I visited The Oaks at Ojai last November. It was one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences I’ve experienced in awhile. I couldn’t wait to return again, this time with my daughter. Much of what I remembered remained the same; the beautiful surrounding and warmth of the staff were so comforting. It was as if I was coming home for a visit.
Nestled in northern Ventura County, a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, The Oaks at Ojai offers a serene, yet upbeat atmosphere for guests who are committed to get fit and focus on the three key pillars of the spa, each which complement the other for a harmonious connection and healthy weight loss: nutrition, fitness and overall wellness. It has earned praises and accolades from many institutions as well as travelers.
The Oaks at Ojai is not only located in one of the most picturesque and beautiful towns in America, it is surrounded by 75 areas of the Los Padres National Forest. As we stepped inside the spa, we immediately felt welcome. Founder, Sheila Cluff, created a communal, familial, sharing and nurturing culture where staff and guests are approachable, social and share a like-mindedness. As told in her autobiography “Living Your Dream” Cluff is a wellness visionary who created cardiovascular dance in the 1950s, later known as “aerobics,” and pioneered the concept of the modern destination spa in the 1970s.
The Oaks, built in the 1920s, offers 46 guest rooms that salute Spanish Mission Revival interior design. We absolutely love our room! It’s comfortable, spacious and inviting. It even has an in-room Jacuzzi and a cute little patio!
The Oaks is an all-inclusive spa resort. The healthy fitness and weight-loss program includes 12-15 optional fitness classes daily; hikes; three delicious calorie-conscious meals per day, plus snacks and beverages; on-site health advisor; evening activities and wellness lectures; and complete use of all resort facilities.
It also offers Fitness Spa Days for visitors to the area who wish to ‘spa’ for just a day. Guests can arrive as early as 6 a.m. to partake in all fitness activities and meals then stay through the evening entertainment and seminars.
We arrived at 10 minutes before 1:00 PM on Friday. The receptionist asked if we would like to have lunch first before checking in since lunch ends at 1:00 PM. That was so thoughtful of him. Of course we said ‘Yes’! Lunch was Sweet Potato Soup and Seared Tuna Salad. I also ordered an unsweetened Ice Tea.
After lunch, we checked into our beautiful villa and took a little stroll around the ground. The weather was perfect and the ground is absolutely beautiful and very well kept with lots of fruit trees and shrubs. The outdoor pool is heated and used for several water exercise programs. Many guests relaxed on the loungers reading books and soaking up the sun.
Since we got here early enough, we were able to join a couple of afternoon classes; Muscle Conditioning and Zumba Dance Fitness. We got a good stretch and the Zumba was so much fun!
Everyday at 2:45 PM, there is a Veggie Break served with several home-made humus. At 4:45 PM is a Beverage Break serving smoothies. They really help keep you fueled, not to mention how delicious they are!
Dinner is served daily at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM. It is typically consists of Salad, Entree and dessert.
Can you believe this 3-course meal of Salad, Baked Eggplant with Steamed Broccoli and Chocolate Brownie is only 350 calories?
There are also nightly social activities like Bingo, Movie & Popcorn, Food Demo, Nutritional Seminar and Meet & Greet with local artists. The Bingo was a lot of fun with many prizes been given away. Sadly, neither I or my daughter won. Sherry who hosts the Bingo is so sweet and funny.
Breakfast and lunch are served in the Libbey Lounge. There are coffee, fruit-infused water, tea and fruits served 24/7. You can dine inside or outside where the beautiful outdoor patio is.
After breakfast, we continue our fitness quest. Among our favorites were Morning Stretch, Boot Camp C/S, Aqua Cardio and Pilates Mat S. There are up to 15 different classes available daily for all fitness levels. Classes are geared for all fitness levels, from a scenic mountain hike to aqua-toning and power yoga. Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Zumba and dance are some of the classes offered. Weekly Fitness Schedule is posted on the bulletin board as are the Meals.
After breakfast, a Potassium Broth Break is served at 10:45 AM. Lunch is served at noon. We enjoyed the Tortilla Soup, Chile Relleno bake, Black Bean Salad w/Greens, Oaks’ Sour Cream & Guacamole, again, all for 350 calories!
On Saturday, during the Beverage Break, there was a Food Demo featuring Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is one of my favorite salad dressing and I brought home the recipes so I could make them at home.
Before you knew it, it was dinner time again. I must admit, I was drooling. The 3-course dinner consisted of Mixed Green Salad with Sesame Dressing, Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Asian Rice & Bok Choy, Lemon Pineapple Supreme. I don’t know how they do it but, yes, it was only 350 calories of absolute deliciousness!!!
Included in the all-inclusive program is all meals, snacks and beverages. The Oaks offers a nutritious, well-rounded, 1,200-calorie a day food plan that consists of three meals, snacks and beverages. The varied menus feature natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings, salsas and soups – all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs from The Oaks’ gardens.
I couldn’t come to a spa retreat and not experience a spa treatment. My Fit & Firm Signature Facial w/AHA was heavenly amazing! Meg was my wonderful aesthetician. She was gentle and attentive in making sure I was comfortable at all time. I highly recommend you try one of the facial or massage treatments. The spa uses products designed by Skin Authority. Each treatment includes a personalized consultation, home care recommendations, and free access to a Skin Authority coach to provide tips and guidance to keep the results going once you get home.
For guest who are not staying at The Oaks, you may purchase A Day of Pampering package that includes a delicious spa cuisine lunch, a cleansing 50-minute facial, a rejuvenating 50-minute massage and the choice of haircut and style, mini scalp massage or a Lemongrass Lavender Pedispa. Use of steam room and sauna also is included for $195. Deluxe Day of Pampering packages also are available and include the addition of an embroidered Oaks robe, a finishing touch makeover, and a day use locker for $260.
The Oaks offers many programs, discounts and specials for groups, couples, individuals and mother/daughter. Check out the website at www.oaksspa.com and give them a call. I know where I will be going next time when I need to relax, renew and refresh!
The Oaks at Ojai
122 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, CA 93023
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I was an invited guest to the spa resort to help facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.