I have researched Wellness centers and resorts for 34 years, interviewing people who started wellness/retreat centers, people who managed them, land developers, organizational developers, construction supervisors, real estate agents who specialize in selling large properties for this use, spa managers, venture capitalists,etc. Along with this, I have researched online over 70 resorts, spas and wellness centers/learning centers world wide. I have done this research to not only prepare to one day create my own, but to also act as a consultant to people wanting to create wellness centers and refer my clients to resorts that fit their budget and desired experiences. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa was one of the ones I researched and has long been one of my favorites due to their beautiful Spanish architecture and use of tiles. In July I finally got to visit in person and thanks to Ashleigh Tripp, a warm, generous and enthusiastic guide, who works in the marketing dept., I received a wonderful tour of the resort. I had walked around a little before hand and took some photos but Ashleigh really filled in the picture for me and was very patient with all my questions.
I loved learning the history of the place…that it was first conceived in 1923 and built as a country club and golf course but the first rooms for the Inn weren’t built until 1934. I love that those rooms have still been kept intact. In 1942 the land was used by 1000 army troops for a training ground and they took over the golf course land, pretty much leaving it unusable as a golf course. The Navy also used the property after that for a recuperation facility. In 1947 a new owner reopened it after restoring it. The golf course had originally been created leaving large trees and other natural areas left intact and that was kept in mind in restoring it. Through different owners and over the years, all the renovations have kept true to the history and the original architecture.
The resort now has 308 rooms and suites ranging in size from 425 sq. ft to 1200 sq. feet and 1200 – 1900 sq feet for the penthouses. Along with the rooms there is also a gorgeous villa, called Casa Elar which is 10, 407 sq. ft, has two two-room master bedroom suites, it’s own massage room, 2 bedrooms downstairs, staff quarters, its own pool and spa. Room rates start at $389. There are packages available and the resort regularly offers coupon and other offers to locals. The room rate has an added $25 service charge which includes use of the golf practice facilities, tennis courts , fitness classes, Nest teen center, and activity center along with a few other amenities. The resort is pet friendly and even offers dog training classes.
Everyone I encountered was very warm and friendly, and it was obvious that the resort truly welcomes its guests, both local and from other locales. The resort even has some onsite housing for employees.
Sustainability is a strong focus and the onsite apothecary makes all the bath products available in the rooms, and recycles any of them left over. Recycling containers are sprinkled around the area and strongly encouraged. As much as possible they serve local and organic produce, even growing herbs in their gardens onsite and heirloom tomatoes. They turned an old horse ranch and barn into an organic farm and split the crops with the growers and use the rest in their restaurants. The barn was turned into a wedding venue. They use only certified fish on their menus as well.
Facilities include tennis courts and instruction, an 18 hole championship golf course and other golf training facilities, 4 pools, ping pong, a basketball court, a game room located at the adult only Herb Garden pool, activities and camps for the kids. The golf course offers golf academies spread throughout the year, catering to different skill levels. In the building that houses the apothecary and artist cottage, guests can paint glasses, tiles, silk scarves or use mixed media, in addition to personal assistance in creating a hand picked aromatherapy oil to be used in their body treatments or massages. The spa offers the usual massages, facials, salon offerings, along with several spiritual therapies and a unique Native American flavored sweat and clay ceremony/treatment that honors the history of the local tribes. Guests can choose a room near the spa or golf course if that is their focus for their stay. There are six restaurants scattered around the resort and in-room dining.
With all of its array of facilities and activities, this is a great place for business events, reunions and weddings. There is a large expansive event lawn near the herb gardens and heirloom tomatoes. There is an arbor with seating under it for a cocktail or quiet place to gather. I enjoyed all the spirited sculptures placed around the grounds and the beautiful landscaping.
The resort even hosts resident parrots that have their own trainer to care for them and educate the guests! I was very impressed with this resort and it’s attention to sustainability, comfort, variety and beauty! Come check it out. It is close to LA, close the beach, close to mountains!