TIP: If you are under 70 -or- accustomed to California food, then this isn't your place. (I wish I had known this)
If you are interested in the details, please read on...
The tip above is a very true assessment. My mom and I just were not the target market for this place. I read many reviews...here on yelp, on trip advisor, and on spa finder. I was very clear that it was not a foo-foo place, that you plan out your days on your own, and that the meals were low-cal and no-salt. That you weren't lavished with free robes and fireplaces in your room. I was okay with that, and actually appreciated that.
However, upon arrival, this is how it went for us...
Customer service was slow, didn't understand our questions, and just felt not organized. I asked two questions, how do the meals work and how do we plan out our exercise? Instead of explaining, she told us that we needed to go on the orientation at 5:30.
We had about an hour, so we took the time to get our luggage into our room and get settled. We paid more for the renovated cottage. I just have to wonder what the non-renovated rooms are like. We had a nice private courtyard with a fountain and chairs, but there was no flowers or any vegetation in the courtyard. It just seemed plain and boring. The room was plain and boring as well with old curtains that looked like wedding dress material and the sheets were just as old (plus a lime green blanket that felt like I was at grandma's house). The bed's springs sprung and made noise as you sat on the bed - and could feel while sleeping.
HUH? Wait, am I in college again with this orientation? So, at 5:30, my mom and I met several other ladies in front of the fireplace in the lobby at 5:30, took a 5 minute tour around the grounds. After we finished, I asked where the water was (we are exercising all day), and they said there are two water places: one by the pool and one in this breakfast area. That if you didn't bring your own water bottle, you can use a plastic party cup, write your name on it, and leave it on a tray when you are done.
During the tour, we also went by the "Full Service Salon" that hadn't been updated for at least 25 years.
At this point, I had decided there is no way we are staying the full 4 nights as reserved because the Oaks certainly was geared towards the senior customer (the way they talked to us, etc was like we were in kindergarten), and went to the front desk to do the following. Change our length of stay, get a robe ($30 deposit), book our spa appointments, and ask for our food outside. There was only one person at the desk (same as before), and she was slow, and the line was piling up. Finally the manager showed up to help the line.
Now, let's talk about the food. I get it, it's healthy living. A healthy start of exercise, relaxation, and food. But, the food is the worst thing about this place. You can eat low-cal, low-fat, and no-salt and still eat great tasting creative food...especially in California where agriculture is abundant. Let's get in the 21st century, quinoa, fresh veggies, fresh herbs...there is no way that there is enough nutrients in this food. You have to meet with someone to get "athlete's portions". I didn't need more, I needed quality food. Eating healthy is not expensive, and I am wondering what my $250/day was paying for. $500/night per room?
I hope the fitness instructors and spa therapists are happy there as this was the best part of the experience for us. We loved the morning stretch at 9am and the water aerobics classes, and both of us agreed that our spa therapists (facial and massage) were one of the best we have had. It may be a good idea to spend a long day there...just don't eat your meals or stay overnight.
The grounds are also nice, the building and lobby well-kept.
All in all...again, the 2-stars are simply because a 36 year old professional that is used to eating seasonal fresh vegetables, quinoa, barley, and fresh ingredients is not their client.
Also, don't plan on having plans before you get there. You can't see a fitness schedule or book spa appointments. You are left to dealing with the front desk staff to do these things - last tip: morning staff is great. Stop by the front desk in the morning to sign up for your stuff then.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the all inclusive program of: Up to 16 exercise classes and fitness activities per day; Our 1,000 calorie-a-day spa cuisine food plan; Massage, facial, watsu, wellness services and more. Interesting evening programs. A visit to The Oaks is more than a spa vacation - it's a life affirming experience. The Oaks is mostly women who get a chance to leave the designer sweats at home; this is a place where you can let your hair down and take in all the positive, nurturing elements of a healthy lifestyle...from nutrition, to exercise, to attitude. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Oaks At Ojai Hotel Ojai
- The Oaks Ojai
- The Oaks Hotel Ojai