I recently spent two nights at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa hotel. We were visiting Ojai for the music festival but the Inn was definitely the highlight of the trip and a pleasant surprise.
The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is a large SPRAWLING resort-style, five star hotel that caters to wedding goers (I believe there were 3 while we were there), golfers and families with children. The overall property is not "new" but has been renovated and upgraded over the years. It is by far the nicest place to stay in Ojai.
It reminded me very much of the Bacara Resort near Santa Barbara (about 45 min away). I liked the Ojai Valley Inn much better despite the fact that the Bacara was newer and had an ocean front location. Despite the fact there were so many weddings, I was surprised at how well the place operated despite all of the weddings going on - it appears they have the right levels of staffing to serve those of us who are NOT there for a wedding. I appreciate and admire the way this place is run - if you didn't see all of the overflow parking you wouldn't even know that there were so many different events going on.
The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is a quick walk to the quaint downtown area. We walked everywhere and only took 15-20 minutes to get to a bunch of great restaurants and one (crazy) bar in Ojai. Basically you walk to the entrance of the property and near the tennis courts is a sign for the hiking trail. This is a walk/bike trail and goes directly to downtown - you can't get lost. Note - if you are walking back at night bring a flashlight (or have an app on your phone ready as it gets dark!). We also drove to a great and challenging hike (horn canyon) near a school that the concierge directed us to.
Check in was smooth and the young woman who helped us out was super friendly. We were given an upgrade to a Junior Suite near the adult pool. Parking is far from the rooms so plan to use the valets.
GETTING AROUND THE RESORT
The resort consists of numerous buildings with various levels and views. I still can't get my head around all of it - it's a good thing they provide a map! I enjoyed walking around the property and going up and down all of the stairs, etc. Be sure to check out the various pools and the large bird cage was interesting. They also had some small bites at the adult pool before dinner.
The room was surprisingly up to date and had a modern, upscale feel. (I didn't expect this) The blue azul colors in the room gave everything a clean feel and the bed, pillows and bedding were all excellent and California modern. The bathroom was done in a mexican tile (not my favorite finish) but it worked with the other blue and white colors in the room. The toiletries were of a high quality and there was a separate soaking tub and shower (shower in with the toilet in a separate space). I liked that there was a laundry basket for dirty towels. We requested a refrigerator and it was complimentary and received promptly.
We enjoyed lunch at one of the pools and it was honestly incredible. We split the heirloom tomato salad and a black bean burger with sweet potato fries. Both were excellent but the Tomato Salad was a work of art. Sitting on a basil-cream puree were colorful and perfect chunks of heirloom tomatoes. On top of that was some amazing burrata and then decorated in a weave were some pickled onions. Truly delicious - we have since tried (and failed) to recreate this at home. We also had breakfast at the main restaurant and enjoyed that as well. We experienced excellent service everywhere we went.
We had room service breakfast which was expensive and delicious.
The resort is large. I liked walking around but if it's ever an issue there are tons of valets driving golf carts around. They make a point of stopping if they see you walking and are quick to offer a ride. One thing to keep in mind, if there are a lot of wedding guests parking will quickly disappear and it's difficult for the valet team to keep up. I imagine this would be at its worst on a Saturday night.
We didn't use the spa but it looked nice and appeared well staffed. The gym was very nice (downstairs from the spa), was well equipped with a decent amount of free weights and resistance training equipment for a hotel
In all honesty, before the trip I wasn't that excited to go to Ojai. But after staying at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, I could honestly go once a year for a few days if I knew I was staying here. It's a relaxing, picturesque place to stay and after walking by some of the other hotels, the only "nice" place to stay. (some of the other hotels we walked by looked downright scary). Highly recommended - visiting this resort is a good excuse to spend a few nights in Ojai.