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“Unique, Homey, Enjoyable Retreat” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Dent House

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The Dent House
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4100 Matilija Canyon Road, at Matilija Canyon Ranch, Ojai, CA 9302   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Ojai
No. San Diego County
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Unique, Homey, Enjoyable Retreat”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2009

Our women's group (8 moms from No. County San Diego) stayed at the Dent House 3 years in a row during the first weekend in November. Each of us has only the FONDEST memories of the Dent House. We stayed in the Main House, and there was at least one donkey whose hee-hawing each morning we found very delightful! Several of us in our group are gourmet cooks and we found the kitchen in the main house to be very well appointed. We prepared amazing meals together, drank great wine and shared each other's company in the beautiful dining room each evening. The area is known for the minerals in the water which makes your hair and skin feel great. It does tend to leave stains in the bathtubs but none of our group found that to be a problem.

The caretaker was very friendly and helpful and he offered to take us on a hike through the canyon. We enjoyed frequent visits by his three dogs. We are all dog lovers so we found it to be a bonus to have resident dog companionship. There is a nice screen porch where we watched the rain one afternoon and played cards. A step back in time! This is like a home away from home. The feather pillows and down comforters were very luxurious. We really felt like this was HOME rather than a hotel. But that is what WE always look for in a vacation getaway. A place that the 8 of us can call HOME for one weekend a year. The Dent House totally fits the bill. Did I mention that hiking Matilija Cyn is amazing?

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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8 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    3
    1
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    1
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Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
San Diego
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2009

First of all bring your camera!! i cant believe that everyone in our group expected someone else to have theirs with them! My only regret is that I dont have any pics to show my friends who I have been talking about my weekend with.
I first learned about The Dent House from a family member. I am happy and feel so lucky to have had the chance to stay in such a quiet and gorgeous setting. I had never been to Ojai before and i think it might be the last small town left in Southern California.
The Dent House has an interesting story. I believe the Dent House itself was a historic landmark that was disassembled and relocated up there. The entire ranch is over 500 acres and is the most beautiful place. I really cant believe it is so easy to get to from Los Angeles. A stream runs through the entire property and there are several swimming holes alone the stream. I think I went swimming in every one! There were all kinds of wildlife from a horse and burrow to exotic birds like peacocks and pheasants along with all kinds of others that i cant remember. There were even ducks too! The experience was just so relaxing and the houses were so pretty. We took a couple cases of wine up to last us the weekend because we were told it was a half hour drive to town from the ranch. Being just far enough from civilization to still be able to find it if you want it was nice and exactly what we needed.
I cant wait to go back and I have started saving for a summer trip already! You can bet that ill take pictures to post next time too!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2008

We just returned from a family reunion at the Dent House in Ojai CA. There was 23 of us and everyone had a great time. This is not a spa or resort and shouldn't be confused with one, but a great place to spend time with family and enjoy the outdoors.
We rented all four homes/cabins and everyone was quite comfortable. Everyone had their own bed and almost all of the bedrooms had adjacent private baths. We did all of our own cooking in the main house which has a commercial kitchen.

7 of the attendees were children who despite not having their usual comforts of home (computers and TV) never once complained of being bored, but much the opposite - we never got to do some of the things we had planned. The days were spent hiking to falls and swimming holes(amazing trails - just be careful of the poison oak). The kids also spent time in the swimming hole on the property, and picked fruit in the orchards, or visited the other animals on the property (chickens, horses etc.) They even got to get fresh eggs every morning from the hens and cook them for breakfast. At the end of each day the families gathered in the large common room that connects the barns to play games etc.

The only negatives - and negative is a harsh word - were that the water definetely has a sulphur smell to it, but the owners provide plenty of bottled drinking water. There were also quite a few ants, so be sure to keep all food carefully wrapped. You are in the woods, so anything left out is fair game for any creature.

Finally the caretaker Fred and his family were all very helpful and our kids enjoyed playing with his kids. The owners of the property were also great to work with on the process of planning this reunion - and were always more than helpful.

