The Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Bay Hotel & Resort in Oxnard, located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California, is where annual attendees of the Oxnard Salsa Festival commune each year during the festival held in the local community Plaza to savor the best in salsa dancing and salsa recipes in the month of July, and became my weekend escape while I was serving as a salsa recipe judge for the Salsa Festival.

Overview of Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Bay

Presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, the award-winning Oxnard Salsa Festival features the region’s top salsa and Latin Jazz bands, non-stop salsa dancing, marketplace shopping, tortilla art for kids, a Salsa Tasting Tent, two international food courts, and salsa dance exhibitions. The 26th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival is scheduled again next year for July 28 & 29. It is a sizzling two-day event, and guests lucky enough to stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton have a winning combination to sizzle at the event and chill by the beach.
Since it’s inception visitors at the popular hotel have savored the beachfront suites with views of an amazing four-mile stretch of beautiful sand and water, where they can escape for a perfect weekend or extended vacation with family members or business associates. Currently, the hotel offers complimentary breakfast and afternoon cocktails with appetizers to guests each day, which are extremely enjoyed. Breakfast is a buffet but is fully loaded with everything guests could want, including an omelet and egg station with a chef who honors any personal preferences.

Salsa Amateur Recipe Winner 2018 Karen Silvers

The suites are large, and have all the bells and whistles, including a comfortable living room with a sofa bed that sleeps two, a chic patio area with a view, dining area with refrigerator plus microwave for in-room food preparation, which I was told is greatly appreciated by families traveling together. My double king suite could accommodate my daughter’s whole family. This property is ideal for family reunions or weddings.
From morning til night walking the beach or riding bikes is a popular activity at the hotel. There is a handicap beach area nearby the hotel, as well as a full gym and yoga room for guests in the hotel. The pool with huge rock waterfall and jacuzzi is a favorite all day and a fun meeting place for groups to meet and play before dinner. Food service is offered adjacent to the pool, or at COASTAL Restaurant. The lunch and dinner menus include choices to please every guest. The bar is fully equipped for watching favorite games or sporting competitions on TV over a beer or cocktails.

Chef Jacob Bernard

The COASTAL restaurant is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset and offers daily specials designed by Chef Jacob and his team that are outstanding. My chicken with mashed potatoes and glazed carrots, following an exceptional soup du jour mushroom/chicken chowder and blue cheese wedge salad, was exceptional. The food here is quite good and the service outstanding. They offer a respectable wine list which includes some fine California favorites and a few special gems from Europe. Sinful endings include a fabulous cheesecake or a choice of Mc Connell’s Ice Cream, my personal favorite!
About the Chef: Chef Jacob Bernard has worked for Hilton Hotels since 2014 and recently served as Sous Chef at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile. There, he supervised all the food operations and the training of team members. Before that, he was Kitchen Supervisor at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport and worked in several smaller restaurants in the Chicago suburbs. He was on task forces for the Hilton Baltimore and Embassy Suites South San Francisco. Jacob is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago with a BA Degree in History and attended the Culinary School-Juliet Junior College, and he received the bronze medal at the 2015 American Culinary Federation ‘Culinary Classic’ in Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Bernard lived in Chicago his entire life before assuming the position at Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Bay Beach Resort.

Coastal Restaurant

I will be working with our talented team of chefs on classic French techniques, utilizing modern calorie aware methods, which will also include vegan and pasta offerings from our chef Mike, who is guiding us all through the vegan world of food preparation,” said Chef Jacob. I was very impressed by how much Chef Jacob loves what he does, and it’s obvious he can only be an amazing addition to the culinary team at the resort.
During my weekend at the hotel, I booked a gondola cruise on Gondola Paradiso, located minutes away at the Channel Island Harbor, where my private cruise was a beautiful and peaceful respite from my very exciting festival weekend. The gondola looked like some I’ve seen in Italy, but was made in the USA. My gondolier Mark was wonderful, he could even sing! I would recommend this delightful experience of cruising through some of the most beautiful Channel Island properties with stunning boats docked at their front doors to anyone visiting Oxnard, and I really look forward to a relaxing repeat of this water journey, perhaps with a picnic of wine, anti-pasta, and crackers.

Chicken Entree

According to GM Christian Hellot, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Bay is expecting to implement some great new changes in 2019 that will be ready in 2020. Stay tuned for details on these renovations and new programs to culminate in the near future. For reservations or information please visit:

About Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News (, does travel, entertainment and food reporting on local Radio/TV, and contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications. She is a member of IFWTWA and NATJA. Contact her at