Faithful readers of this blog might be gobsmacked to learn of our stay at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. I am renowned for frugality. And this is a 5- star destination with a decidedly pricey reputation. How our four-day visit came about was kismet; it allowed me the chance to tell YOU, dear readers, why you should save up your hard earned nickels for a stay here. This place really is that special.
First off, when I told travel buddy Denise Vivaldo we were going to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa for my birthday, I knew SHE had done so a few months earlier. “Oh honey, that is my FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!” Good response.
Then I told her the scoop on how it came to be, NOT a blogger junket as you might anticipate how this is going. I won a $1500 gift certificate to the Inn. No lie. Larry’s eyes got THIS BIG when I won. Mine, mine, mine. Birthday trip ahead! And then, we set out to basically out-spend it – heck, why not?
While the property itself turned 90 this year, I only turned 59. Not traumatic. It’s just a good reason to head out of town intent upon feeling good about life.
And to eat. From poolside cocktails and small bites, golf course side bistro dining, and other outdoor spots places, we ate EXTREMELY well.
Revelation #1 from our getaway… you need to stay at least three nights. Even with just a drive from LA (under 2 hours, worth it!), getting here, winding down, walking around, meeting the parrots, checking menus and spotting cozy places to read should take more time than a weekend. This quintessential R&R resort was deliciously designed to blow off steam, clear mental cobwebs, get you to breathe deep, slow down, sleep well, eat fine foods and watch the sun set. We booked Sunday through Wednesday with the intention of missing crowds, and that was wise — this is one popular wedding venue. Stunning. Romantic. Old money. A celebrity hideaway (Jimmy Kimmel just wed here).
DO AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU WANT
We weren’t sloths. The daily newsletter of activities on our door knob got us going. Each morning, we hit the 7:30 stretch class, followed by a fitness walk into the charming Ojai downtown area. I did some yoga. Larry took a TRX class that stretched his feet in strange ways he felt for a few days, LOL. We walked back into town a second time daily for entertainment, more exercise, shopping, talking.
Then… day three… we hit the spa. As in, aaaaahhhhh. Facial for me. Reflexology massage for me. Facial for Larry. Deep tissue massage for Larry. Met up for lunch pool-side. Then steam room for me. Hot tub for me. I dunno know what else he did inside the Men’s Lounge, but my guess is it was pretty relaxing in there, too.
Revelation #2 — you don’t have to do everything. Seriously, just plan on coming back. E.g. we didn’t golf. But I know Denise’s husband, Kenny did because as we were getting out of our car to check in, I hear, “Patti IS THAT YOU??” There she was, travel buddy Denise. At the Inn. Again! They came for lunch and golf with visiting family. Didn’t I tell you she adores the place?
We also didn’t play tennis. Or swim laps in the many pools (but certainly partook of hot tubs and cabanas). Or take a class in the art center. Or rent bikes to ride the 12 miles to the ocean. All honorable activities for people who like to be busy. Maybe the next time we return. Yes, we will definitely come back.
e’s Spanish Lavender, English Lavender and French Lavender. See it, and think Ojai. Smell it and zzzzzzzzz. It is a relaxing aromatherapy oil. In high school, I discovered Yardley English Lavender Soap, and requested it (successfully!) every year from Santa. Ojai products featuring lavender are everywhere (try some Lavender Lemonade soon), as are sprigs of it throughout the Inn and Spa. Adorable.
HITTING OUR BUDGET LIMIT
By our third evening, we had topped our budget and were on the downhill slide. Having enjoyed most of the Inn’s restaurants and pubs, we jumped onto the Ojai wooden trolley and toured all around mellow Ojai and more-modest Meiner’s Oaks. Since we weren’t interested in eating at another restaurant, let alone miss the pink sunset at “our” gorgeous Inn, we jumped off the trolley at French deli and purchased to-go salads, walked back to the Inn and picnicked in a secluded spot overlooking the herb garden, savoring birthday Malbec. Thank you, Larry, for packing that nice surprise.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thank-you to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa for granting me a Media Discount Room Rate as a travel blogger so that our budget could stretch as far as possible. I had every intention of blogging about the destination whether the rate was granted, however. Win-win.