by Lissa Poirot
Nestled in the Topatopa Mountains is a destination resort that is so relaxing, it will be hard to leave. Set in Ojai, California, where a Mediterranean-like climate fills the space with warm sunlight, the Ojai Valley Inn’s white buildings with red terra cotta roof tiles are reminiscent of a European setting. Wines from local vineyards and farm-to-table cuisine make dining at the inn a foodie’s paradise. Wide open spaces surround the 18-hole Ojai Country Club golf course, where resident pros include the likes of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, as well as today’s stars like Kevin Costner and Will Smith. Always popular with celebrities, locals will tell tales of those they have encountered at the inn over the years.
Besides hobnobbing with celebrities, the Ojai Valley Inn is an ideal getaway for families, with accommodations ranging from oversized guestrooms and suites to historic rooms and even a five-bedroom, gated house option. Kids can enjoy Camp Oak for day and evening activities, splash in the inn’s outdoor swimming pool, enjoy seasonal “Dive-Inn” movies, participate in artist programs and enjoy the inn’s recreational sports.
Ojai’s nickname is Shangri-La, and the Ojai Valley Inn certainly feels like Shangri-La and provides a perfect weekend retreat or a home-away-from-home vacation the entire family will enjoy.
Our Editor Loves
- Destination resort near Los Angeles
- Kids' club and recreational programs
- Nearby hiking and beach
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Ojai Valley Inn's 305 main guestrooms and suites overlook the golf course and mountains and many feature fireplaces and private balconies or terraces. Rooms in the inn feature complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, multimedia stations, Keurig personal brewers, and free newspaper delivery. Room offerings include:
The most traditional of rooms is 425 square feet in size and provides a king or two double beds.
Slightly larger than the Ojai rooms, these are 445 square feet in size with balconies or patios and a king or two double beds.
Fireplace Shangri-La Room
These larger rooms feature a corner fireplace with small sitting area, along with the king or two double beds found in the other rooms, with 550 square feet available. These rooms also offer balconies and patios. The bathrooms in these rooms feature soaking tubs and double vanity sinks.
At 625 square feet, the mini-suites are studio suites with a king or two double beds and a larger sitting area near a fireplace. The suites offer balconies or patios and larger bathrooms with soaking tubs.
A spacious 800 square feet in size, these suites feature a king or two doubles in the bedroom and a living room with fireplace. Suites provide balconies or patios and the larger bathrooms, as well.
Paseo Mini Suite
These suites only provide one king bed in a studio suites setting, but do offer a sofa bed and a sitting area near a fireplace. The 700-square-foot room has a small breakfast nook, as well as a balcony or patio, and the aforementioned larger bathrooms.
Located near the spa, these 900-square-foot suites are extremely luxurious, but also only offer one king bed in the master bedroom configuration. The living room comes complete with a six-seat dining area, and is equipped with a sleeper sofa.
As a ground floor suite, the accommodations are equipped with enclosed, oversized patios with plush outdoor seating, a small dining area and fire pit, and are great for families with small children.
These villa suites are located on the second floor and have 1,100 square feet of space, divided between living and sleeping areas. The bedroom provides a king bed, while the living room features a sleeper sofa, as well as a dining table for six. Both the living room and bedroom have their own private balconies, and these suites provide two full bathrooms -- perfect for families.
The luxurious penthouses above the spa are connected to the adult-only spa and require guests to be 18 and older. These accommodations are not available to families.
One 1,900-square-foot suite is available with a six-person dining room and kitchenette for families who want to eat in. The kitchenette features a full refrigerator, microwave and all dinnerware, utensils and glassware. There are two bathrooms in this suite, along with a king bedroom with its own comfy seating area, with couches that are not pull-out, but could be turned into additional sleeping areas for small kids.
Wallace Neff Rooms
In the inn's original Clubhouse, 22 hotel rooms were built in 1934 and provide a historic setting. Four hundred square feet in size, the rooms provide a king bed, sitting area with sleeper sofa, and a four-person dining table. Guests of these rooms receive breakfast for two daily.
For larger families requiring expanded space and privacy, the inn features an estate rental, providing all the services of the inn, but in a vacation rental setting. The estate features its own pool and grounds, with more than 10,400 square feet of space. Perks include five bedrooms, a living room, a full gourmet kitchen, dining room for 12, wood-burning fireplaces two-car garage, private massage room for spa treatments, an elevator to its second floor, and exclusive use of a golf cart. Four of the bedrooms with private bathrooms are featured in the main house, while the fifth works well as a guest or nanny room over the garage.
Included in the house rate are breakfast for 10 made in the estate or at the inn's Oak Grill, a fully stocked pantry, four mountain bikes, and an estate manager to help plan anything guests want.
by Peter B
We did not stay at the resort but had a tour and stayed for lunch. The outdoor restaurant has a delightful setting overlooking parts of the resort owned golf course. The 3 of us were glad to have selected only 2 plates as the portions were huge. Nicely presented and tasty. Very attentive service.
by Nancy K
I've taken advantage of the various offerings of this beautifully located inn over the years - first the spa, then the Inn and now the golf course. All are amazing, the food and service are exceptional and I try to go back there as often as I can.
