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“very unprofessional experience” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Oaks at Ojai

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The Oaks at Ojai
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122 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Ojai
Howell Michigan
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“very unprofessional experience”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2012

i was very dissapointed with the staff with inappropriate comments and unprofessional behavior. i stayed almost 11 days and by day 8-9 i was researching other places to stay. since i was on vacation and wanted to turn a uncomfortable situation into a positive one. i would not consider this the most welcoming environment for everyone. also the majority of the clients are 60 and up. there are numerous ways i felt this was not an inclusive experience.

the food is excellent and there are a few outstanding staff members and my massages were wonderful. the town of ojai is charming and the facility itself is very nice.

im an esthetician and worked in high end spas for years and was very surprised by my
experience. my previous background is in management and its painfully obvious that there needs to be some changes. i would never return to the oaks, or ever recommend it to anyone...there are alot of options out there.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, December 19, 2012
We did try hard for this guest - unfortunately we weren't quite able to meet all of her expectations. We hope she finds a spa that suits her better!
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117 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Clara, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

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.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, December 19, 2012
We're really sorry to hear that we missed the mark for this guest. True, at times, the average guest's age may range older - but, we find that the demographic is skewing younger all the time. We continue to work on our customer service and hope that we'll have another chance to wow this guest in the future.
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northern california
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

The Oaks in Ojai is not your typical spa. While some people might complain about the lack of decor, others return year after year to experience a different type of spa. Most spas offer a luxury resort setting, with spa services. When I stayed at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, it was beautiful, but quite boring. Most people go there with a significant other, and enjoy a few spa services. At the Oaks, I enjoyed a wonderful female bonding experience. Many people go on their own, or with a girlfriend. Meals are included, and the dining experience is family-style. I met so many wonderful people, each with their own story. Classes are full, fun, and social. They even have evening events, such as bingo or movie night. The town is just steps from your door, so you can enjoy shopping or the wine bars by foot. I cannot compare this spa to any other. It is economical, about half the cost of the luxury spas. It offers a unique spa experience, and I go twice a year for a week. I have met one of my best friends there, and each time I go, I have an adventure of some sort.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
I am so glad that you find The Oaks at Ojai a good fit for your healthy travel needs! I love how you describe us! I look forward to sharing your review with the staff! Do let me know if there's anything special we can plan for your next visit! Healthy regards, Elizabeth@oaksspa.com
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Florida
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

We did a spa day here. I found the property to be run down, with many unpleasant staff members. But, I will say that we did spa days at several different locations and while the facial here was rushed, the massage was the best I had in Ojai.

Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, October 8, 2012
Thanks so much for sharing your experience at The Oaks. We DO have a great massage staff! :-) Our historic property is always in a state of upgrade, and since your Sept 2011 visit, we had a major upgrade/restoration on our Lobby! Sorry to hear that our staff didn't wow you...usually we get raves about our warm and friendly staff. The next time you're in Ojai, I hope you will stop in to have a look at our upgrades!
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Pasadena, California
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

My daughter and I met a few days ago at the Oaks for a short get-together and jump start on a fitness routine. This was part of the Oaks mother/daughter September days - they offer two more mother/daughter sessions in January and May each year. This was our first time at the Oaks but I gather that because of all the daughters there this week (there were lots that I saw, ranging in age from 18 to 50) the average age of the attendees is younger and the athletic challenge of the classes and hikes is higher than usual. So if you want vigorous activity, this would be a good week to attend even if you don't have either a mother or daughter to accompany you.

If you don't have a mother or daughter or friend to go with, don't be worried about going to the Oaks alone. The other clients there were very friendly and always welcomed others to join them at their meal table or socializing.

My daughter and I shared an Intermediate Double room in the main hotel. It is one of their less expensive rooms but was adequate for us. The hotel building is very old (I think built in 1918) but appears to have been renovated very recently. Everything in our room was quite new looking with the exception of the bathtub and the shower plumbing which did not work very well. While they were doing the renovation, they should also have renovated the showers. The windows were brand new and worked well. There was a modern air- conditioner in the room that worked very well. Unfortunately, there were no screens on the balcony doors and my daughter got a couple of mosquito bites outdoors, so we kept the doors shut at night and used the air-conditioner all night. We also fronted the main street so if we had left the balcony doors open street noise might have been a problem. But with the A/C turned on, the quiet steady A/C noise masked any other sounds that might have otherwise been audible. Aside from the elderly bathtub & shower plumbing, my only complaint is that the mattress was too soft and felt elderly. As a result, I did not sleep as well as I otherwise might have.

Though the website says that Intermediate Double rooms have a desk, ours did not. But at no time did we ever have the desire or necessity to sit at a desk so it was not an issue for us. If you need to do some work and want to work in your room, be sure to ask about that in advance. I saw some people working in the informal dining room. Free wifi worked well in our room as well as in the public rooms.

The fitness room was somewhat dated. The floor felt flimsy and was carpeted. At home in Pasadena, I belong to a very modern gym so I am using that for comparison. I have never before seen a carpeted floor in gym. For their next renovation, I would hope that the Oaks would install a new wooden floor in the Coral Spa room which would make it look and feel much better to me and make it more suitable for a gym.

