemingly endless activities to enjoy on-site and around town — but perhaps one of the most notable elements of the property is its guest rooms. Each room is a multi-room suite, making for exceptionally spacious accommodations to enjoy any overnight stay.

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Rooms at the Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach
Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach
Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

There are 244 suites on-site, including six presidential suites. These suites each offer more than 600 square feet of space, with two separate rooms including a full-sized living room with a pull-out couch, two full baths, and a dining area with a wet bar. You’ll also find a microwave and a refrigerator in each room, creating a setup that can comfortably accommodate four people — perfect for groups, families, or for those who want enough room to spread out. The patio or balconies are outfitted with a table and chairs, making for an ideal spot to watch the sunset over the ocean.

Immediately upon walking into the lobby through the entrance, guests will encounter an open, airy, and bright space with white walls and floor-to-vaulted ceiling windows, feeling as if they’ve fallen naturally into a relaxed vacation mode (even those who are technically here on business, since the property offers an abundance of meeting spaces for groups).

With the resort fee, guests can enjoy standard hotel amenities, fitness and wellness classes, PressReader access, and local discounts to some of the region’s most popular attractions like kayaking, Jet Ski rentals, and parasailing reservations. Plus, the resort fee covers something extra special — access to Henry’s Sundries & Gear Rental for two hours of borrowing an item of their choice. This one-stop shop boasts a wide range of equipment to explore areas by land and sea.

Visitors can rent out standard beach essentials like beach chairs, surfboards, and boogie boards — in addition to unique offerings like DSLR cameras, telescopes, a guitar, video game consoles, and even a vintage record player.

Wellness at Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach
Photo courtesy Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach

For a health-conscious stay, the spa service and the well-equipped 1,600 square-foot fitness center are open 24/7 and boast high-quality equipment like Peloton bikes, LifeFitness treadmills, and free weight equipment. There are also Tennis Courts, Bicycle Rentals, eight nearby golf courses, and multiple resort pools with cabanas and direct access to Mandalay Beach.

This property’s overall architectural design takes advantage of California’s radiant weather, offering abundant natural outdoor space and on-site seating areas for guests to sit and soak up the sunshine. Visitors can spend time in the central courtyard plaza area and admire the lush, living, tropical plants lining the perimeter of pathways around the property. And the multiple outdoor fire pits are an ideal spot to sit and savor the evening’s mild temperatures, perhaps even outfitted with a cocktail or roasted s’mores.

Adjacent to the pool is the perfect “21 and up” hangout spot made for guests to spend an evening unwinding — while feeling like a carefree kid again. “Dive” is a playground for grown-ups with a bar serving cocktails and bites featuring comfortable lounge seating, with lots of games of all shapes and sizes to enjoy. Visitors can find seemingly every kind of entertainment — from mini basketball hoops, a pool table, a wall made of dart board material (you can’t miss!), Monopoly, playing cards, and almost any other game under the sun. It’s the chance to bring back those nostalgic childhood memories while enjoying the luxury of adult freedom.

The resort’s upscale restaurant, Ox & Ocean, serves a curated menu of refined cuisine and unique craft cocktails alongside a wine menu hand-picked by the property’s food and beverage manager. Guests can enjoy a relaxed breakfast or seaside lunch, followed by an elevated dinner experience with cuisine inspired and serviced by the abundance of fresh local provisions of the Central Coast.

Zachari also features an on-site eatery called Sugar Beats (a play on the area’s “sugar beet” history), which hosts an easy grab-and-go dining experience for those seeking a casual bite. This converted vintage airstream trailer is located near the pool area, where guests can grab some food while listening to the musical stylings of favorite musicians and nostalgic throwback artists under the shade of the dense trees and near the tranquil sounds of the resort’s waterfalls and stream water features.

Here, guests can buy anything from a cup of local coffee and breakfast to snacks like fresh-made seafood options and refreshing to-go drinks like craft beer, single-serve cocktails and wine.

Zachari Dunes is also an ideal spot to host meetings and events, boasting more than 23,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space, catering services for conferences and receptions, and an executive boardroom that can accommodate 14 people. Plus, as the property is a Hilton Honors Points & Miles member, guests can earn loyalty credits for spending a night.

Overall, spending a night at Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach is bound to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience — no matter the season or the reason behind the visit.

Price: From $196 per night

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