This post could also be titled “How Someone Who Doesn’t Like to Exercise Survives on a Wellness Retreat.” Because my family laughed at me when I told them I was heading up to The Oaks at Ojai to check out the resort. I was super athletic in high school. And then I graduated. I don’t love to sweat and I hate being sore. I know I’m not alone in that. And I totally get why you need to sweat and work out and be healthy. I just don’t have the drive to want to do it daily. Or be excited about it. But I love the idea of wellness. I know I need to take better care of myself so when I was invited to go on a hosted girlfriend getaway to The Oaks at Ojai I said yes! And then got worried that I would hate every second of it. The Oaks at Ojai is a wellness and spa retreat in the foothills of Ojai, California. It’s located right at the edge of town making it the perfect place to stay where everything is right in walking distance. I don’t know how I missed it, but the first page of their website says that it is the only spa retreat in the US designed for women over 40. You guys! I’m not 40 yet! I might even be offended that I was invited if it wasn’t for the fact that I so identify with older women. In my heart I knit and sip tea and watch Matlock. And while we were the youngest people there, I never felt out-of-place. Since my visit I’ve heard from friends who visit every year and are also under 40. If you are looking for the perfect spot for your next girl’s trip and you want to rage and party all night long, this isn’t for you. If you are looking for a place to rest, relax and work out a little, then The Oaks at Ojai could be the place for you. The staff was very friendly, from the moment we checked in all the way until they called to see if they could pack up our lunch on the last day for us to take on the road.
BTW, they have great special offers from time to time, be sure to check them out here! The resort is small but comfortable. It was a 1920’s hotel that they turned in to a spa that is top rated among several top travel publications. We participated in an orientation that showed us around the property and let us know some of the basics for an enjoyable stay. The resort offers about 15 different work out classes a day making it super easy to find things you might like to do or try out for the first time. Plus they have an area off the lobby with workout equipment if that is more your speed. It is suggested that you do 3 classes a day and have one be strength focused, one be flexibility focused and one be cardio focused. I was super nervous about this because I haven’t really worked out in years! Sure, I’ll work out for a week here or there, but I don’t have a consistent routine. And being sore ruins trips for me so I was nervous I’d have to have my pal (who does boot camp every day!) drive me home. The dining room is where the meals are served and I was nervous about how the food would be at a wellness resort. I like healthy food but I didn’t know how extreme that would go. The decor is not hip, it’s fairly traditional but very nice quality and comfortable. We also found out that you can take your meals to your room which we did. There is nothing more indulgent than getting to eat dinner in front of the TV in your pajamas. Which, after all those exercise classes, I think I deserved. I did find out, though, that dress code for the resort, including meals in the dining room is super casual. Like, wear your robe to dinner if you want, casual. I LOVE that! While the resort is mostly women, there were a few men there too. They offer several different room types and while some people visit year after year with the same group of friends, you can also visit by yourself. The resort can help pair you up to share a room if you need to. We checked in on a Sunday and the resort was pretty quiet. We were put in a suite that had a beautiful patio and sitting area making being in the room feel like home. I don’t know how I managed to not get a photo of the pool that is literally just to the right of what I photographed above. The pool is heated to a comfortable temperature and there is also a jacuzzi to use. The pool is used for several classes and also for leisure.Each morning the resort offers 3 different hikes. One is a 30 minute stroll around town, another is a brisk walk that lasts about an hour and finally an intermediate hike that lasts about an hour and a half. We got up bright and early to do the intermediate hike. I had tried to talk my friend in to taking a step down and doing one that was a little less strenuous but she pushed me to go for it. And I’m so glad she did. The hike was gorgeous! It took us up in to the hills where there are beautiful homes and vineyards. I won’t lie, there was one point where I didn’t think I could go any further. I was almost ready to tell the group to just swing by and grab me on their way back down. But I sucked it up and kept going. Again, so glad I did. The hike was about 4 miles and yes, I was sore for the next few days. The Oaks at Ojai offers all kinds of classes and activities at the resort and away. If we had wanted to, we could have scheduled a guided bike ride through town, or several other outdoor activities (some of which are not included in the resort price). The town is amazing so I loved that there are options to be active and still be able to get to experience and explore the town.We took a stretch class that was awesome and I highly recommend it to everyone staying at the resort. It was the perfect thing to stretch out all those muscles you’ve just exhausted! There was music playing and a great instructor and it was perfect for every level of athleticism.The Oaks at Ojai also has a nice spa program that compliments the nutrition and fitness components. I was totally spoiled on this visit and got to have a Fit and Firm VitaD Fortified Lifting Facial with AHA using awesome SkinAuthority products. This vitamin infused facial includes an AHA resurfacing (like a really mild peel) and a super hydrating mask with essential oils. While the mask was setting the therapist gave me the most amazing reflexology foot massage followed by a shoulder and neck massage. It was SO relaxing! My skin seemed brighter and smoother and it was the most amazing way to spend 75 minutes! They have the products available for purchase on-site and Skin Authority sent some product home with me as well. I LOVE the Exfoliating Cleanser and I know my skin is going to love the Calming Mask!
Now let’s talk about the food. It was really good! It tasted healthy, but was delicious. The resort is known for the muffins they serve at breakfast so I was excited to try them out. They are about 100 calories and were a different flavor each day. Again, healthy but tasty! They have a menu posted with breakfast options and the calorie count so you are free to build your own meal. I wasn’t sure how many calories I should aim for so I just followed what a lot of the other guests did. I did a muffin, hard-boiled egg and fruit. And coffee! Being a wellness resort, I was worried they wouldn’t have coffee. But they did and all was well. The room where the serve breakfast has ice water, ice tea, hot tea and coffee available all day along with a fruit bowl. They bring out other snacks a few other times during the day like veggies and dip in the afternoon. I never felt like I was going to starve or was deprived of anything while at the resort.
The rest of the meals were also delicious! I’m pretty sure that there were very few fats included in these dishes but they were so flavorful. This was the meal from our first night and it started off with a tangerine and baby kale salad with avocado and almonds. The dressing was light and citrusy (50 calories). The main course was wild Coho salmon with a remoulade (180 calories), with sides of spaghetti squash and Swiss chard (70 calories). They serve dessert every night and this night was a simple dark chocolate mousse with berries (50 calories). I was full but not stuffed. I was not left wanting anything more. Their approach to food is to make it delicious using fresh ingredients that pack tons of flavor. I was pleasantly surprised by the food!
The Oaks offers a nutritious, well-rounded, 1,200-calorie a day food plan that consists of three meals, snacks and beverages. The varied menus feature natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings, salsas and soups – all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs from The Oaks’ gardens.
If you have been wanting to check out wellness retreats, The Oaks at Ojai is the perfect place to go. It’s more affordable than a lot of the ritzy retreats. The per person price includes your meals and most classes for the duration of your stay. This place is what you make it. You can keep it relaxed or you can really push yourself. I never felt judgement from staff or other guests which I was worried I would. The Oaks at Ojai is a short drive from Orange County and LA and I think you’ll have an enjoyable time!
For more info on their wellness retreats check out The Oaks at Ojai website. On the site you can find a sample list of the fitness classes offered, as well as some education and other learning that have almost every night!
PLUS! They also have some great special offers! My getaway was part of the “Bring a Friend” offer which they are extending in to the new year! When you visit with a friend, and share a room, you’ll both save 25%! Or you can make it a mother/daughter trip and each daughter saves 40%! (Some restrictions apply). These great deals make it ever more affordable to visit! Check them out!