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“There Are Better Health Resorts”
Review of The Oaks at Ojai

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The Oaks at Ojai
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Ojai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 8, 2006

My boyfriend and I spent two nights at The Oaks in January. Fortunately, staying at this place was his idea. Believe the other reviews: this place is not man friendly. That said, I was looking forward to kick starting my workout regimen for the new year.

There are other problems, however. Their reservation system seemed out of whack. First we planned to stay four nights knowing that we would have to move to another room after the first two nights. (We made our plans rather last minute.) Toward the end of the second day, my boyfriend stopped to talk to the MOD (manager on duty, that they're always blathering about) and she said we could stay another night in the room we had. That information seemed to be in error and we were pretty much booted out the next morning.

The room we had was very nice but it was obviously one of the three newer cottages. The others looked pretty dismal ... at least from the outside. The price of the room we had was high and so makes their claim of "affordable" not so accurate.

The facilites are pretty minimal. There is one "gym" and if they are fully booked it gets very crowded for the popular morning "Mind/Body Awareness" and afternoon "Stretch Relaxation." The "weight room" is just the hall and the spa area quite small. The tub in our room was about the same size as the one in the spa!

The classes are definitely not for those looking for a good sweat. The schedule is heavy on Yoga and low impact work. There is one cardio class per day. Also, they must communicate some of the activities via smoke signal or something we weren't clued in to. The bike tours were not mentioned to us when we checked in and therefore the one scheduled during our stay was full by the time we knew about it. There was also an 8am water aerobics class I walked by one morning but never saw anything about it in the schedule.

Beware, there is not enough equipment. I was going to take the 'cardio hoops' but there were not enough hoops. In the muscle conditioning class there were not enough step risers for everyone to have a bench to lay on.

The food is OK. As someone else pointed out, you are trying to lose weight. And with this food, that's not so hard to do. They were full when we were there and the dining room gets very crowded and loud. They say that meals are served for an hour but if you're not there within the first 20 minutes there's hardly a place to sit.

I don't think the prices at the Oaks are low enough to warrant the run down aspect of the cottages (screens falling out, etc.), the lack of equipment or the lackadaisical attitude of the front desk/management staff. If you're in relatively good shape (I'm 50 and could lose 15 pounds) you won't get enough of a workout, or a large offering of classes.

The day we left we went over to the Ojai Valley Inn had a lovely lunch and felt like we'd been let out of jail!!

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank WhiteDahlia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 - 184 of 186 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles
111
Reviewed January 8, 2006

Expect dated facilities and unresponsive service from the Oaks at Ojai, but lots of fitness classes, nice guests, and good food.

The service was not what you'd expect from a first class resort charging first class resort rates. The other guests were very friendly and unassuming, but the staff was unresponsive and borderline rude. As an example, the electricity went out in our room during our stay. They did give us keys to another room to stay in, but did not offer us a bellman to help us move, did not offer us a flashlight to help us find our things in the room (it was evening), nor did they offer us an umbrella (the rooms are outside and it was pouring rain). Then, when we entered the new room, the bathroom had not been cleaned from the prior guest. This is only one example. They were also rude at check-in, and other times that we approached the front desk.

The facilities were very dated. It definitely looks like a throwback to the 1980's. The rooms were fine, but not first class.


What is nice about this place is that it does have a very friendly clientele and the food is healthy and good. There are also a lot of fitness classes to join.

In general, we were very diappointed with the experience, and will not be coming back.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2005

