Ojai Valley Inn Is an Oasis Outside of Los Angeles
For decades, Ojai has provided a respite to the weary souls of Los Angeles in need of a break from traffic and noise. Located about two hours from the metropolis, this small town has a little over 7,600 people.
A Hollywood darling, the town was welcomes famous visitors like Walt Disney, Judy Garland, Brad Pitt and Julia Styles. And all of them stay at the Ojai Valley Inn.
The 220-acre Mediterranean-style hotel is a real-life Shangri-La that makes for a perfect weekend trip from Los Angeles. Here's why the Ojai Valley Inn is one of California's most iconic hotels.
The Best Accommodation Option in Ojai
Originally built as a golf course in the 1920s, the Ojai Valley Inn quickly expanded to a hotel. It is now a AAA Five-Diamond resort hidden within the folds of the Topatopa Mountains.
Guests are greeted by olive and oak trees, which perfectly complement the hotel's Spanish revival architecture. Arches, towers and whitewashed buildings provide cozy yet breezy environments. You'll be thankful for this in the Southern California summer.
The inn has numerous spaces for guests to enjoy, including the large Spa Ojai, considered the best in town. People love The Farmhouse, which holds culinary events and classes where you'll indulge your senses.
In true Californian fashion, there is even an Artist Cottage, designed to cut off distractions and welcome inspiration. Hollywood creatives, Los Angeles artists and well-off writers make retreats here in the hopes of being visited by the muses.
While not within every traveler's budget, it's possible to enjoy many of the hotel's offerings as a day guest.
Golfing at Ojai Valley Inn
Designed by George C. Thomas to be in harmony with the nature around it, the Ojai Valley Inn golf course enjoys world recognition. Golf greats like Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw played here, and Doug Sanders and Jimmy Demaret were resident pros. But hobby players like Kevin Costner and Michael Douglas also have come to Ojai to try their luck.
Golf clinics offer introduction or refresher courses for those who want to hone their skills. Day passes are available, so you can enjoy the course without staying at the inn.
That said, guests receive a small discount.
Other Exciting Guest Programs
Not into golf? No problem. There are plenty of incredible experiences, events and activities that guests can enjoy at the Ojai Valley Inn.
For something truly unique, try your hand at beekeeping. You'll learn about the process of making honey — samples included. You can also learn to make artisan soap, jewelry, ink dye coasters and wind chimes with different classes.
Active travelers will love starting the morning with aerial yoga, then going on a guided hike or bike tour. Other fun activities include jeep tours, horseback riding, rock climbing and surfing.
Things to Do in Ojai
While the inn has many cool experiences, you should also make some time to explore the town itself. Ojai's village center has historic homes that have been transformed into locally owned boutique shops and art galleries.
Don't forget to pass by Bart's Books, the largest outdoor bookstore in the country. Specializing in out-of-print and rare books, you'll find some true gems on the shelves of this unique business, whose customers adhere to the honor system to pay for their priced finds. There is also a nice patio where you can stop to read on nice days.
Outdoor recreation is also popular, with Fox Canyon Trail and Shelf Road attracting hikers. Both Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean are a short drive away.
Best Ojai Restaurants
Food is one of Ojai's main specialties. You can't bring in the Los Angeles crowd without great food.
Many of the town's best restaurants are at the Ojai Valley Inn, with the California Italian Olivella getting the most attention. The Wallace Neff Heritage Bar provides an intimate ambience and classic cocktails that are perfect for a date night or just for drinks with friends.
Other inn restaurants that are local favorites include Jimmy's Pub (try the signature smash burger) and The Oak, famed for its sweeping views of the golf course.
You'll also find a number of great restaurants outside of the inn. Start your morning with pastries and coffee (or a day cocktail) at The Dutchess. Little Sama offers Asian-inspired food made with local ingredients. Try the Korean-style chicken wings for a delicious blend of sweet and spicy. Or spend nice sunny days gorging on traditional Italian pizza at Papa Lennon's courtyard.
For a full-day gastronomic experience, do a wine-tasting tour at Topa Mountain Winery.