Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
This resort was hands-down the most memorable and delightful of all that we visited, and we sampled California's finest. Sublime and unforgettable, this dream-like resort is a favorite for celebrities, and it is no wonder. From the magnificent spa, to the highly developed children's program, to the personable, considerate staff, to the awe-inspiring quietude that envelops the resort, there is nothing more that a family traveler could desire than what is found here. If you want to give your family and yourself the ultimate gift, book a week, or at least a weekend, here in a suite, and treat yourself to Spa Ojai while your children enjoy Camp Ojai. You will return home with the invincible feeling that comes from utter luxuriation and relaxation: renewal.
Where is Ojai? Like most true treasures, Ojai is so hidden from the masses that you could attend college for four years in Santa Barbara, as I did, and not even know that it exists, when it is actually just forty minutes away. Ojai is a historic California mission-style town in a pastoral valley, just fourteen miles from the Ventura beaches, thirty-five miles southeast of Santa Barbara, and seventy-three miles northwest of Los Angeles. The village is charming with upscale shops and restaurants. Make sure you allow at least one day during your stay to explore this interesting village of bookstores, boutiques, and non-chain stores. Artists, writers and movie stars quietly reside in Ojai.
Room and Suite Rates (during the time of my stay):
We stayed in a fireplace King suite which was like being in a relaxing apartment, complete with a full bedroom with a long hallway, an oversized bathroom, and a living room with a fireplace. The long balcony overlooked the golf course and majestic mountains. It was extremely relaxing to sit on the balcony with ten-month old Mandalin on the comfortable patio furniture.
Our suite was decorated in contemporary California-mission style with handmade furniture including a Morris chair, Mission armoires, a four-poster bed, a pedestal sink, hardwood floors and hand-painted tiles around the fireplace. Some of the other niceties found within our suite were:
This is no ordinary spa. I sampled the best spas in California and this one was my personal favorite. It subconsciously became my standard against which I began to compare other spas. Set off in a white-mission style building with a fountain in front, this is referred to as their Spa Village. The Spanish Colonial style spa contains twenty-eight treatment rooms, many with fireplaces; whirlpools; steam rooms; and saunas. I spotted one of my favorite movie actresses inside the Spa Boutique, which sells unusual and high-end face creams, shampoos, relaxed clothing, and other specialty items. Knowing that celebrities seek refuge here from the masses, I resisted the urge to ask her for her autograph. I watched her on one of the in-room movies that evening.
The Spa offers the full variety of facial treatments such as orange blossom facials, rose facials, deep-cleansing moa mud facials, and many more. Body treatments include lavender body treatments, Ojai honey scrubs and Yamaguchi green tea treatments. The full spectrum of massages are available, including Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, and others.
Off-property activities include jeep tours, wine tours, garden tours, ocean and lake fishing, surfing and kayak lessons at the nearby Ventura Coast or Lake Casitas.
If you are a people-watcher, you are bound to spot celebrities dining at nearby tables. The food and service at these restaurants are excellent. The cappacino cake stands out to me as a delicious memory.
Camp Ojai is provided for the children of guests. The normal ratio is five children to one counselor. The counselors must have ECE credentials and most are even trained to work with special-needs such as autistic children. All counselors are trained in first aid and are CPR certified.
In Camp Ojai, the well-supervised children hike the resort's grounds to see this authentic Chumash Indian Hut. On this nature hike, children learn much about Ojai's earliest inhabitants.
Camp Ojai has been in place for many years. It accommodates children from the ages of three to twelve and operates daily from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., with an additional seasonal segment from 6:00 p.m until 10:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays. A typical morning session would include various crafts such as gourd or rock painting; Native American projects, such as learning Indian instruments including drums and flutes; sharing ideas in the 'Speak Things True' council circle; a nature hike to Chumash Indian Hut where children learn much about the Native Americans that once inhabited the area; a trip to the ranch and stables for a pony ride; a visit to the children's small animal farm; playtime at a local park; and a tour of the Ojai Museum. After-lunch activities may include various arts and crafts; Native American projects such as circle dances or a hike to Bear Cave to look for Indian relics; face painting; a nature hike to Chumash Indian Hut to study plant life such as tule, yucca and soap plants; swimming with lifeguard certified counselors; and outside sports and games.
Special seasonal evening sessions may include arts and crafts, Native American projects, star-gazing, relay races with obstacle courses, and games, songs, and stories.
If you are pregnant, the Ojai Spa provides a rare opportunity to get fantastic, prenatal treatment, with the particular needs of you and your baby in mind. Beginning with their massage offerings, this spa has a special pregnancy massage mechanism that enables pregnant women to lie on their stomachs for perhaps the only time during their pregnancy. The therapist will adjust the pillow according to the expectant mom's trimester. The recessed surface cradles her belly, ensuring that no pressure is placed on the fetus. I have had the other type of 'pregnancy massages' whereby a masseuse simply massages you on your side and this is incomparable to the kind of pregnancy massage found at Ojai. My therapist was also very well-trained in pregnancy issues and knew for instance that there were several pressure points to avoid that could trigger premature contractions.
I also opted for a 'Mother's Care Facial,' designed to replenish the expectant mom's skin and revitalize it in terms of special maternity needs. This too was wonderful.
Both the massage and facial were part of a spa package called 'Maternally Yours,' a four-part, four-hour treatment for $315.00. I had bypassed the Mother's Joy Body Treatment and, instead, elected to do three items individually...the Pregnancy Massage, the Mother's Care Facial, and a fifty-minute personal One-to-One Pregnancy Yoga Meditation. I felt I had been truly pampered and that I had found a place specially attuned to my pregnancy needs.
What can be more conducive to romance than being in a spectacularly calm environment, surrounded by beautiful mountains and a lovely golf course? Contemporary spiritual seekers ascribe mystical powers to this valley, which is still called 'The Nest.' There is a magical type of ambiance to this resort. You will have no distractions to romance.
For all the celebrity prestige that passes through here, you will find an incredibly warm staff waiting to accommodate you. There is no snob or superior attitude with which to contend at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, just welcoming hospitable people.