We love to mix up our travel styles. From adventurous to relaxing, we love all types of vacations. That being said, we’ve never stayed at a spa before and we certainly have never stayed at a health and fitness spa. Our weekend getaway at The Oaks at Ojai couldn’t have come at a better time! We haven’t been doing the best job at taking care of our health in terms of diet and exercise. In addition, we’ve also been super stressed at work lately and we are in desperate need of a relaxing and romantic getaway together. The Oaks at Ojai fit exactly what we needed and was a perfect refresh for our bodies, minds, and souls. One of their slogans is, “lose ‘not enough time’, gain ‘me time'”. Doesn’t that just sound perfect? Plus, the spa is located in the heart of Ojai, which is only 90 minutes from our home in Los Angeles and the perfect spot for nature lovers like us. Read on for our full experience at The Oaks at Ojai.
We walked in to a beautiful lobby that was made so cozy by an inviting fireplace. All we wanted to do was to curl up by that fireplace and read a good book. (Don’t worry, we eventually did!) We had missed dinner time, so the pleasant lady at the front desk gave us some great nearby dinner recommendations. She also explained to us how the stay works. The stay includes all day fitness classes, hikes, cooking demos, and lectures. In addition, all meals and snacks are also included. A schedule was provided so we’d know what was offered at all times. We couldn’t wait to take advantage of all the offerings!
We had an adorable little (actually not so little, it was pretty spacious!) villa with a very Mediterranean feel. We walked in and couldn’t believe how huge the place was! We had a GIANT walk in closet, another closet, a getting ready station, a work station, a huge luxurious bathroom, an outside patio complete with a water fountain, and two big comfy beds. You could seriously live in this villa. It might almost be bigger than our apartment at home.
Also, the bathroom passed The Lena Test with flying colors (Lena has a crazy bathroom phobia) which is a huge deal. It’s too bad we had so many things we wanted to do both on and off the resort grounds because that villa was spectacular!
As a fitness spa, The Oaks offers a full schedule of fitness activities with something almost every hour. From 6am hikes to midday 90 minute dance classes to evening yoga, they’ve got all the bases covered. There is literally something for everyone, just as long as there is at least one type of physical activity you enjoy. The biggest bummer of our weekend was that Lena was recovering from a sprained ankle and we weren’t able to take part in any of the classes other than gentle yoga. They all sounded and looked amazing though! Everyone always emerged from the classes looking so happy and energetic! We definitely want to go back so we can get the full experience. If you somehow can’t find a class offering that entices you, they also have a full gym where you can get your own workout in. If you’re wondering about fitness levels, no need to be intimidated. We saw people of all shapes, sizes, and athletic levels. In addition, if you want results from your trip other than just that post-spa glow, check in with the health center at the start of your trip. They will weigh and measure you at the start and end of your trip so you can know the effects of all your hard work. One lady we spoke to said she comes every year for a month and typically loses 3 inches off her waist and 3 inches off her arms (!!!).
As we previously mentioned, all your food is included at The Oaks. This includes all meals and snacks. The menu was specially developed by a nutritionist to be well rounded and calorie conscious. The standard daily menu clocks in at about 1200 calories. This had Bassam freaking out, because 1200 calories is definitely not enough to sustain him! With a few tweaks, it was all fine and the food was actually very delicious! It’s definitely light and some meals can be a bit on the blander side (no salt is used), but it’s still tasty and a great way to prove that healthy eating can be delicious eating. Here are a few tricks and tips to keep in mind:
- All meals are served at specific meal times. Look at the schedule so you don’t miss a meal. We actually missed a few, UNTIL we discovered you can put your meal “on hold”. Just let the front desk know you’re going to be late and what time you’d like to get your meal. The only things you can’t “hold” are snacks, so make sure not to miss those.
- You can have a special program set up for you if you need more calories or some other accommodation. They have high fiber diets, high protein diets, etc. Just talk to the health center to set up something for you.
- Each day, alternatives are available for lunch and dinner. We actually found the alternatives were tastier and more filling (even though they were the same calorie count). The alternative options will be on display in the main lobby. All you do is sign up for the option you prefer. Easy peasy!
- There are two main dining rooms, but you can eat anywhere on the property. We loved taking our lunch out by the pool.
- No alcohol is allowed in common areas. If you want wine with your dinner, bring your own wine and ask to have your meal served in your room.
- If you’re super anxious about this not being enough food just bring some snacks with you. Most rooms are equipped with a fridge. Also, the spa is walking distance to tons of restaurants and cafes.
What would a spa weekend be without a spa treatment? We were treated to a Fit & Firm facial by Skin Authority. The facials consisted of AHA resurfacing, a blue algae eye mask, a hydrating mask, and arm and neck massage. (siiiigh. can we go back please?!) The facials were so incredibly relaxing and our skin looked amazing after! Bassam actually slept through his entire facial, that’s how relaxing he found it! What we really liked about our aesthetician was the effort she put into customizing our treatment. Lena’s skin had been a bit red and the aesthetician applied the algae eye mask down to her cheeks to help calm some of the redness. Such a wonderful experience and now we are dying to try Skin Authority’s products at home!
In the Area
The location of The Oaks is absolutely fantastic! The spa is in the heart of Downtown Ojai and you are just steps away from the farmer’s market, wine tasting, great restaurants, a fantastic bookstore and more! There are also plenty of hiking trails nearby. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. We were able to fit in lots of exploring AND relaxation into our weekend! Just the way we like our vacations!
So… Do We Recommend It?
Yes! We had a fantastic weekend! We probably could’ve enjoyed the stay much more if Lena’s ankle wasn’t sprained, but it was still so relaxing and so fun. We do want to point out that while it is a coed spa and we did see other couples, there are significantly more women than men. While this didn’t bother Bassam, we recognize that it could be uncomfortable for some men. Lena would love to go back, but she would probably take her sister instead of Bassam next time. The Oaks is nice for a romantic and relaxing weekend, but it’s BEST for a girlfriends getaway or a mother-daughter trip.
Want to book a stay? Yeah, we don’t blame you, it was pretty awesome! Check out their website to book directly. The Oaks tends to offer specials all year around, so keep a look out for that. During November (when we went), they were offering a “Bring a Friend” special as well as an “Add a Night” special. Since people tend to go for a week at a time, all the specials they offer definitely help keep the cost low! Rates start at around $260 per person/night, which is pretty reasonable for all that you get. They also offer day passes if you live close enough to just go for the day.
If all this sounds great to you but you are looking for something more like a CRUISE to celebrate the holidays, may we also suggest a holiday cruise with Celebrity Cruises. There are several different options, but the one that sounds best to us is the Top Chef cruise!
Happily Ever Adventures would like to thank The Oaks for inviting us to stay as their guest. All opinions and photos are entirely our own.
Have you ever stayed at a fitness spa?
If not, has our experience convinced you to try one?