With a rich history that dates back to 1923, the famous Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in California is a sprawling jewel nestled about a 90 mile drive northwest from LAX. Having eyed this place for years, I finally had the chance to experience its many wonders this summer with a much needed mother-daughter spa holiday. The resort has it all; 308 luxurious rooms and charming suites you can land a plane in complete with fireplaces, terraces, four poster beds, and Spanish tiles, impeccably manicured grounds, 3 pools, outdoor dining, championship golf, tennis courts galore, all that plus dry, sunny weather for a good part of the year in an idyllic setting. The staff is also top notch, and seem genuinely happy to be there, which is a welcome change from many resorts I have stayed in. It’s no wonder Hollywood A-listers find Ojai to be a sanctuary a million miles away from the spotlight; Melanie Griffith was brunching with a group of women during our stay, and we overheard some whispers about a Conan sighting.
One of the highlights of the property is undoubtedly Spa Ojai. The 31,000 square foot Spa serves as an oasis with its own pool, relaxation rooms, endless amenities, and a casual eatery to grab a salad or a stay hydrated with a smoothie or iced tea before or after treatments.
My Spa Ojai experience was nothing short of world class. A charming lady called Judy greeted me and escorted me into a private women’s locker room, and I could feel myself relaxing at the anticipation of slipping on a cozy robe. Ojai’s signature scent is lavender – it grows on the property and the lovely tranquil purple color is used everywhere as an accent – for example, the Herb Garden Pool towels are lavender, and a sprig is gently wrapped in your spa robe and towels. The relaxation room where you wait for your therapist is beautifully appointed with purple leather accents and views of the green rolling hills of Ojai valley. Master Aesthetician Yvonne Franklin took great care of me. She introduced me to the spa’s newest addition to the menu – the Essential Hydrafacial – a 50 minute powered microdermabrasion, cleansing, exfoliation and tightening treatment. Yvonne is a real gem; a dedicated skin care professional who takes her craft seriously and impressed me with her knowledge of medical grade ingredients and therapies. My skin felt amazing for days after my treatment until I hit JFK and all the soot and humidity of the New York City air overtook the softness and clean feeling.
And if you have time, be sure to check out the spa’s signature Kuyam treatment- I’m definitely coveting it for my next visit. Combining the therapeutic effects of cleansing mud, dry heat, inhalation therapy and guided meditation, Kuyam is the only treatment of this type in the United States. The word “kuyam” means “a place to rest together” in the language of the Chumash people who originally inhabited the Ojai valley. It can be a communal experience, accommodating up to eight men or women per session.
The eco-friendly products available at the Spa Ojai include Arcona and OSEA, plus Spa Ritual, a vegan hand and nail care line. Arcona is an L.A. based skincare range touted for its high potency of good-for-skin enzymes, antioxidants, botanicals and amino acids. OSEA is from Malibu, and is best known for its algae masks – white, red and black – and all natural serums. The Ojai signature range of beauty products is actually quite pleasant for a resort brand, especially the body creme scented with lavender.
Although the quaint town of Ojai has its charms, hippie residents and bikers, for me, there is really no reason to leave the resort. Now every time I smell the scent of lavender, I think of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and can’t wait to go back. www.ojairesort.com.