For children ages 4 to 12, the inn's Camp Oak supervised program will feel as if the kids have gone off to camp, while they still get to spend time with family. Full- and half-day programs are available, including lunch, as well as evening Glow in the Dark programs, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Advanced registration is required with a themed scheduled Monday through Sunday, including Dino Day, where kids go on a scavenger hunt and learn about dinosaurs, Secret Spy Sunday with codes, disguises and more scavenger hunts, and Pirates and Princesses day, where kids will embark on fairytale adventures. During holiday breaks and summer months, "Dive-Inn" movies are offered on special evenings.
Of the inn's three outdoor swimming pools, only one is open to children. The Pixie Pool is the family pool, located near the Orchard Lawn. The pool features a fireplace, hot tub, shaded areas, cabana service and food and beverage service. Cabanas are offered for full-day rentals, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and include bottled water, soft drinks, sunscreen, magazines, and a plate of sliced fruit and a plate of cruditÃƒÂ©s. Rates are for four people and additional charges apply for larger families.
Playing on Ojai's artistic community, the inn features an Artist's Cottage with classes on drawing, painting, and more creative avenues.
For kids, special programs are available for ages 12 and younger in collages, scents, treasure jars, mobile making and painting. Parents must attend with children under 12; tweens and preteens do not require parent participation.
Bicycles are available to rent to explore the resort grounds or nearby mountain of Ojai. Ojai's main village is minutes from the resort and accessible via bicycle.
Every Wednesday night is Scrabble Play in the inn's Neff Lounge, open to all ages.
During peak family travel periods, the inn provides special activities from petting zoos to pony rides, story time under the Friendship Oak Tree to cookie decorating, and in the fall, pumpkin painting and hayrides.
The resort has basketball courts, tennis courts, and of course, its neighboring golf course for guests to enjoy during their visit.
This Italian kitchen utilizes the best the Ojai Valley has to offer, serving up dishes using locally purveyed foods. The restaurant provides a four-course dinner experience with wine pairings that food lovers will best enjoy while the kids are in the evening program. Dishes include things like a California Burrata followed by black truffle risotto before Mediterranean Branzino or Maine lobster, or Colorado rack of lamb or Kobe short ribs- even to a vegan course with fresh produce from the valley. This is a restaurant not to be missed!
Olivella is open Wednesday through Sunday nights, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Overlooking the inn's famed 200-year-old Friendship Oak, bedecked with white lights for a fairytale setting at night, the Oak is the main restaurant and provides all-day dining. Breakfast is offered daily from 6:30 to 11 a.m. (9:30 on Sundays), with a breakfast buffet available on weekends. Lunches, available every day but Sunday, are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is offered from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Menus change seasonally and also use a variety of local produce and ingredients. Children receive discounted rates at the buffet.
For classic pub fare and snacks, including sandwiches, pizza, chips and dip, and wings, along with a kids' menu with grilled cheese, chicken fingers and hot dogs, Jimmy's is open from lunch through late night. Food service is provided from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on weekends.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
There is a nightly resort charge for staying at the inn, which covers valet and self parking, Wi-Fi, unlimited local calls, fitness center access, daily newspaper delivery, in-room coffee and tea, and unlimited use of tennis courts. The fee is $35 per night.
The Ojai Valley Inn is pet-friendly, with the exception of the Wallace Neff Rooms. The resort provides a pet menu, dog-friendly walking areas, and special turndown service.
Meal plans are available, allowing guests to automatically add breakfast or dinner to their nightly rates.
The Art of Smart Timing
With the Ojai Valley's Mediterranean-like climate, guests will find the resort an ideal place to visit year-round. No matter the season, the valley gets cooler in the evenings, but provides a relief during the dog days of summer. The resort offers more activities for kids during the holidays, spring break and summers, but families visiting when there aren't many families around can still request in advance much of the same services to ensure kids have programs and activities to enjoy.
Ojai is located 60 miles north of Los Angles and 35 minutes south of Santa Barbara, both of which provide airport service to get you closer to the inn. The inn works with 360 Destination Group to provide transportation options and shuttle service for guests who made need it. If renting a car, the drive from L.A. will take 90 minutes, without traffic.
Park your car and stay awhile when visiting the inn. Walking, golf carts and bicycles will be how you'll get around the resort, and if you would like to go to town, the inn provides a car service.
For Mom and Dad
The inn has many places for mom and dad to get some R&R, including the adults-only and award-winning spa, which is a full-service spa with a private spa pool. The Indigo Pool, which features poolside dining and drinks, is also an adult-only area of the resort. Parents can also participate in art programs, cooking lessons, mixology classes, spiritual readings, and, of course, enjoy golf or tennis on the resort. The Ojai Valley Inn truly makes sure every guest has a chance to vacation when visiting!