My girlfriend and I spent 3 days at the Oaks recently, and loved it. Even just this short stay gave us a great chance to unwind and de-stress. The primarily female clientele spent their days in workout gear, lounging by the pool and reading, or having spa treatments. There were very few men staying at the Oaks when I was there. Many solo female travelers. The Oaks is very casual, including at meals. My friend and I are both quite fit and active, and we were looking forward to lots of intense workouts. That's not quite what the Oaks is designed around, however. Most guests appear to be there to jumpstart a diet or fitness regimen, and the classes are primarily geared for them. Of course, it's difficult to have a class with absolute beginners as well as advanced students, and the Oaks did their best to accomodate all levels. We did take wonderful strenuous long mountain hikes in the mornings (they also have "brisk walks" and "strolls" for those who wish a more leisurely pace), followed by stretching classes, cardio (step and kickboxing) classes, and a fun belly dancing class. The stretch yoga class in the afternoon is quite relaxing. All staff at the Oaks were polite, helpful, and friendly. I had the opportunity to visit the on-site nurse about an issue I was having, and she was quite friendly, and took a holistic approach to my issue. The food was plentiful (something is offered about every 3 hours) and just wonderful. 1000 calories a day, primarily veggies and fruit - no sugar, white flour, salt, pop, alcohol, etc. I was never overly hungry. You are given the opportunity to choose an alternate selection for your lunch or evening meal, if you don't care for the selection offered. The Oaks also offers classes and other activities to its clientele - we watched a movie and had airpopped popcorn one evening, played Bingo, and sat in on an appetizers class. We stayed in one of the "casitas" - it was billed as a garden/pool view, but the reality was that we looked out onto a fence which abutted a busy street (car noise at night). I'd suggest that you consider staying in the main building, get a suite, or ensure that your casita is actually in the garden. The rooms are plain and simple - but you'll probably find that you're not spending much time in there, anyway. The water pressure is "iffy" - sometimes it's great, other times it fizzles out. The Oaks has a nice steamroom, indoor and outdoor jacuzzi tubs, and a serviceable outdoor pool. Spa services are the same that you see elsewhere (massage, pedicures, scalp massage etc.), and I heard others give rave reviews, although I did not myself have any of the spa services. Ojai itself is lovely - beautiful gardens, quaint homes, mountain views. The people were all welcoming and friendly, too. I think it would be almost impossible NOT to relax and destress during a stay at the Oaks!

  • Stayed: April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16  Thank tarapup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2005

On the plus side, the prices for the treatments were very affordable. In fact despite the considerable difference in the cost of living, the prices for services there were as inexpensive as they are in the Midwest. Also, the people were very caring--even if it was a little stressful to be lectured about minimizing stress in my life during my massage! :) Also, if you are intimidated by going to a spa, this is definitely not a place where you have to have the perfect body. It is primarily a health spa dedicated to helping people learn to exericise, eat well, and achieve a healthy body weight. People of all shapes and sizes were there, so nobody had to feel funny wearing a swim suit at the pool.

My main problem with the Oaks is that it was not very relaxing. My friends and I planned a spa day there as a part of a much needed vacation. Much is said about the fact that Ojai was the location for Shangri La in the film Lost Horizon. It is described as a relaxing town in a beautiful setting filled with art galleries and quaint shops. In reality, it was a very busy (small) town, with a lot of traffic. The pictures on The Oaks website make it seem like it is in a secluded setting just outside of this peaceful town. In fact, it is on the main street downtown, which is also a highway. As we entered, a truck roared by and the jackhammers pounded in the new section just past the reception desk. The various desk attendants while friendly, were very disorganized, and this made for a stressful beginning and end to a much anticipated "Day of Relaxation." The interior of the building itself reminded me a lot of some lodges at summer camp. (Perhaps the newly constructed wing will be more exciting?) The"Sanctuary" area with jacuzzi, steam room, etc. was actually just a glorified locker room. The pretty tiles by the jacuzzi made for great photo opportunities, but the people constantly walking through from the exercise classes you could hear in the room next door took away from the peaceful quality. In fact, since I kept running into people in jogging suits and almost no one doing spa activities, I felt a lot like I was trying to have a "spa day" at my local YMCA. Also, I had to walk from the locker room through the lobby, past the reception desk and front door to each treatment. Since the oversized robe covered me well, I eventually decided to not care how weird that was. Also, we paid extra for the deluxe package that included special beauty products. That was a MAJOR disappointment. They were really only little samples that you could get for free from various companies--Oil of Olay, a sample size of discount store shampoo, sample sized toothpaste, etc.--in a plastic bag filled with ads. They could have done so much more by getting a few sample sizes of high quality spa products, putting it in a nice basket/cellohane with a ribbon, etc. and just made it feel like we were being pampered.

