Ojai Valley Inn & Spa - an Undiscovered Gem
It’s the small touches that can make a good resort great! On my recent California road trip, I had the opportunity to spend a few days at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and found it to be a welcome surprise. I had heard about Ojai over the years from meeting and events colleagues, but it seemed to be a place that people talk about occasionally but no one had ever actually visited. So, I decided to check it out for myself!
And, what I found was a little, secret slice of heaven! Located just south and inland from Santa Barbara in a valley surrounded by the Topa Topa Mountains, the resort claims stunning views in all directions, perfectly manicured landscaping and interesting features throughout the property – championship golf, outdoor fireplaces, Spa Ojai, an apothecary where you can make your own scent, art classes, tennis courts, teen and children’s programs…just to name a few. Each evening, the nearby mountains cast a pink glow as the sun sets, famously known as Ojai’s “Pink Moment”.
Built in 1923, the resort began as a private, secluded country club owned by Edward D. Libby. In 1942, this beautiful resort was transformed into Camp Oak, a military training and recuperation facility for soldiers of WWII. In 1947, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa returned to its luxurious beginnings and re-opened as a glamorous resort, welcoming such guests as Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Walt Disney, Nancy and Ronald Reagan and Paul Newman.
Aside from all the great amenities, it was the little things that made this resort stand out to me! Upon arrival, the hotel delivered a welcome cupcake to my son and an Ojai hat was delivered for him on our final night. The rollaway bed we requested had an upholstered cover to match the décor of the room, so as not to be an eyesore. The guest room bathrooms had a bright switch and a dim switch to not be so startling to sleepy eyes in the middle of the night. While many hotels now have iPod/iPhone docking stations, Ojai provided Tivoli speakers for amazing sound quality. Great attention to detail is prevalent here at every turn!
At the very active Main Pool designated for families, the very attentive staff remembered our names (and what we had been drinking the day before) and provided anything within their power to make our stay comfortable. Complimentary sunscreen and lotion and ample pool toys for the kids, among other amenities, were offered without hesitation. The serene, adults-only Herb Pool, located beside the resort’s herb garden, offered a tranquil escape and almost spa-like tranquility for those seeking a more relaxing experience. I was traveling with my 5 year old and only got a quick glimpse and this soothing retreat…
From a meeting and events perspective, Ojai has adequate, but not exceptional, function space and 308 well-appointed guest rooms and suites. The resort’s biggest challenge in attracting group business is the distance from a major airport – Santa Barbara Airport is 1 hour away and LAX is 1.5 to 2 hours away. However, if a long transfer is not daunting, meeting and incentive groups will find ample activities and excursions for every taste on property or nearby.
This lovely resort was a hard place to leave! I would recommend this undiscovered gem to anyone who needs to get away from it all and experience some luxury and pampering!
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