A previous reviewer of this property was clearly not happy with her experience, but I think it just truely wasn't what she wanted or expected from a vacation. Like I mentioned before - this is not for the traveler that wants to be pampered. This is for people that like the outdoors and are looking for something different, that is away from all the typical commercial stuff you see in most hotel locations. This is an absolutely beautiful serene location.

  • Liked — Getting away from
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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LA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2008

Wow, we just got back from a weekend at the Dent House for a friends birthday and I was going to review it. I had never been there before and didn't know anything about the place so arrived with no preconceived ideas. I’m glad that I didn’t see that review that momofthree wrote or I might have tried to talk my friend into going somewhere else.

The place is about 1/2 hour outside of the town of Ojai, deep in a canyon at the end of a road. The directions I was given by the place said to arrive during daylight hours and I can see why. The drive was absolutely gorgeous but it is a narrow two lane (and for about 100 feet a one lane!) windy road sometimes with rocks on it. You get to the end of the road, open a huge gate, and drive down what now appears to be a drive way with speed bumps. But if I thought the scenery was good on the drive in it got better here! There are two houses on the left side of the street (a giant building called the Barns, which it looks like, and a smaller one called the Farmhouse) and on the right side are two more houses (one big Craftsman style house, which is the Dent house, and a little cottage- I don't know what it was called). It turns out that all these places are part of the Dent house, so that was pretty cool. Anyway, I know it is Spring and all but what a beautiful place!
My friends and I stayed in the Craftsman house (the Dent house, apparently after the family that built it) so I can't say much about the other buildings but this place was great. There was a big kitchen with a restaurant type stove, a large dining room that seated all ten of us, fireplaces everywhere, and everything was very nicely maintained. The sheets on the bed seemed to be ironed with maybe some light starch (I like flannels myself but another friend that went with just raved about the sheets ~ to each his own I guess!) and there were soft towels and those little shampoo bottles you get at hotels (nice stuff too!). They even had Arrowhead water bottles next to the beds. I guess that was important as the water out of the taps smelled a little of sulpher and one of my friends thought it would make her hair smell funny but I washed my hair and no funny smell so all was good for me! The water was REALLY soft though! Wow! I did ask the guy who worked there about it and he said that the water in the area had a “high mineral content” and supposedly the Indians way back when would make journeys here just for the water! I don’t know that I would do that, but it wouldn’t keep me away either!
The first morning was fun. There was a big black dog that lived there, and a yellow Golden Retriever type dog that apparently was staying with some other guest that was in the little Farmhouse across the way. Anyway, they both hung out with us and played with our dogs. It is doggie heaven out there, but be prepared for dirty dogs when you get home! There are also horses, a donkey, some peacocks and ducks and chickens and I'm sure some other things too. And fruit trees that were all in bloom. I think I need to come back when the blooms have turned to fruit, although there were oranges on a lot of trees. The caretaker guy that lived there said they had apples, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pears, peaches and even figs, kiwi and some other exotic stuff I can't remember!
Anyway, we all went for a long walk, wading through or rock hopping across streams and through more pretty scenery.
Come night fall we were all tired and grateful for the fireplaces and the comfy couch in the TV room (thank heavens for satellite television!). I slept like a rock in a very comfy bed and we did it all again the next day. The kitchen was easy to cook in, even with all of us wandering through, and it seemed to have everything we could think of. I'm sorry we couldn't have stayed longer and I'm pretty sure we'll be back again.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orange county, ca
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2007

DO NOT go to the Dent House. It was a nightmare of a stay for us. Ants cover everything & are everywhere in the houses & barns. The bathtubs are stained brown (no joke) - - I will put up pics when I get a chance. Whoever did their website deserves an award for faux marketing b/c it is nothing like the website states.

Oooh, and Bats fly through the bedrooms at night - - ok, that is neat for kids, but not neat for parents paying a couple thousand for a few nights! The only thing respectable were the clean sheets & bed coverings. The rest of the house was filthy. Think black feet when you take your shoes off. (We stayed in the West Barn, East Barn & Cottage house next to the barns.) Never again. And, since it was such a nightmare of a stay, I feel obligated to warn others. Cobwebs, filth, and a caretaker out of a horror movie. You could hear him cussing up a storm, drinking beer in the peacock cages, and he even had the nerve to tell our kids (all under 8) "Don;t worry about the poision oak, unless you have s*x in it." ?? We, the parents, were standing right there! Obnoxious, unhelpful, and scary. Really.