Finally, as I left and was paying my bill, I noticed that the supposedly 40% discount for the daughter's rate, was only 25% on my bill. I immediately pointed this mistake out to the clerk and it was promptly changed to my satisfaction. I do not believe that this was intentional, but clearly the billing needs to have some attention paid to it. Be careful to check your bill for mistakes.

Room Tip: We thought our Intermediate Double room in the old hotel was quite nice. Ours had been recently reno...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, October 8, 2012
Joyce, Wow...I am so impressed with your in-depth review! Thanks for pointing out so many of the unique nuances of a spa vacation at The Oaks! Your comment about our "somewhat dated" fitness room is on our mind too, in fact, we're upgrading it in Dec 2012, adding a beautiful new wooden floor! Sorry to hear we made an error with your bill - and your'e right, it was not intentional!

Is there anything special we can plan for your next visit? Let me know! elizabeth@oaksspa.com
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Anaheim, California
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

If you're looking for some polished & fancy spa, I'd look elsewhere...but if you are looking for a wonderfully comfortable & accepting environment where you can really get focused on getting back on track to making healthy choices - this is the place! Not to mention it's in the center of the charming town of Ojai which offers diverse shops and art galleries.
The Oaks is a bit rustic which adds to it's charm...there is nothing pretentious here. The staff is very welcoming and after staying for 16 nights - it's as if they are old friends. I met a diverse group of women (men are welcome - but it was 99% women during my stay) and we have exchanged contact information & plan to keep in touch and hopefully visit the Oaks in the future at the same time!
The Oaks serves an 11-1200 calorie per day menu...it is unbelievably good! Stuffed portobello mushrooms, enchilada verde, eggplant cannelloni to name just a few favorites. I have brought home several of the cook books and am making my "healthy shopping list" from my favorite items.
There are 12-15 classes offered throughout the day at all different levels of fitness -- there is truly something for everyone. Plus you can enjoy a spa service - I had 4 massages - 2 of which were the amazing hot rock massage...BLISS.
The Oaks is an older property & its not fancy - and of course it's not without issues - pool chairs need replacing, the beautiful foliage is overgrown & the WIFI service is insufficient & in desperate need of upgrade but nothing earth shattering & certainly nothing that would keep me from returning - hopefully multiple times in the future.
After my stay at The Oaks, I feel better - mind - body & spirit ...not to mention that I lost weight. I'm now an Oaks Believer!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
The entire staff has a big smile after reading your revue! I am so glad that The Oaks was a good fit for you - you seem to see us as I see us! We look forward to having another opportunity to serve you - and are so proud of your accomplishments here! May you keep your healthy spa glow for a long long time! Thank you for taking time to share your experience. Do send me a note when you're ready to return...we'll plan your favorite activities just for you! elizabeth@oaksspa.com
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Vancouver, Washington
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

I have visited the Oak 3 times over the past 10 years. I have always been impressed with the front desk staff and general management always listen and try to help as best as possible. The fitness teachers are all good and some are great. It's a small spa so not all trainers are full time. You won't always get individual attention in your workout classes like you do at high end spas and private clubs. Some of the instructors used the class time for their own workout instead of walking around the room making sure we were doing our moves correctly. It's a laid back spa and some clients like that. What is not mentioned in these reviews which I think everyone should know is that the small private rooms in the main building are not renovated to the level of the Casitas. The room accommodations are so different between the main building and the casitas it's like having two different spa experiences.. The last time I visited 4 years ago I was told the main building rooms would be renovated. My small room still had a stained chair, old carpet, cheap pillow, a motel six type bedspread and "free" promotional samples for the soap and hair care from large companies. While visiting a friend in a Casita, I was surprised to see quality bedding, carpet, high end soap etc. It's unfortunate that the entire Spa can not offer the same quality in all size rooms. While using the indoor hot tub a large piece of tile on the seat was chipped out and I scraped my skin on it. It was a huge area missing-yet no warning sign or attempt of repair was there. There were other spa areas that needed attention but this was a safety issue that no one paid attention to. The food is average. A few meals were very good but only a few. I tried to not mind it too much, but the last night was the last meal for me at this spa-an enchilada that was filled with some sort of goo that did not resemble any food group. That was the end for me. I love the location, appreciate the hard working help, but I don't get enough value out of staying in the main building and if I am going to $400.00 a night for a Casita I can go to a first class spa where all the food and training is first class. I think this Spa is still a diamond in the rough and needs some attention from the owners.

Room Tip: stay on the south side, or in a Casita.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OaksSpa, Guest Relations Manager at The Oaks at Ojai, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Thanks for sharing your experience here. I'm very sorry to hear that we missed the mark in so many ways for you. Indeed, the differences between our many room types/prices is broad! I'm glad you found some of the food fine...and I'm still investigating the goo (aka tofu enchilada filling) you mentioned! I'm thrilled to report that the hot tub tile has been smoothly repaired! We will continue to strive for improvement at The Oaks at Ojai - and I'm very pleased to have your input!
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Additional Information about The Oaks at Ojai

Address: 122 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023
Location: United States > California > Ojai
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Ojai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 42
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

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