In March, we began an eight day road trip to the Central Coast by driving down to Ojai on Friday, March 19th. Our plan was to begin the trip with visits to both Santa Maria and Anacapa islands in the Channel Islands National Park.
For our Channel Islands visits, we chose to stay in Ojai since we would be taking boat trips out of both Ventura and Oxnard Harbors. We chose to stay at the Ojai Valley Inn. This is a magnificent AAA 5 star resort right at the entrance to Ojai if coming from Route 33.
Although this is a beautiful property, in retrospect it was not the best location for what we were doing. For one thing, they put us in a very remote building out on the golf course. It was located about a fifth of a mile from the nearest parking lot. From the time we would leave our room, it would take almost 20 minutes to get on the highway. If we had known this, we would have gone shopping for the next day's lunch before checking in. After checking in, being driven to our room by the bellman, then leaving the hotel to find a market and returning, it was dark before we could begin exploring the hotel grounds.
The following morning, we had to leave before sunrise in order to get to Island Packers at 7:15 for check-in and then we got back to the hotel that evening after dark since we decided to have dinner at Andria's in Ventura Harbor. So, by Sunday morning, we had spent two nights at the hotel and hadn't really seen any of it.
We woke up Sunday morning and found Ojai to be in the midst of a massive Pacific storm. Wind and rain pummeled our hotel. There were brown rivers running down the fairways on the golf course. Limbs had been blown off trees and some smaller trees had been uprooted. Since our island trip had already been cancelled, we decided to make the most of the day and head over to Simi Valley and visit the Ronald Reagan Library. We felt that would be a good destination on a rainy day. We put on our rain coats and grabbed the furnished room umbrellas and made the trek to our car in the lower parking lot. We didn't see anyone on the way to our car. In fact, since being delivered to our room by the bellman on Friday, we had not seen a single soul in our part of the hotel grounds and only a few on the driveways as we headed out of the resort.
When we returned from Simi Valley later that evening, the place was still a ghost town and we waded our way back to our room along the cart paths rather than cut through the grassy areas which were totally saturated with water.
We still had not seen any of the restaurants within the resort. It was raining so bad, we decided to order room service if someone was willing to come out to our remote cluster of units. The room service menu is essentially the same as that of the Maravilla Restaurant. We ordered the braised short ribs and the chicken "under a brick". Both were excellent and were delivered to our table still hot from the kitchen. We also enjoyed a nice bottle of Ojai Vineyard Syrah.
The next morning was crystal clear although a little on the cool side. We were able to walk around the resort and see the pools and common areas. There were workers all over cleaning up the debris and mess from the storm and flooding that occurred.
What a place! This is one of the most beautiful hotels I have seen in the US. The pools are beautiful. The gardens are magnificent. The golf course looks quite impressive. We are already looking forward to a return visit. But, maybe not in the winter. And, we won't leave the property next time.