I could feel the anticipation as I drove along the windy rural roads towards Lake Casitas and the gorgeously green Ojai Valley wine country. My windows were open so I could savor the smell of orange blossums, sage and rosemary as I drove into the resort. Can a city person truly love nature so much? Yes, we need that escape and you can truly have that spiritual connection with the land at the Ojai Valley Inn.
On my walk to the herb garden pool I spotted a funny little critter, then about 20 ground squirrels shimmyed across the golf course at lightning speed. A few minutes later a Red Tailed Hawk flew by and landed in one of many 200 year old Oak Trees that line the property. Ahhh, the simple things. Beautiful gardens, bees buzzing, I was in a total mind, body and soul experience . A little slice of paradise. My Casa Loma suite was gorgeously appointed and huge, with a really comfortable bed- a must for a great hotel. The large bay window overlooked the golf course and mountain range and at dusk I saw a few bunny rabbits on the green. I headed over to their award winning spa for my Rosemary and Sage Salt Body Scrub with ingredients harvested from their own herb garden. One massage later, the smell of lemon verbena permeated the spa and I felt refreshed and revitalized so I decided to check out the art studio. This‘ cute and charming alcove is bathed with light and super airy. The studio features multidisciplinary arts classes and a very cool aromatherapy class where you can custom blend essential oils for your massage or home. Love this, makes a great romantic gift for your family too.
This place feels more like a private country estate than a chi-chi resort. Founded in 1923 by Edward Libbey as a rural paradise, the gorgeous Spanish Colonial buildings are truly at one with their environment, you can’t help but feel the history. If it was good enough for Clark Gable, Judy Garland and Walt Disney it is good enough for me; and the service is impeccable. I spent some time swimming and relaxing by the adults only Herb Garden Pool. Quiet and kind of sexy as far as a pool goes, magazine in hand, fruit platter and orange cucumber water in my hand, I was in heaven. Everywhere I walked there was fresh Lavender and Sage. A sprig of rosemary here, a pixie orange there. The oranges and lemon verbena from the property are put in a custom blend to make soaps and creams for the rooms which guests can enjoy and take with them.
At dusk I was able to enjoy what locals call the “Pink Moment” from my balcony. Imagine the most delicious pink martini in your hand as you watch intense lavender and magenta filtered light enveloping the countryside and the Topa Topa bluffs in front of you. Unique to Ojai given it’s close proximity to the ocean, and the valley running east-west; just another day in Shangri La. The Ojai Valley INN is such a magical place in that sense. Their commitment to community, balance, sustainability and service is unrivalled.
Dinner at Maravilla featured signature dishes like the Oak smoked Rib Eye steak, grilled artichokes and Heirloom tomato salad, (yes, fresh from the garden 25 feet from my room) that was just divine.
In the evening my husband and I took a lovely walk around the property which was so private, romantic and magical. I just didn’t want to leave and I don’t even play golf. No, seriously, beyond its’ iconic beauty, the Ojai Valley Inn offers a sense of history and nature to their visitors that it just enchanting.
-Review and Photos by Reggie Casagrande
905 Country Club Road,