Girlfriend Getaway, Part Three: Cheap Thrills at The Oaks at Ojai

I’m just back from a week of being so very, very good.

A spa vacation at the Oaks at Ojai just doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for getting into trouble. Meals are healthy and plentiful, totally adequate but, by design, not terribly tempting. Snacks like fresh fruit, herbal teas, broths and popcorn are available in the main room, appropriately named the “Winner’s Circle,” throughout the day.

In other words, all the calorie counted dishes kept me from fudging my numbers. I looked at my three squares as an opportunity to fuel up and enjoy chats with my interesting fellow spa-ers minus the guilty feelings that often come from making bad food choices.

The pool is clean, utilitarian and the best place to engage in aerobic moves sans muscle strains for the slightly out of shape (moi!) as we burned fat with a great water work-out. Getting up with the chickens ( 7:00 am ) for a brisk 60-minute walk or a good hike was the true test of my endurance…but, I did it!! How could I not when one morning our guide was the founder of the Oaks, Sheila Cluff , who makes becoming a Septugarian look like great fun. Sheila is a tiny Tinkerbelle who exudes pixie energy, with the face and bod I wished I had when I was 22! She’s the best advertisement possible for a healthy visit to the Oaks. To look and feel like Sheila… now, that would be a very good thing.

Classes are just what they should be for….a spa newbie, a little older spa- gal (lots of ladies were in their 50’s and 60’s ++) and any girl who likes to come back from vacation with a little change in her pocket. With over 18 daily exercise classes, including some lovely night time yoga before bed, a guest can pick her passion-or poison. In otherwords, go easy or up the ante….you know the drill, listen to your body.

Now, a word for the spa treatments. I opted for the Ojai River Rock massage and my pal went for the basic Swedish massage. Both were fine, not top-of-the- line, but fair value for their resonable price. The real treat was afterwards, when sleepy and relaxed, we toddled straight away to our suite.

Rooms are fine, not plush, but clean, with TVs, middle of the road toiletries and comfortable, though not luxurious beds and bedding. Throughout the Oaks I would have appreciated more visual temptations — the decor is too “casual Friday” for my taste. Still, by the number of repeat guests, it seemed apparent to me that the always booked up Oaks meets the needs of most by a landslide.

Talks on a variety of subjects were enthusiastically attended. We heard a local historian regale us with tales of how Ojai Valley began — it was fun to hear grist from the local gossip mill.

The Oaks in a Nutshell:
While no Canyon Ranch the Oaks has an important place in the Spa World. Frill free, user-friendly and non-threatening it offers an all inclusive spa vacation. Meals, classes, activities and spa facilities all included in the price. Treatments are an add on cost. Staff is helpful, kind and encouraging. Go for the basics and with the certain knowledge that this is one spa trip where you won’t need to break the bank.

The Oaks At Ojai
T: 800.753.OAKS (6257).

By Vagablond’s Token Redhead.

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