Btw, no donkeys, no horses. Just peacocks, chickens & geese in filthy surroundings. Not our idea of country charm.


Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elizabeth-denthouse, Owner at The Dent House, responded to this review, November 25, 2007

Hello;

This is an open letter responding to a review by momofthreeintheOC. I feel compelled to respond since I just read her review of the Dent House, and was appalled.

We lease the residences fully furnished without housekeeping unless this is additionally requested, yet I don’t know when they could have had such an experience so I do not know if this is new or sometime in the past.

We checked our records to see who might have leased the Barns and the Farmhouse over the past couple of years, and reported such terrible conditions to us… such a review would have been unusual, and not forgotten, … and yet, we found no one who complained of such an experience.

If their visit was years ago when we first began operating, perhaps there could have been some problem. However, we have, over the years, worked on getting the right crews, and I believe that all these matters would have been resolved. Most definitely, we would find such conditions totally unacceptable for the arrival of our tenants today.

Certainly ants are a problem in the country during certain times of the year, and all of Ojai has a pretty notorious “ant season” when not a crumb of food dare be left out in the kitchens. In fact newspaper articles have been written about it, but we deal with ants only with organic substances, from outside the houses, and we never place ant poisons in the kitchens, nor even in the gardens or in the orchards. We are organic in our gardening in order to protect our guests and their (and our) children and animals. So, I can’t imagine how that ant trap could have been placed on the window sill, yet the writer’s picture shows that it was there.

A small bat or pipistrelle had been known to make its way into the houses in the past, but each window is carefully screened today.

We are very vigilant about the current housekeeping crew, who have been with us, now for years and do a very fine job of cleaning all the houses between tenant groups, every inch; public rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, including washing floors carefully and completely. They are now, also overseen by a staff member, before and after each house is thoroughly cleaned. (We have sent a copy of this horrid review on to each member of the cleaning crew as a warning)

Our linens and towels are laundered and fresh, and the beds are freshly made for each new tenant group.

If anyone found “cobwebs” or “filth”, I am embarrassed.

Certainly, a curtain could come askew over several days of use, or a bathtub could be stained by the minerals in our water at certain times of the year. (That is why we leave cleaning supplies in each bathroom so tubs can be cleaned after every use.) However, they would never be that way when a guest is to arrive… so, again, I do not know when someone would have had such a disappointing vacation. Especially since they wrote that they experienced “no donkey” or “no horse”, as donkeys and horses have been constant residents of the Ranch since before we began offering vacation rentals. We currently have a donkey and horse who both arrived, separately, in 1988

However, no matter when this might have been their experience; we work very hard to have each guest enjoy a delightful and satisfying experience with us, as many testimonials from other guests attest.

It is apparent that this guest did not, and we are sorry that we did not know of this sooner.

Should they contact us, in return, we would like to make it up to them by providing an opportunity for them to experience the Dent House property, with its present staff … as our guests.

We are always grateful that someone brings a problem to our awareness; it will only increase the vigilance with which we try to prepare for each new guest.

It would be helpful if I knew when they had stayed with us.

Their description of the “caretaker” was most distressing and was, indeed, out of a “horror movie” and yet, we feel it could not be our current caretaker, who has been with us for all the years that we have been open to the public and is a father of young children himself. This is a man who has received rave reviews from many guests over his time with us and such an outburst as described in this review would have been noticed by us at some time over the years, or at least reported to us by other guests.

It is apparent from such a description of the person’s demeanor and attitude toward young guests and their parents that it would be important for us to know for sure who that person might have been so that such an event never happens again.

I hope that your trip advisor will take advantage of our offer to be our guests, as an apology for their dreadful time at the Dent House.

Sincerely:
For the Dent House

Richard Colla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Dent House

Address: 4100 Matilija Canyon Road, at Matilija Canyon Ranch, Ojai, CA 9302
Location: United States > California > Ojai
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Ojai
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
The Dent House Hotel Ojai

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