The headline teases that one such property, the Emerald Inn, appears that it should belong in a tropical rainforest. There’s no other way to put it. California might be in a drought, but you wouldn't be able to tell from a visit to this hotel. Lush, green landscaping and a broken-tile mosaic lizard fountain welcome you, both indications of the inspiration the hotel draws from the South Pacific.
Owners and life-long Ojai residents Julia and Marc Whitman have traveled the world and decked out their hotel along the way. All the rooms sport foreign handmade pieces, from the furniture to the decor, many from Bali and other islands in Asia. The photo above is, believe it or not, the porch of our room (Frog Room), where the Asian influence is very obvious.
Most rooms at the Emerald are set up more like condos than traditional hotel rooms, featuring full-size fridges, full kitchen (oven, stove top), living room, and bedroom. Besides the Frog Room shown below, the "Treehouse" was another of our favorites. Marc, who is an architect, renovated the room with a European-style balcony after a visit across the Atlantic, and he added a mosaic koi pond to stay true to the property's overall theme. You can see photos of that project here.
If you are a last-minute type of person, you still have time to catch the end of Pixie season in Ojai, which is arguably the best time to be in town. Rates for the spring and summer seasons start at $199/night.
Disclaimer: Will was on assignment for another publication when staying at the Emerald Inn, but all opinions are his own.
[Photos: Will McGough/Will McGough/Emerald Inn/Emerald Inn]