There is an excellent spa in Ojai (Ojai Valley Inn & Spa) that is significantly more expensive--which is why we didn't choose it to begin with--but I found out later that for about $40 you can use their facilities for the day. The grounds and the building are absolutely beautiful. I actually think I would have been more relaxed after spending $40 to wander their grounds and swim in their pool than I would have after spending almost $200 on spa treatments at the Oaks.

23  Thank Lily318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2004

Just returned from my first stay at the Oaks, it won't be my last! I had 5 glorious nights there and left feeling better than ever. The food was marvelous, can't believe it was so lo-cal. You can elect to eat more if you choose, but I didn't need to as the food is so delicious and well presented. The staff is just super, made you feel so welcome and can accomodate any fitness level. Such a nurturing environment and really empowering too. I took classes and did things I never thought I could do! It served as a real jumpstart to get me back on track. I lost 3lbs and a full size in just 5 days, but I stayed very busy and took full advantage of the program. All the guests were friendly and I bonded with many. The hikes are challenging and the walks are beautiful. The rooms are pretty basic but I was never there except to shower and crawl into bed exhausted from all the exercise! I simply can't wait to go back, it was like camp or sorority house or whatever, but as a solo traveler- I felt immediately at home.

12  Thank CarmelCW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
421
Reviewed August 14, 2004

I haven't personally been to this spa, but have been the the sister spa "The Palms at Palm Springs". From others that have been to both, I understand they are very similar in food and exercise, but the Oaks has alot more "younger" activities like mountain bike rides.

I would never bring men to this spa as the others have said. The night classes are mostly geared to women who want to make craft projects. You'll find a lot of guests stay here for a month stay.

I don't think the food is bad, in fact, I was quite amazed at how you can actually live on a 1,000 calorie diet. I am always inspired when I leave because I realize how much we eat that we truly don't need. They do give you a small desert too! Breakfast is the best.

After making plans for our 3rd return trip here, I understand "The Palms" has been sold and is under new management. I thought it would be worth mentioning since these two facilities were always run by a long time owner.

I am not terribly overweight and in pretty good shape, and I have never found the classes to be not challenging for me. Most start the day with a 5 mile walk (in palm springs its uphill!) and the aerobics and yoga/streching have always left me energized.

Wish I had more money to go every 3-4 months to renew.

13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles
117
Reviewed May 19, 2004

The spa is definitely geared toward women. One of my hiking buddies was one of the few men. He had a blast and was planning to return.
I lost 8 inches and 4.75 lbs in 10 days but I worked out, worked out hard. I think of the spa as summer camp for women. You can try different classes, or just relaxed. The food is great. The only time I was hungry is when I missed a snack period.
If you want to work out at high level impact, pick up the 10 lb weights or add a step to the platform or jump a little higher. If you want to keep both feet on the ground, the spa is for you. Favorite classes- hikes, belly dances, aqua classes and nap yoga (4pm stretch and relax yoga). Why did I rename it, someone always falls asleep... how about that for relaxing. I have been there twice and I will go back.

17  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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

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: $186 - $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Oaks at Ojai 3*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It’s not just what you lose. It’s what you gain. THE OAKS AT OJAI EXPERIENCE The women who choose the Oaks at Ojai year after year are wise enough to understand what really matters. Weight loss, yes. Fun fitness and healthy delicious meals, of course. Outstanding spa treatments, absolutely. But as the only spa retreat in the US designed for women over 40, this is a place that offers more. A casual, supportive environment. Peace and solitude. Laughter and friendship. All-inclusive affordability. Plus, everything you need to develop smart, sustainable habits. Welcome to the Oaks at Ojai. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Oaks At Ojai Hotel Ojai
The Oaks Ojai
The Oaks Hotel Ojai

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