The Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort is a tropical paradise on the sand in Oxnard. Sprawling over eight acres, the resort is a mixture of ocean-front buildings, pools, ponds, waterfalls and lush gardens. It is also one of my favorite gems along the Southern California coast.
Because of its proximity to Los Angeles, the resort makes a great mid-week getaway or a memorable weekend escape. And while it may only be 60 miles from LA, the place has a faraway island vacation feel.
My recent getaway to Embassy Suites began when a friend and I pulled off the 101 Freeway in Oxnard and drove a few miles south to the coast. Here we turned down a small street and spotted the hotel and its large signature bell tower sitting on the sand like a big beautiful mission. We then checked into a gorgeous suite, overlooking palm trees, sand dunes, the ocean and the Channel Islands a few miles offshore.
The room came with a master bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower, flat screen TV, and ocean views. It also featured a large living room with couch/bed, flat screen TV, separate bathroom with shower, office desk, coffee pot, microwave, kitchenette sink, and a large balcony with table and chairs, overlooking the beach.
After lounging on the balcony, we strolled the property and absorbed the summer ambiance. Located about 150 yards from the ocean, the Spanish Mission-styled resort boasts 248 suites, along with amenities such as a giant pool and two Jacuzzi’s, fitness room, tennis courts, on-site restaurant with bar, business center, and bicycle rentals. And all of it is surrounded by rocky waterfalls and caves, serene ponds, tropical vegetation and of course, the Pacific Ocean.
And speaking of the ocean, it was such a nice July day during our visit that we grabbed a couple beach towels and found a place on the beach in front of our room. After a dip in the chilly water, we walked along the sand to the Oxnard Marina, where we visited the Channel Islands Maritime Museum (www.channelislandsmaritimemuseum.org) and discovered a fabulous collection of exquisite seascapes and stunning ship models.
The Museum’s models include the Marple collection, built by master modeler Edward Marple, a retired dental technician who turned his free time into maritime masterpieces of wood. Another collection includes nine prisoner of war models from the Napoleonic Wars, circa 1790 to 1815. During this time French sailors were captured by the British and imprisoned in England. The prisoners developed a small, model ship building business and sold them. Hundreds of these ships were built and the majority were made from bones left over from their meals.
Back at the resort we joined the manager’s daily cocktail reception. Free for all hotel guests, this fun afternoon affair offers a full bar of popular drinks and beers, as well a tasty buffet of salad and nachos. After this we laid by the pool and tropical waterfalls.
For dinner, we sat on the patio at Coastal Grill, the hotel’s signature restaurant. With an emphasis on innovative American fare, the menu boasts a variety of comfort foods and classics, from grilled steaks and salmon to BBQ ribs.
Our meal began with a delicious spicy ahi poke appetizer with lettuce, sesame seeds and scallion. For the main course I devoured a fresh plate of fish tacos with grilled pacific cod, fresh cilantro, house slaw, and avocado. My friend dove into a tender and scrumptious rib eye steak with herb smashed yukon, cipolini, and roasted baby carrot.
While dining, we listened to a live guitarist sing, while the sun set into the ocean and a warm summer breeze drifted through the palm trees and landed near our table.
In the morning we enjoyed the resort’s complimentary buffet breakfast, featuring a made-to-order omelet bar and a buffet bar with sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, fruits, breads, coffee and juices. We then relaxed at the pool before saying goodbye to the resort.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort is located at 2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard, CA 93035 For more information, call (805) 984-2500 or visit: www.mandalayembassysuites.com/