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“go there with caution”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of The Oaks at Ojai

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The Oaks at Ojai
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Ojai
Certificate of Excellence
Santa Fe, NM
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“go there with caution”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2007

This was the first time I spent a week at a spa. I went by myself looking for rest and relaxation, exercise opportunities, and good healthy food that I didn't have to think about. I got some of the R&R, and the exercise and food were fine.

There are many exercise classes, both indoors and outside in the pretty pool area (look at the "sample" schedule on their website). They also have minimal but adequate cardio - 2 treadmills, a stepper, an elliptical, an upright and a recumbent stationary bike - plus some weight machines. They offer a range of walks and hikes every day, and there was an extra-fee 16-mile bike ride. The other comments about the classes are still applicable.

The usual range of spa and salon services was offered, and the massages I had were great.

The lunches and dinners were delicious, and there were alternatives available if you didn't care for the day's menu. Breakfasts were cold and boring, and service didn't begin until 7:45, which could be a problem for anyone with blood sugar issues.

It's a small, very casual and friendly place, and they have many return guests.

The facilities themselves are dated, but well-maintained and comfortable. There is an ongoing renovation process, which is a good thing. The rooms and "cottages" that have been renovated are beautiful. The rooms in the "lodge" that have not been renovated are small, with small bathrooms and tiny (18"!) sink areas. Beware of rooms 203 and 217A: those rooms are "split" doubles, which means that there are 2 adjacent rooms that share a bathroom, but the bathroom is on one side of one room, not between the rooms, so you have to walk through the middle room to get to the bathroom. 217A has its own door to the hall; 203 does not. The smaller room in 203 is tiny - not quite 8' by not quite 14' - and it doesn't even have a closet, let alone a comfortable chair and a table or desk. It also has only one light. They charge the same for this room as for any other shared double in the "lodge". I accepted this room because it was the only one available during the only week I could go, but I wish I hadn't. After one night in it I begged to get out, and they did have a cancellation in one of the cottages so I got a huge double room to myself at the shared double price for 3 nights. Then it was back to the tiny room for 2 more nights before there was another cancellation and I spent the last night in a lovely renovated room in the lodge. Staying in 3 different rooms in 7 nights, especially when 3 of those nights were in a tiny dark cell, was not relaxing or restful. If I had known what that room was really like I wouldn't have gone.

Having said that, my advice is to go, but to be very specific when booking your room, and confirm your specific room before you leave - they've been known to change a reservation without notice to the guest.

  • Liked — the friendliness of the other guests and the convenience of exercise opportunities and healthy food
  • Disliked — one room - see review
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank getmeouttaherenow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2007

I LOVED my experience at the OAKS. Yes, it is mostly women and older. However, I was 25 when I went there and felt perfectly comfortable interacting with everyone.

This is a great place to go if you want to get back in touch with eating well and fitness, as well as treat yourself to some spa activites like massages and facials. This is not a place to go if you want to sit out by the pool and drink margaritas, you will not find them there.

The website is great for preparing you for your visit, with a suggested list of things to pack, like a robe, workout clothes, etc.

I enjoyed every single class I took, and I felt comftable doing everything even though I am overweight and can't do every single thing. They tailor every class so that everyone from beginner to advanced can participate and still workout. The "gym" is small, but I never had a problem using the quipment I wanted to. Plus, the classes keep you plenty occupied, so you don't really need the gym.

I definitely recommend the pool classes and the morning walks.

  • Liked — Relaxing, Healthy Living
  • Disliked — Had to leave . . . :(
  • Stayed January 2003, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank peggy1209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2007

My mom and I recently celebrated her 61st birthday with a three day weekend to the Oaks at Ojai and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to balance out some of the hard work and stress we both experience so often in our daily lives. She is a lawyer works hard to maintain a sole practice. Like so many women I know, we both neglect ourselves to the point of exhaustion at times. The food and exercise program at the Oaks was so great because it reconnected us with all things moderate and healthful. The meals were delicious and we both appreciated the weight-wise portions. We both loved the stretching and yoga classes and vowed to do it every day at home. The NIA exercise class was the most fun and we've both made efforts to find classes in our own towns. You must try the Watsu spa treatment. It was truly the most amazing experience in relaxation I've ever encountered. Be prepared to go off site for this and totally surrender yourself to a perfect stranger (and a highly trained, specialized therapist in this treatment). I was picked up at the Oaks by the therapist and taken to her home nearby, where she had a heated Watsu pool in her back yard. She was an amazing guide through this treatment and I felt like I made a friend, of sorts, through the process. Be aware that the Oaks is a very down-scale, low-frills reatreat. It's clean and tidy, well-groomed and cozy. But if you're looking for a luxury spa, or concierge and room service, this isn't the place for you. But we found the down-to-earth, comfy and casual vibe perfect for what we were looking for and both left a little lighter in both mind and body. We look forward to our next mother-daughter visit to the Oaks.

