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Posts tagged ‘Ojai’

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai, CA

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!

Approaching entrance Entrance Flower on tree in garden Herb garden pool Herb garden Outside patio in gardens Rooms near herb garden pool Rooms on south side of property Stairway to roomsSculpture in garden

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The Oaks at Ojai, Ojai, CA

I went to tour the Oaks in July.  I walked around on my own some and then joined their orientation tour for new guests at the spa.  In the orientation were a few guests who had been there before and the spa has a high percentage of returning guests. One woman had been on one of their cruises and along with that she was given 2 free nights at the spa.

Sheila Cluff, an international fitness expert, founded the spa 36 years ago. It is considered a destination spa and it’s main focus is healthy weight loss, wellness and conscious eating.  The daily rate includes 15 fitness classes a day, 3 calorie conscious meals and healthy snacks.  The majority of the guests are women.

There are 46 rooms with an occupancy of 78 guests.  The rates start at $199 a day double occupancy to $345, depending upon the room size and $269 to $319 single occupancy.   Along with the offered fitness classes, there are daily guided hikes and walks for people of all fitness levels, cardio and weight lifting equipment, pilates equipment, an indoor and outdoor hot tub, steam room, sauna, outdoor pool and nightly lectures and activities.

The Spa is located in the center of town on Ojai Ave.  The meals will accommodate vegetarians as well as various food allergies per request. The menus are posted and guests are invited to contact the staff if they need something else or don’t like what is on the menu.  There are cooking demos to assist the guests in continuing their healthy eating habits upon returning home.

The spa offers various massage and reiki therapies,  facials, body treatments, a salon, along with fitness and body composition consultations.  Life awareness coaching and wellness training is offered as well.

Throughout the year various theme and focus weeks are offered.  Cruises are offered that include fitness and weight loss classes.

Jacuzzi in womens spa Path to rooms Pool and outdoors area The entrance Treatment room

Casa de la Luna Retreat, Ojai, CA

I’ve been talking to Margaret Elliott, the owner of Casa de la Luna Retreat for 5 years about ways we could collaborate.  I finally got to meet her and see her retreat center in early July.  Margaret started out renting a house on the property and then when the owner decided to sell, Margaret purchased it and has since then turned it into a retreat center. Her vision is to also include an organic farm near by, and expand the offerings of workshops, ceremonies, events and partnering at the center.  She loves to connect up with other eco-villages and wellness centers around the world.  She has offered up her space for free to various spiritual teachers off and on over the years.  She is very warm and generous.

Casa de la Luna sits on almost 4 acres with produce trees, organic gardens, horses, oak trees and redwood trees.  There is a residential compound consisting of  5 private lodging units with 10 large bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 5 kitchens including a large industrial kitchen,  and a large event room that holds up to 60 people. The event room has recording, live streaming, editing, and screening capabilities and Margaret is skilled in all of this and offers its use to the public.  The rooms can hold up to 20 people for retreats, reunions and other gatherings. There is a large ceremonial/event lawn that has held many public ceremonies, weddings, and other gatherings.   There are other indoor/outdoor event areas. The retreat center is used for transformation, education, outreach and healing. There are treatment rooms located on the property, too.

Come check it out, or if you are interested in investing, please contact Margaret at http://www.casadelaluna.org/

The photos are not mine.

1-Bedroom-Living-room_9645 2-Bedroom_0485 another entry way Casa-Entry-La-Luna_0019 Ceremonial-Lawn-Area_0118 ceremony Entry Housing Lawn Main house Redwood_1842 rooms vegetation

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