Travel Feature Story

A Girlfriends Retreat at The Oaks at Ojai

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | 2:20 PM

Sometimes you just need some girlfriend time. Time to laugh, cry, and relive some of the moments that brought you together in the first place. How about some pampering and focusing on just you? The Oaks at Ojai gives you the opportunity to do all these things in a welcoming atmosphere that is made up of mostly women over 40. You can relax and let your hair down and just be you.

Ojai is an easy drive from LA and a short 90 minute ride. The hotel/spa is located in a 1920s Spanish Mission Revival building and offers 46 guest rooms that run the gamut from lodge rooms, double cottages, double courtyard suites and mini spa suites.

The Oaks is a cell-free zone, you’ll get service but need to keep your phone silent while in the public areas. They have wifi included in the cost of the room but depending on where you are in the complex it can be a bit weak. Parking is included and they have an adorable gift shop that sells many of the things you’ll be using or seeing during your stay.

We were comfortably ensconced in a double courtyard suite, equipped with its very own fountain. Inside the suite has a living room with a fireplace, wet bar, refrigerator and full-size foldout sofa. The bedroom has two queen beds and in the bathroom there is a spa tub and separate tiled shower. The courtyard is fully enclosed and very private. On the lower patio are two lounge chairs and a small table perfect for an evening confab or enjoying an early-morning cup of coffee. The upper courtyard has a table and chairs, just made for an alfresco meal.

Speaking of meals, they are included with your nightly rate. I’m not talking a skimpy buffet, but full-on meals. Breakfast consists of the most delicious coffee (a special flavored one is offered everyday, I had cinnamon and chocolate almond, both were so delicious it was like drinking dessert), with your choice of a daily muffin, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, dried plums, oatmeal with fruit, bran flakes and yogurt.

During the day if you are feeling a bit peckish you can always have coffee or tea, but you can also choose fresh fruit, water and there is always almond milk. low fat or nonfat milk, soy milk, agave nectar and stevia.

Between breakfast and lunch is a broth or energy drink break and lunch always begins with one of The Oaks’ soups and a lunch entree. Salad entrees range from traditional Grilled Chicken Caesar to a modern Quinoa with Lemon dressing and Grilled Shrimp. Chile Relleno Bake, Mushroom Barley Burger or Pita Pizza are some vegetarian choices.

There’s always something to nosh on, in the afternoon there are fresh vegetables with a magical green dip, housemade salsa or hummus. This was really nice to have available after a morning of exercising. Later in the day you can choose to have a fruit smoothie or energizing and cleansing green drink.

Dinner always starts with a salad and is followed by a well-presented and plentiful entree. While we were at The Oaks we had a chicken enchilada one night and grilled ahi the other. The meal always ends with something sweet. If you don’t happen to like what is being offered at lunch or dinner you can always request something special and if you have dietary needs The Oaks has your back.

Since The Oaks is focused on the whole person, there are many activities to take advantage of; from early-morning walks, hikes, pool classes, or studio classes that include cardio, strength training, dance, Yoga, Pilates and stretch. There is so much to choose from. My girlfriend and I opted for the afternoon Aqua Tone class. Our instructor guided us through toning exercises using noodles and pool weights. This is a great class for people who have problems with their hips, knees, or lower backs and it’s great for balance, strength, and abs. I hate exercising, it hurts and not just at the time but for days afterwards. I absolutely loved this class. It was easy, I felt my muscles being used but I had no pain afterwards. My gf concurs, we felt energized and more alert after this class.

Another thing to enjoy at The Oaks are their spa treatments. These are not included in your nightly rate. You can choose to treat your finger and toes, your face or whole body. My gf and I were getting the Vita D Brightening Facial. My Esthetician, Meg, explained each step of the process. The treatment started out with a chemical peel to remove all the dead skin cells followed up by a thick-cold mask that smelled of Rosemary and soothed my skin. While the mask was setting, my hands and feet were covered with lotion and heated gloves and booties. The mask lifted off in one sheet and then my face was treated to Vitamins B5, C, D and E for protection and hydration and Vitamin K that brightened the dark circles. At the end a lighter peel was rubbed into my hands and feet. It’s been two weeks now and my skin is still so soft and people are asking me if I had “work” done. This treatment really makes a noticeable difference.

Have a girlfriend you want to reconnect with, need some down time, pamper time or just me time? The Oaks at Ojai can handle that. Check in and then check out all your worries and cares, if even for a short time.

The Oaks at Ojai is located at 122 East Ojai Avenue. For reservations or questions call (800) 753-6257 or visit their website at

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