Tucked between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, The Oaks At Ojai is a spa destination with an illustrious past. Their founder Sheila Cuff is somewhat of a goddess in the aerobics, fitness and spa world. Having just celebrated their 40th anniversary, The Oaks At Ojai invited me to experience their all-inclusive resort focused on women…wait for it…who are over 40 years old!
In exchange I offered a class to the guests of the spa on how to look fabulous (you guessed it) after the age of 40! If you’re up for watching some of the 1-hour presentation I gave, you can find that video by clicking here.
Of course men are allowed in this co-ed facility, as are folks younger than 40, and there were a handful of each of those folks while I was staying there.
October in Ojai still feels summer with the warm California sun heating up the air. So the Spanish mission style property fits right into the aesthetic of the desert climate. The drive into Ojai from LA sets the tone for total relaxation. It transports you from the overcrowded city, along the coastal freeway and winds inland through canyons and dry hills and farms.
What it’s like to stay at The Oaks at Ojai
Upon arrival, the staff is warm, friendly and eager to immediately help each guest feel at home. In fact, that’s part of their core philosophy that the spa feels welcoming and comfortable. I wandered a short distance down a lush path, past the partially shaded pool (what an awesome feature for those wishing to avoid burns and sun damage), to a little casita with more of that fabulous authentic Spanish feel.
I was blown away by the incredible tile and woodwork in the room and the jacuzzi tub in the enormous bathroom. I couldn’t get over having a private lounging patio to the left side of the bed.
This place was about triple the size of most people’s apartments in New York City! So I pretty much all but fainted when I peeked behind the translucent, white curtains to the right side of the bed. A burst of giddiness came over me when I saw a private courtyard with fruit trees, a lounge chair, table with more chairs AND a fountain!
I don’t know how they expected me to ever leave the room at this point, but my curiosity and eagerness to check out the rest of the resort and activities finally won.
All-Inclusive Spa Resort
At this all-inclusive facility, is very reasonable price (way more budget friendly than many spas I’ve been to). You receive three meals a day, multiple snacks, infinite beverages (non-alcoholic), fitness classes, access to the pool, jacuzzis, steam, sauna, and special guest speakers (like me!).
Of note, this multi-award winning spa has a special focus on eating with the intent of feeling well, making healthy choices and to aid in the pursuit of shedding a few pounds if you’re up for that. The menu is created by their onsite nutrition experts and let’s put it this way – there’s no salt on the table. You’ll find other seasonings to flavor your food in a heart-healthy way. Honestly, I never found a need to add anything to my food because it all tasted delicious as it was prepared.
I loved the morning walks, apart from that I had to drag myself out of the very comfy bed situation to join them. There are always three levels to choose from: vigorous, brisk, and stroll. So no matter what shape you’re in, you have a group of people to join for some communal morning exercise.
Funny side story: on one of the morning walks through the sleepy town, we went past someone’s property that had a rather upset alpaca in it. Well, the alpaca wasn’t upset until we started taking pictures of it and then it rushed the fence at those it felt were taunting it with their cell phones. We all screamed, jumped back and decided to leave the poor animal in peace. That was not a formal part of the walk, by the way.
A True Community Feel
Breakfast was served right after everyone gets back, and like all the meals, it’s a communal table experience. At first I felt a little strange about just asking to sit at tables with other women, half expecting them to treat me like we were in a high school lunch room. Each and every time, I was welcomed with smiles and included naturally into conversations!
I met women who have been coming to The Oaks At Ojai year after year as a tradition. Friends, sisters, moms and daughters. It was a like a big family.
One mealtime I just wanted to sit poolside, alone in my own thoughts, and that was perfectly acceptable too. No one said anything about it. In fact, the low-judgment factor during my entire stay at The Oaks At Ojai was a huge relief.
I’m not a fitness expert by any means — my being thin is natural to my body type. So I too can feel intimidated in classes because I don’t know the moves or have as much endurance as someone who’s more gung ho. So there we all were at our own levels, doing our best, with the instructors supporting our efforts.
I quoted one of their stretch class instructors, Lynnie Kustal, in Health and Beauty Through Emotional Release. The Art of Unclenching. because what she said really impacted me:
“Start where you are. Use what you have. And do what you can.”
It was a beautiful way to remind everyone there, that we can enjoy treating ourselves well and it’s not about being perfect, rather persistent in listening to what feels best in our quest for wellbeing.
The Town of Ojai
You pretty much never need to leave the property, but if you do, you’ll find yourself directly on the main, historic drag in Ojai surrounded by the cutest shops and cafes teeming with a touch of lux-hippie influence. I picked up some lemon infused organic olive oil from a local cultivar at the Farmer’s Market, and dipped in and out of antique shops.
The Oaks at Ojai Spa Treatments
Finally, what sort of resort would it be if there were not spa treatments? Well thankfully there is a menu of pretty much everything you could want – and things you didn’t know you wanted – to choose from.
For instance, I didn’t know I wanted a Vitamin D Brightening Facial until I saw that it could help with firming and hyper pigmentation, among a variety of other wonderments! I loved that I was able to book a treatment at 8:30pm. So by the time we finished, I was in such a relaxed, blissed out state I could’ve just fallen face-first onto the grass before making it back to my casita, but I would have likely compromised the results of my facial. So I just stumbled back to my room and fell directly asleep.
Is there more to share and tell? Yes! I couldn’t do it all justice in this one article, but you can go to The Oaks At Ojai website and see all the lovely things they offer for yourself.
If you’ve ever been there, I’d love to hear in the comments section below, what your experience was like too!