Ojai Travel Guide
The small town of Ojai often gets lost in the shadows of destinations such as Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Big Sur along California's central coast, but after a recent visit to the "Valley of the Moon," we began to understand what has made it a long-time getaway for those looking to escape L.A. and refresh in the powerful, healing aura that our bro Jaunted discovered.
Something that initially seems like a drawback is what turns out to be one of Ojai's best attributes: The fact that it is not located on the coast. Tourists coming to California understandably want to be near the ocean, yet same-state travelers (aka Cali locals) appreciate the change in scenery, change of pace, and the rejuvenating properties that live in the orchard-heavy landscape of Ojai.
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Even though The Bachelor has ended (congrats Sean and Catherine, we give it a year!), this only means that The Bachelorette is just beginning. According to RealitySteve.com filming has indeed commenced for Desiree Hartstock and her boys.
While Steve has hinted that he knows where the show will go after they do a few elimination rounds in LA, he hasn't spilled the beans just yet. But that's ok because our friend Johnny Jet has a first-hand scoop on where the Bachelorette filmed one of their dates--The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. And boy, it is not good. For the hotel at least.
Johnny and wife headed up to Ojai from LA last weekend for a nice quiet retreat. Instead they got helicopters, an over abundance of production crew and rude staff. He writes:
When I tried to pull up to valet, the hotel staff questioned where we were going — he almost seemed surprised we were hotel guests. He told us that only self-parking was available and he guided me to the parking lot as the Bentley was quickly coming up from behind. While waiting for them to finish their shot, I snapped the photo above. In between the retakes, we walked to the lobby to get a golf cart to the room since it’s a long walk and Natalie wasn’t feeling well.
Talk about rebound: Scarlett Johansson only split from ab-tastic hubby Ryan Reynolds in December, and she's already living it up with her newest man meat, Sean Penn. The two went public with their May-December romance at Reese Witherspoon's wedding and then went really public with a post-nuptials date at Jimmy's Bar at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.
The couple hit up the hotel bar for some drinks and late-night eats. The lovebirds sipped gin and tonics and ate one of the thin-crust, brick oven pizzas and a club sandwich.
While we were getting a preview of the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa’s upcoming Celebrity Chef Golf Classic last week, we poked around the resort’s Casa Elar, and spotted this Bentley golf cart just sitting there in the villa’s garage.
Apparently normal golf carts just aren’t good enough for the VIP’s that rent out five-bedroom villa. Of course, if we were spending $15,000 a night for a three-night minimum, we’d want a Bentley golf cart to ferry us around the property too…if not an actual Bentley.
Can’t pony up the cash for the Casa Elar? Don’t worry. The rest of us plebes (paying a measly $350 per night!) might just be able to sweet talk our way into an afternoon of pimpin’ in the Escalade golf cart we spotted elsewhere on the property.
Now if only there were a Batmobile golf cart…
What goes together better than chefs and golf? Well…probably lots of things, but it still sounds like a pretty fun combo to us. That’s why we headed up to Ojai last week to get a preview of the menu for the upcoming Celebrity Chef Classic at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Taking place Friday, November 13-Sunday, November 15, the Celebrity Chef Classic will bring together five chefs from around the country to cook up a gourmet weekend for Ojai’s guests, even while pitting them against each other on the golf course. The five participating maestros will be: Jamie West of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Todd Gray of Equinox in D.C., Ming Tsai from Blue Ginger in Massachusetts, Alan Wong from the Pineapple Room in Honolulu, and Budi Kazali from the Ballard Inn and Restaurant in Santa Ynez, making it a truly national event.
For starters MacPherson is a surfer dude who was behind the Swingers restaurant chains in Los Angeles. And he loves Mexico as evidenced by this quote he gave the NY Times last year, "I just went snowboarding in Colorado, and I go surfing in Mexico -- I'm a Mexican citizen."
Eric Goode also loves the West Coast as he owns a house in Ojai, California. Goode told the NY Times that he has owned the place for 20 years (hmm... he is older than we thought.)
"I wanted a place that was the opposite of New York," he said. "It's just a funny, sleepy town." Mr. Goode spent a couple of years in Ojai as a child and recently set up a sanctuary for 300 endangered turtles and tortoises from the Bronx Zoo -- a project that has increased his visits to Ojai to about once a month.
And he's pretty open about his hotel ambitions for Ojai, saying, "I would love to buy a hotel there." We better start scouting the area to see if there's a Section 8 building these guys would be willing to convert into a boutique hotel.
Or so says the National Enquirer. Yet we have reason to believe this tabloid as of late. They were sooo spot-on about Usher's mama drama over his planned wedding the other week.
Anyways, according to NE, Kate Walsh of Grey's Anatomy has picked the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa as the setting for her nuptials to Alex Young over Labor Day Weekend. Kate and her betrothed have already paid $10,000 to reserver the inn's "exclusive" Casa Elar.
The couple is expecting 110 guests who'll arrive at the inn Aug. 30 the Thursday before the wedding. They'll have a spectacular view of the flower-covered hillsides surrounding the Ojai Valley and a enjoy a dinner reception that night.
As for the actual ceremony, that will take place on Saturday in a grassy courtyard surrounding Casa Elar. Kate will wear Vera Wang and her hubby-to-be will be decked in formal attire. A sit-down dinner will be served with a choice of Kobe beef, chicken, salmon kebabs or a vegetarian plate.
Wow, NE doesn't miss a single detail. We feel sick for just reposting this information, we can't imagine having to grill some poor hotel employee about what kind of food the guests will be eating. Yet we fully expect a report from inside the honeymoon suite.
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One of my all time favorite spots to relax is the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. Located just north of Los Angeles (about 35 mins south of Santa Barbara), Ojai offers the best of everything. The spa is fabulous, the golf course is impeccable and best of all...their food is outrageously fantastic.
You don't have to go very far to eat well during your stay at Ojai because all your edible desires can be fulfilled right on the property. The more formal restaurant, Maravilla, offers crispy stuffed sea bass or a rack of lamb. Or, maybe devouring a Kobe beef pot roast at the Oak Grill is more your thing, but I actually prefer the totally discreet Jimmy's Pub.
Named after the Inn's most famous golfer, Jimmy Demaret, Jimmy's offers dark wood molding, flat screen plasmas and large, comfy chairs making you feel as if you've somehow sneaked your way into a private, members only club. Here you can grub on wood-burning oven pizzas, hand-cut potato wedges, charred beef tacos or delicious salads. Not to forget a much-needed and well poured glass of beer. Jimmy's is simply the perfect spot post spa, golf or just about anything at Ojai.
The hotel however seems more like a romantic getaway for couples as it features the mountainous backdrop of Southern California and has fireplaces heating up the luxurious bedrooms. Add in a fancy golf course and top-notch spa and we wonder what the kids could possibly do here. Or better yet where are they?
We found out they are probably participating in the hotel's kids program for ages 5 to 12 where they learn about the Chumash Indians, who lived on California's Central Coast.
Counselors -- one for every five campers -- lead nature hikes to the Chumash Indian Hunt, where kids hear stories, sing, and create talking rain sticks and rock art. The property also boasts an 800-acre Ranch & Stables, featuring a big red barn, an active silo, a petting farm, and 36 horses....All kids come home with a photo of themselves, framed with the name of the horse they rode, a bandanna, and a horseshoe.
As for Mom and Dad, Picky Chick says, "There isn't a whole lot to do...golf, spa, eat, drink. That's basically it and that's what is so fabulous about Ojai."
But you better hope that kids program will tire your rugrats out because despite room rates of $350 and up, there's no DVD players or OnCommand movies in the rooms.