I’m the type of person who considers their birthday as an entire “birthday month,” so I was dying to go somewhere for the weekend after my real birthday passed.
Requirements were: easy to get to by car, good food, pretty views, mellow. From Los Angeles, your options are pretty much Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa. Palm Springs was out, since I planned to be there in April for a wedding plus Coachella. Santa Barbara I like.. but… wasn’t feeling it. Then, a friend said – “why don’t you go to Ojai?” A light went off – somewhere I haven’t been for years, it’s super close, and I’d heard of a particular resort there – Ojai Valley Inn – being incredible.
Confirmed – Ojai is possibly the breeziest weekend escape from LA ever. Easier than Santa Barbara, the drive took about an hour and a half. Seemingly minutes after passing Malibu, I blinked and we were driving through the charming, artsy town of Ojai. The surrounding area suffered from terrible fires this past fall, but Ojai was miraculously spared.
There was one caveat to the weekend… rain. The forecast called for 100% chance of heavy rain, all weekend. I was pretty bummed- it had rained on my actual birthday too, and I felt like a dark cloud was following my special day around. I eventually gave in and figured the weather would make for a cozy spa weekend staying in. Ojai Valley Inn seemed like the perfect place for that.
I think I managed to get two or three photos (of myself) upon check in at the resort before it started pouring – hence the majority of scenery shots here (taken under my umbrella!) This resort was so lovely and I can’t wait to come back in warmer weather. It’s a sprawling property, much larger than I expected, with a beautiful golf course, spa, and a little “town center” area with several restaurants. We stayed in a little bungalow-vibe room with a gorgeous mountain view that felt secluded and private at the edge of the property. The buildings are all white-washed with pretty terra-cotta tiled stairs. It’s so idyllic; I imagine an ideal place for summer weddings and celebrations.
On the first night, we went for pre-dinner drinks by the fire before a delicious meal at the Oak. Even if you drive through Ojai, I’d recommend coming to the hotel for a meal, as all their dining options are on point! The Oak feels rustic and charming, with exposed beam ceilings and a farm-to-table menu. The pouring rain outside actually felt like a nice change of pace as it forced us to relax and eat slowly – where else did we have to be?
The next day was dedicated the spa, which is easily one of the most beautiful I’ve been to in California. The Spanish-style decor and bright indoor tiles make for a lovely view as you wait for an appointment. I relaxed with a massage (that included aromatherapy oils, my favorite) and a couple hours back and forth from the steam room to the indoor pool. I had been fighting off a cold and this made a world of difference.
We ventured into the town in search of dinner and landed on The Nest – a casual little café with delicious salmon tacos and ahi tuna bowls. After sitting on the deck watching the drizzle, we drove back to the hotel for a cozy night in our bungalow room. Weekend well spent in my opinion!
If you’re considering visiting Ojai Valley Inn, message me! It was the perfect place for a little escape and the staff could not have been friendlier – I can’t wait to return.