  • Liked — Comfy beds and large bathroom.
  • Disliked — No internet connectivity
  • Stayed January 2003
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank sje2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2007

Please be aware that this 'inn' is NOT a resort in the sense of a relaxing, comfortable hotel with luxury spa facilities and amenities...far from it! This place looks like it has not been renovated since the 70s - it has the look, feel and smell of a youth hostel with NO amenities at all in the actual rooms, a 'gym' which is really a few machines placed IN THE LOBBY, and some dark, dismal massage rooms with furnishings we were afraid to touch for sanitary reasons. The bed linens were motel quality, and there was a wall dispenser of Softsoap in the shower! Ew.
Also, This is billed as a health spa - but it's really a low-end weight loss hotel for (mostly older) women, and they don't serve any normal food. It's a monitored, scheduled menu, with no sugar, caffeine or white flour available. AND they throw out any food you keep in your room! So, if you don't know this, you're out of luck if you're hungry! Not for a 'vacation' destination by any means. Luckily, we moved to The Ojai Valley inn & Spa - a true luxury property with a real spa and gorgeous rooms. (yes, it cost more but the relative cost was worth it)

  • Liked — nothing
  • Disliked — quality of all furnishings, room and smell
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
15 Thank cattroxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level Contributor
83 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2007

Recently spent one night at the Oaks during a short touring vacation of the Ojai/Ventura area.

Did not book in advance so received a 'cottage in the garden' at walk in rate of $120.00. There was a most strange booking in system - at the Reception we were told to go to the office; at the office we were told to go to Reception ?? All our credit card information was written down by hand and then we were told to wait while it was "put into the computer"

The cottage room proved to be a room in a single-level block of 4 rooms. I noticed that across the way was a block of 3 rooms in adobe style so they may be the updated ones; ours certainly was not. The block probably dated from the 70's and was in need of fresh paint and repair work. Room had 2 beds, a stained armchair, TV in worn armoir and small table and 2 dining chairs. All were old and tired. Decor was brown and beige. The bathroom was the oldest I have ever been in. The bed was comfortable and as hubby said "it will do for one night" However we learned at 12 midnight that there was no soundproofing when our neighbours came in. They were not shouting or being particularly noisy but we heard every word. It was only when we started to talk rather energetically that they realised their conversations were being overheard and quietened down. How guests stay here for a spa vacation is beyond me. The inclusive breakfast comprised either shredded wheat or oatmeal with fat free milk, slices of pineapple with (in my case) slightly mouldy grapes and heavy duty muffins. I understand that the rooms in the main building have been updated but the majority of the resort is old and well passed its sellby date. We also found parking difficult and the streets on both sides of this establishment are very noisy.

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Disliked — All of it
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Jennyx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bothell, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2007

Rude front desk staff except for Pamela and Tracy.
NO Customer service at all.
Be sure to ask questions but that may not matter. I will tell you the staff told me that service were included in our stay. So I booked two but when we checked out I was surprised to see the charges on my bill. When I questioned the charges all they would say was “you should have known”. But when I said the staff member told me they were included and the staff member even admitted she said that and they still would not take off the charges. Oh well so much for customer service.

The food was quite good as far as low cal low fat food goes.
The workout classes were great (pool, mind and body, stretching, hula, dance, and the ball classes) I wish they would put some time to train the front desk staff to be as customer service oriented as the workout staff. The workout staff will stay after class to answer any questions you might have about the exercises.

We had a great time playing Bingo with Cherie one of the cooks. Cherie is so into I love Lucy and has great trivia questions during bingo. BINGO is a must.

  • Liked — All workout staff
  • Disliked — The front desk manager was rude you would think the owners would try and educate this staff member
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank dalibord
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2007

I have never written a review before, but I just returned from my stay there and felt compelled to post something now. My girlfriends and I wanted a relaxing vacation and this was NOT it. Some things that we were unaware of are 1. It's predominantly women clientele; 2. The age range skews slightly older; 3. The menu varies but is actually quite good; 4. There are no robes or slippers for the spa or the pool or anything. Unfortunately, these discoveries do not outweigh the fact that we are all returning from our vacation feeling violated and very much not relaxed! Long story short, my car was broken into on the property in the middle of the night. Although the on-site manager was horrified that this could occur, the overall staff there was NOT helpful in dealing with the aftermath. In fact, one staff member asked if he could go on break before helping us deal with the broken glass and cleanup. Another staff member asked that I not use my cell phone to call for help since it is a cell free property. When we requested a late check out so we could deal with the repercussions of the incident, we were told that we could store our stuff in the day spa rather than have the extra hour (ultimately we were allowed longer time because the next guest wasn't due until the next day, but it was still appalling to hear considering the break-in occurred on their property). We were not offered compensation, if anything, we felt like we were being asked to leave quietly so other guests would not be alerted to the vandalism. As a small sidenote, after hanging my almost-dried swimsuit in the shower overnight, we returned back to the room after breakfast, we found that the housekeeping staff cleaned the shower and did not work around the hanging suit. Instead, the suit was drenched and stained with some sort of chemical leaving it a disgusting orange and therefore unwearable (so who knows what they are using to clean each room -- beware!). So if you do decide to go to this resort, PLEASE bring more than one suit and more importantly, bring a club or some sort of security device for your car. Also request that the hotel add security to the property as there are several parking lots which are small, unlit and VERY unsafe. Don't say you weren't warned...

  • Liked — the classes and activities offered
  • Disliked — No Safety
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank SG1Day
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Oaks at Ojai

Property: The Oaks at Ojai
Address: 122 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023-3296
Location: United States > California > Ojai
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 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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