By Jennifer Raskin
Looking for a peaceful place that moves at a slower pace than Los Angeles or Santa Barbara? Nearby, Ojai awaits, an oasis just 15 miles from the coast. With mountains that serve as the perfect backdrop for a stunning sunset, this charming slice of California offers a much more relaxed retreat for the discerning traveler. Ideal for scenic hikes, horseback riding, wine tasting, indulgent spas, and golfing, it’s a leisurely destination you most certainly should make the time to see. Unlike other places, it retains its quaint charm that is free from sprawls of shopping malls and commercial developments, allowing you to soak up the unspoiled beauty that those in the know have been sneaking off to since the 1930s.
Stay In Style
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Since 1923, this iconic resort has been pampering guests the instant they walk through the door. Golf carts arrive to bring you to your room, treating you to an epic exploration through the stunningly sprawling property. It’s easy to forget your cares in a place like this, and with three indulgent pools, you’ll find you’ve got everything you need to unwind. The award-winning spa makes it even easier to let stress slip away while the on-site world-class Ojai Country Club offers the chance to play golf where pros like Doug Sanders plus notable celebrities like Michael Douglas have all played through. Indulgent perks await like the wine happy hour, candle-lit room service for romance, and bike rentals. While it has all the makings of a romantic getaway for two, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa also welcomes children and keeps them happily occupied with activities for every age range, plus dogs, who even have their own menus at some of the resort restaurants, proving indulgence is for everyone.
To learn more visit www.ojaivalleyinn.com; Hero photo: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Ojai Retreat & Inn
If you’d prefer something more intimate that puts you right in the heart of nature, book your stay at the Ojai Retreat & Inn. Located on a five-acre hilltop, the stunning views of the Ojai Valley surround you at every turn. There are just 12 guestrooms at this beautiful inn located in the Main House as well as the cottages, most with a private garden or patio from which to take in the view. Get in touch with nature on the nearby trail or enjoy the waterfall garden in the center of the grounds. Perhaps the most exquisite part of staying here is the incredible European-style breakfast to indulge in every morning. As the name suggests, it’s a retreat that helps you escape from it all in the most simplistic and natural of ways.
To learn more visit www.ojairetreat.com.
Dine With Opulence
The Ranch House
Bringing the ultimate in romance to Ojai for over 60 years, The Ranch House is a gourmet experience that is revered for its unique and award-winning cuisine. The lavish garden setting beside meandering streams and robust native foliage make for a breathtaking appeal. Fresh foods that engage the garden’s bounty are brought forth with impeccable service. From-scratch creations utilize all organic and locally-sourced produce while sustainable seafood and grass-fed, free-range, organic meats round out the menu. An incredible wine selection makes perfect pairing with the dishes served here a treat. This culinary landmark is perfect from start to finish with ambience, quality, and service that sets the benchmark for fine dining.
To learn more visit www.theranchhouse.com.
Located in the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, it might not be the only restaurant on the premises but it is one of the most beloved for the indulgent resort. Focused on what they call ‘valley-to-table’ dining, Chef Andrew Foskey presents the best of California’s ingredients dished up with Italian techniques. With choices like prime beef carpaccio, truffle and asparagus risotto, Mediterranean branzino, and Colorado lamb loin, you’re in for an absolutely divine culinary experience. A four course menu option is available, and even better, one with wine pairings, that let the chef decide for you. Expertly-curated wine options plus a dessert menu that begs for indulging will complete your spectacular dining experience at Olivella.
To learn more visit www.ojaivalleyinn.com; Photo: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Live In Leisure
Hiking and Outdoors
Hiking is a popular activity in Ojai thanks to the miles and miles of beautiful nature trails all around. At the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, you’ll find plenty to do with your own two feet plus you can take in mountain biking or even horseback riding if you’d rather. The Los Padres National Forest is also nearby with more recreational activities for those who love to enjoy that California sunshine and stunning mountain surrounds. Try your hand at tennis at Libbey Park or take to the water at Lake Casitas where boating and kayaking will keep you active. Even a picnic enveloped in the sublime scenery is a splendid way to spend your time. You’ll find many ways to get active and appreciate getting off the grid in Ojai.
California is no doubt known for its wines, but Ojai boasts some of its own wineries and vineyards perfect for sampling during your stay. The Casa Barranca Organic Winery & Vineyard in Ojai’s downtown is a historic landmark that features delightful organic wines. Topa Mountain Winery presents a stunning tasting room with impeccable views and hand-crafted wines from the Ojai Valley while the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room boasts Californian wines made with a European flair. Sip and savor your way around Ojai’s world of wine during your stay for a perfectly romantic and fun way to spend your day!