When I was first invited to head out and experience The Oaks at Ojai, I definitely felt like that cliché blogger from Los Angeles. Heading out of town in LA terms (not even 2 hours from home) and going on somewhat of a retreat. What would I find? Are you expected to stay on The Oaks’ grounds your entire stay? Can you bring any of your own snacks? Will you get in trouble if you don’t drink decaf coffee?! I knew I could survive an overnight boot camp if that turned out to be the case. But, what I discovered both after learning more about The Oaks, and while on my stay, is that The Oaks at Ojai has created an extremely unique atmosphere where YOU are in charge of what your idea of a “spa”, “detox” or “retreat” is.
Located in the tranquil Ojai, California (Just a half hour inland from Ventura Beach), The Oaks is one of the several hacienda-style buildings within the city, and from their street, can look very un-assuming. Park your car in their ample parking lot (free and they take up an entire corner on Ojai Street) and enter the lobby. The architecture of The Oaks, especially from the main drag, brought to mind one of the 21 California missions.
I arrived at noon as I had been invited to join the resort for lunch prior to my check-in. When you stay at The Oaks, all of your meals are inclusive, plus many snack breaks throughout the day and drinks available 24 hours a day (regular and decaf coffee’s, teas, water, etc). You can imagine that I was tickled pink when Maria, the courteous and warm Oaks associate who assisted my check-in, informed me that my room WAS indeed ready, and that I could head on in to freshen up before my meal and tour.
Before I was on my way, Maria also made sure that I chatted with Christine, The Oaks’ Head Chef, regarding my gluten allergy. While we had emailed about the lunch I would be having, she wanted to ensure I was good to go for dinner, as well as give me the lay of the land of their formal dining room (where you can join other guests for lunch or dinner and get table service) and The Libby Lounge.
I must admit, I favored The Libby Lounge. As I get older, I really have found that I NEED my solo time, and work trips like this are real treats I’m grateful for to have some time to myself and let my mind wander. In the lounge, you’ll find a long counter top filled with iced teas, water, a great assortment of tea’s, coffee’s, milks/creamers, fresh fruit and during lunch time, the meals are served in the lounge, as well. Come dinnertime, should you wish to enjoy your dinner on your laptop or reading in the lounge, you can ask the staff to bring it to you there. (You can also eat your meals poolside or back at your room. Entirely up to you!)
The Libby Lounge is also where you will grab your AM fuel whether it be post-morning hike, pre-yoga, or just anytime before 9:30, so keep hitting snooze til then if you wish. The cuisine is definitely along the lines of a health program. Yet, the portions are there. Lunch at my arrival was a tostada salad with turkey and soup of the day was a pumpkin chili (which I really favored. Hearty and nice to enjoy a fall favorite in the spring for a change). For dinner, Christine had several options for me to select from, and I selected their vegan and gluten free black bean noodles stir-fry. It was delicious, and the veggies fresh and cooked in a flavorful tamari sauce. Having enjoyed black bean noodles in the past, they were not as spicy as I have had them, and they soaked in the flavors from the sauce and veggies greatly.
In between your 3 meals a day, there are several snack breaks that include a vegetable broth with magnesium and electrolytes (vital if you’re enjoying all of the activities offered at The Oaks) as well as veggies and dips, and a savory popcorn after dinner.
Each day, The Oaks has countless classes throughout the day for all of their guests. Whether you are a pro at yoga, or a newbie to dance or hiking, the dedicated trainers and teachers at the resort will take great care of you. The daily relaxation yoga at 4pm will be the perfect way to unwind post swimming, walking or shopping downtown. While I was concerned I’d forgotten my yoga mat, I was in luck as such amenities are there ready for you at the fitness center. Pool towels, too!
With so much going on outside your door, you may find it hard to want to leave your suite. I was so excited to stay in one of The Oaks’ famed bungalows. Boasting a sun deck to tan with lounge chairs and a patio perfect for sipping your morning coffee or un-winding after your facial, I could have easily moved into my room! I felt like Georgia O’Keefe at her New Mexico hacienda. Inside, I had a cozy living room and a spacious bed room and double bathroom.
All I kept thinking is how many people my suite can hold; easily 5 guests as the living room has a pull-out couch, pillows and blankets, and many rooms have double beds.
So, while this is definitely a great place to detox, you can keep in mind living it up, too. Just steps outside of The Oaks you will stumble into Downtown Ojai where there are delicious cafes, wine bars, shopping and even The Ojai Valley Trail. A fantastic 15 mile loop that goes throughout Ojai. I had no idea such a gem of a town existed in Ojai!
Next week, I will share with you my experience at their spa. From hair care and nails, to facials and massages, The Oaks has you covered there, as well. In the meantime, learn more HERE and plan your own visit to The Oaks! xo
(*Disclosure: I was invited to stay at The Oaks on their behalf for this feature. All opinions are my own.)