I always forget how close Ojai is from Los Angeles. It’s like… driving-from-the-Eastside-to-
NOTE: As you are probably aware, Ojai took quite the hit in the recent Thomas Fires. They nearly took the town out, but thanks to the brave first responders AND the local community the city still stands and is just getting back to its regular ol’ self. In an effort to help support the Thomas Fire relief efforts the hotels of Ojai have come together to create a special way to give back to the community by offering what they’re calling an “Ojai Love” package that will be available through March 31st. By booking the Ojai Love package at any of the participating hotels (listed on ojailove.com), you’ll receive 10% off their best available rate & exclusive discounted access to some of Ojai’s best restaurants, shops & activities. Plus a $10 donation per night will be made in your name to help those who have been affected. Visit the website – ojailove.com – for more information, and get out there and go relax for a cause!
If you’re looking for the full resort type experience — luxury pools, gorgeous restaurants, golf course, and a renown spa — this is THE place to visit. I am personally at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa at least twice a year with my boyfriend and family because it’s one of our favorite places to go relax. Despite the property being insanely huge, it can book up completely on weekends so plan ahead — or, go mid-week. It’s what we Angelenos are good for.
If a quintessential mom-and-pop type bed and breakfast is more your cup of tea… The Lavender Inn is your destination. I stayed here just this past weekend and absolutely fell in love with its cozy home-y charm. The property was built in the 1874 and has quite possibly the best location in town as it’s located right in the heart of the Ojai downtown area. My favorite part of the stay was undoubtedly the incredible homemade breakfast and the absolute most wonderful hosts. It was the perfect place to pick for a girls trip.
If you’re looking for something a little different… perhaps a little “Instagramable”… Caravan Outpost is all that and a bag of granola. Caravan Outpost is easily one of the coolest hotel type concepts I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing because it consists of 11 renovated Air Streams! Your hotel room… is an Air Stream. Holy. Freakin. Cool. They offer bikes you can ride right into town, they’ve got an adorable shop, and places to lounge or host a dinner party – it’s basically an Angeleno’s dream come true.
If you’re looking for the perfect blend between hip and classic on the right budget –complete with a great swimming pool — Ojai Rancho Inn is just the ticket. It’s definitely another Instagrammers dream; this hotel is just more about succulents, fire places, king beds, jacuzzis, a swimming pool, and some seriously on-point interior design.
EAT & DRINK
The Nest is one of the most recent restaurants to open in Ojai, and it has quickly become one of the most favorites — especially from the local standpoint. The Nest is actually a friendly and familiar face for most Ojai natives because chef and co-owner Kiona Wachter’s father, Eric Wachter, ran and owned the original Nest concept a number of years back. Today the casual, cool, al-fresco restaurant offers everything fresh and beyond tasty from under the sun – don’t miss the brussel sprouts or the salmon tacos – and makes every dish to absolute perfection. And if you’re looking for the worlds best *and probably the healthiest* brownie… look no further. The secret is the pizza oven, and trust me you want to know what that’s all about.
This total “mom-and-pop” bakery offers artisanal pastries, desserts, daytime eats, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in a bright and cheerful setting in the heart of downtown Ojai. Menu favorites include fresh (like, real fresh) bread, cookies, homemade citrus granola, local wildflower honey, and artisanal jams. It feels like the real freakin deal — and that’s probably because it is.
Ojai Harvest is another recent newcomer to the Ojai foodie scene, and it’s an absolute wonderful addition. Located in the heart of the valley in downtown Ojai, Ojai Harvest is a collaboration between restauranteur Spoon Singh, interior designer Channon Roe, and a collection of top local chefs and farmers. Together they’ve created a rustically-styled bohemian bar and restaurant where guests can sip craft cocktails, draft beers, and wine while enjoying some truly farm-to-table fare. It’s gorgeous, delicious, and easily one of the coziest restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of dining in. Just make sure you order the fries.
“Responsibly sourced. Thoughtfully roasted.” That’s the name of Beacon Coffee’s game, and that certainly shows in the quality of their coffee. It’s a coffee bar concept we’re quite familiar with and partial to in LA — the whole places actually feels a bit like a happy extension of LA in a way — and it’s a great place to go for a fantastic coffee and a small bite to eat to help get your day started!
Have you ever walked into a place and immediately decided, “I’m home”? Between the beyond chic decor, the hammock, the hanging lights, the wine selection, and the little pink trailer out back… Tipple & Ramble had me sold on site. Part specialty items shop, part wine bar, Tipple & Ramble is Ojai’s premier wine and cheese patio with a cozy, garden tasting space. It’s absolutely impossible not to love, and it’s my personal Ojai MUST!
If you’re a fan of kombucha and you’ve never heard of “jun” style kombucha… Revel is worth the drive to Ojai alone! Jun is an effervescent living health tonic known as the “champagne of kombuchas”. The Revel owners make Jun with the finest raw honey from Heavenly Honey here in Ojai, organic green tea and their unique Jun culture. By brewing on-premises, customers can enjoy jun kombucha as soon as it reaches the perfect level of fermentation – and this ‘booch really is some next-level stuff. Come hungry though, because Revel’s açaí bowls are not to be missed either!
Founded by Richard Bartinsdale in 1964, Bart’s Books is a bookstore unlike any other, gaining recognition as one of the largest independently-owned and operated bookstores in the country. The store has become host to nearly one million books ranging from thirty-five cent specials which line the outside walls and are still for sale on the honor system, to rare, out of print first editions, and art books valued in the thousands of dollars. Bart’s is an Ojai TREASURE, and an absolute must-see.
Adventure-types can hop in a Jeep Wrangler or classic CJ-8 Scrambler for an unforgettable adventure through the back-country trails of Ojai and Santa Barbara. Offering a few different routes catered to every taste, Cloud Climbers Jeep & Wine Tours offers mountain, wine country, and sunset tours that provide a unique alternative to experiencing amazing history and breathtaking scenery of the area — *while leaving the driving to someone else. So many adventures, so little time.
Not only can you stay at the Lavender Inn… you can also get great spa services and/or take a cooking class! If there were a place I’d want to do a cooking class, it’d be here. I imagine it being quite special, quite intimate, and quite enjoyable. You can book private classes or snag a spot in one of their regularly scheduled classes – either way, it’ll be an experience and a meal to remember.
In my humble-ish opinion… not many spas in the world compare to this one. If you’re going to splurge on anything, splurge on a service at the spa at the Ojai Valley Inn – it will change your life! Maybe! Plus you’ll have access to that cute little spa pool and amenities all day, and that’s worth the cost alone if you ask me.
Attached HERE is a great walking guide to Ojai! Personal favorite shops of mine include deKor & Co. (home decor – same owners as the one in LA!), Cattywampus Crafts (you guessed it, crafts and curated goodies), In The Field (home stuff), The Lennon Chest (great vintage), and Fig Curated Living (great outdoor and home goodies).
If you have any questions, as usual, please feel free to email me, I am happy to help! Otherwise, enjoy Ojai, and go get your relaxation on.