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Reviewed 29 March 2006

I recently booked a stay at the Oaks at Ojai after reading a positive reviews from a travel publication. I am absolutely convinced that the review must have been based on a visit that took place in another era---perhaps in the 70s when this place must have reached its peak. This month alone I have visited four hotels: two for business; one for "pleasure" which was to be the Oaks and a really lovely inn a few blocks from the Oaks where I fled after arriving at this "spa." Because it's billed as a budget spa I expected spartan, but clean rooms and basic facilities in a nice setting. What they don't mention is that the spa is situated on the main street in Ojai and traffic noise is a non-stop whether you're in your room or trying to relax by the pool. As I was waiting to talk to the manager a young couple was complaining about the traffic noise in their room and was told "it dies down at night." The facility is in desperate need of a major renovation and seems to be undergoing one with construction taking place in part of the building, while they continue to book the old rooms. The room I was assigned was tiny, dark and dingy with a filthy carpet that smelled of mold and was actually sticky. I figured a little air might help matters so I opened my window only to find that it didn't open to the outside but rather to an interior corridor. I can honestly say I have never seen a more disgusting hotel room and I've travelled pretty extensively. Were it a youth hostel, one would make due but for $230/night I felt absolutely taken for a ride. After politely asking for a full refund and being refused I booked at a local B&B and returned the next day to ask once more if they would reconsider the refund. I was refunded all but $100, and unlike the previous manager the person on duty acknowledged the problem and wanted to work to find a resolution. Even with the partial refund this was a very expensive mistake given the flight, car rental and new hotels that I had to book to cover the week. As another review mentioned a better bet would be to visit the Ojai Inn and Spa down the road as a day visitor and stay in one of Ojai's B&B.

18  Thank MimiCSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2006

What most impressed me about the Oaks was the quality of attitude. People really seem to care about creating a caring and supportive environment. And if they don't get some of the details right on occasion, well I guess I can manage to deal with that.
The City of Ojai is a terrific place surrounded by mountains, National Forest, orange groves, hiking trails, filled with art galleries and other interesting shops- you get the drift. The Oaks facilities are dated, but they are working on improvements. My daughter and I shared a small, comfortable room.
The fitness program serves people (mostly women) with a wide range of ages, physical conditions and abilities. In serving this disparate group the Oaks fitness program comes up short in meeting the interests of the very fit (and also maybe those who really need rehabilitative, personal fitness training). But when you find yourself in this big, strange group of women something neat and really positive happens.
The food is generally very good for healthy, diet food. (Ycch.)
Good news for folks in good shape and looking for a challenge is that you can complement the program at the Oaks with the offerings (spinning, yoga, tennis, etc) of the Ojai Athletic Club, yoga classes at Lulu Bandhas, running or biking on the Ojai Valley Trail- all within walking distance. And you can arrange for spectacular hikes in the nearby national forests. You just have to spend a little time getting the info from the folks at the front desk.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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12  Thank Experience17813
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2006

Spent a week at the Oaks to unwind from a stressful job. Was my first time at a health spa, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I chose the Oaks because it was a good value in comparison to other destination spas, even when including airfare from New York.
Upon arrival, I was immediately struck by how friendly the staff was. My room, though basic, was comfortable and clean. Quality of the exercise classes offered were high, ranging from easy for beginners, to intermediate in difficulty. Do several in a row, though, and you get a really intense workout. There was a good variety offered throught the day, often with a choice of 2 at the same time slot. Instructors were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
Food I was impressed with as well. For only 1,000 calories, it managed to be tasty and varied well each day. I myself wasn't there for the diet, and was able to wander off-site each day to supplement what was offered.
As for the services, they offer several different types of massage and facials. The stone massage, in particular, was excellent. I also had a Reiki session with Amina, and it was great. Sports massage would have been nice to see on the roster as well, but is not offered. The salon is decent as well. I had a pedicure, but with no nail dryer, I was forced to wait around for an hour before I could put on my sneakers and get back to work!
The Oaks is situated right in the center of Ojai, which also made it nice to to go out for a stroll. There are ample shops, restaurants, parks and art galleries to keep one well entertained otherwise. A week at one place is a long time for me, but I never grew bored.
All in all, I was very impressed with my stay. I arrived ragged and burnt-out, and left revived. If you're looking to relax and get a great workout, or lose weight, check out the Oaks!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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10  Thank whiskerpudding
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2006

My boyfriend and I spent two nights at The Oaks in January. Fortunately, staying at this place was his idea. Believe the other reviews: this place is not man friendly. That said, I was looking forward to kick starting my workout regimen for the new year.

There are other problems, however. Their reservation system seemed out of whack. First we planned to stay four nights knowing that we would have to move to another room after the first two nights. (We made our plans rather last minute.) Toward the end of the second day, my boyfriend stopped to talk to the MOD (manager on duty, that they're always blathering about) and she said we could stay another night in the room we had. That information seemed to be in error and we were pretty much booted out the next morning.

The room we had was very nice but it was obviously one of the three newer cottages. The others looked pretty dismal ... at least from the outside. The price of the room we had was high and so makes their claim of "affordable" not so accurate.

The facilites are pretty minimal. There is one "gym" and if they are fully booked it gets very crowded for the popular morning "Mind/Body Awareness" and afternoon "Stretch Relaxation." The "weight room" is just the hall and the spa area quite small. The tub in our room was about the same size as the one in the spa!

The classes are definitely not for those looking for a good sweat. The schedule is heavy on Yoga and low impact work. There is one cardio class per day. Also, they must communicate some of the activities via smoke signal or something we weren't clued in to. The bike tours were not mentioned to us when we checked in and therefore the one scheduled during our stay was full by the time we knew about it. There was also an 8am water aerobics class I walked by one morning but never saw anything about it in the schedule.

Beware, there is not enough equipment. I was going to take the 'cardio hoops' but there were not enough hoops. In the muscle conditioning class there were not enough step risers for everyone to have a bench to lay on.

The food is OK. As someone else pointed out, you are trying to lose weight. And with this food, that's not so hard to do. They were full when we were there and the dining room gets very crowded and loud. They say that meals are served for an hour but if you're not there within the first 20 minutes there's hardly a place to sit.

I don't think the prices at the Oaks are low enough to warrant the run down aspect of the cottages (screens falling out, etc.), the lack of equipment or the lackadaisical attitude of the front desk/management staff. If you're in relatively good shape (I'm 50 and could lose 15 pounds) you won't get enough of a workout, or a large offering of classes.

The day we left we went over to the Ojai Valley Inn had a lovely lunch and felt like we'd been let out of jail!!

  • Stayed: January 2006
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15  Thank WhiteDahlia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2006

Expect dated facilities and unresponsive service from the Oaks at Ojai, but lots of fitness classes, nice guests, and good food.

The service was not what you'd expect from a first class resort charging first class resort rates. The other guests were very friendly and unassuming, but the staff was unresponsive and borderline rude. As an example, the electricity went out in our room during our stay. They did give us keys to another room to stay in, but did not offer us a bellman to help us move, did not offer us a flashlight to help us find our things in the room (it was evening), nor did they offer us an umbrella (the rooms are outside and it was pouring rain). Then, when we entered the new room, the bathroom had not been cleaned from the prior guest. This is only one example. They were also rude at check-in, and other times that we approached the front desk.

The facilities were very dated. It definitely looks like a throwback to the 1980's. The rooms were fine, but not first class.

What is nice about this place is that it does have a very friendly clientele and the food is healthy and good. There are also a lot of fitness classes to join.

In general, we were very diappointed with the experience, and will not be coming back.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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12  Thank Sightseer19994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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