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Spa Weekend at The Oaks at Ojai

By Sue Facter

Leave the Louboutins at home! It was a natural fit as soon as I walked into the courtyard of my private cottage at Oaks at Ojai and heard melodic sounds of the waterfall. This was so tranquil that it immediately took me away from my hectic lifestyle in the big city.  

Unless you are an Ojai insider, one would never know that a little piece of paradise is hidden inside a large white building on Ojai's downtown Main Street.

Oaks at OjaiMy quaint cottage (with a porch where I dined one night) was a one-bedroom suite with two queen beds, two closets, and a makeup table with magnifier (not that you needed any war paint on this casual weekend). The lavish bathroom included a Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, two sinks, and beautiful tiles. The living room housed a desk and wet bar, and my personal courtyard had two chaise lounges. 

oaks poolThis all-inclusive destination spa is about exercise, wellness, and nutrition. Most guests opt to retire about 10 p.m. to rise at the crack of dawn for a full day of healing without the frills of Canyon Ranch.

Not to be confused with the luxe Ojai Valley Spa, the Oaks is a more intimate retreat to relax and renew. When I first heard that I would only be consuming only 1,000 calories a day and be salt/sugar free, I had trepidations. But after my first dinner, I was sold. Between presentation and taste, not to mention the great company, strangers at first. I traveled solo.

Menus consist of natural food, locally grown fruits and veggies, homemade salad dressing and soup, all without salt or sugar in the prep. Herbs are grown in their special gardens. 

Everything is casual and you can even wear your robe to the dining room. 

Sheila Cluff, 76, ice skater and founder of the spa was the innovative entrepreneur to combine fitness and spa treatments in the day. She still teaches classes and is in phenomenal shape. The Mother of four explains her journey in her book "Living Your Dream: The Inspiring Story of Sheila."

Oaks Yoga

I had the good fortune of attending an exercise class with Cluff. Her motivation and inspiration is infectious. (She even sponsors Oaks cruises.)

Classes are divided between cardio, tone and strength and stretch and flexibility. They range from Yoga, Tai=Chi and even mountain hiking.

Ojai Farmer's Market

In fact, hikes are provided at every level pre-breakfast that encompass the lovely Ojai streets and trails. One day, our scheduled hike took us through the set up of the town's weekly Saturday Farmers Market.

The traditional spa area is small, but the experience is enormous. Anna a skin care specialist, gave me a Skin Authority facial which took 10 years off this weary mug! Upon a former guest's recommendation, I had an anti-aging facial in the evening, so I would hit the sack and immediately go into la la land. There are menu items geared to women like an Ojai Pixie Tangerine Scrub. 

Upcoming events and theme weeks Cycle Ojai, Dance Week, Water Week, Healthy Holiday Eating, Mother/Daughter Week and Wild Hiking Week. 

The Oaks at Ojai is at 122 E Ojai Ave. in Ojai. 805.646.5573.  

Savor the Central Coast

Wine and food lovers can look forward to a culinary trip of a lifetime September 24-27 in San Luis Obispo County at Sunset, SAVOR the Central Coast.

California's four-day premier food, wine, travel and lifestyle event is offering a SAVOR VIP Getaway Package by Martin Resorts. 

With the package you’ll get an exclusive all-access pass to Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, and it includes accommodations at one of the luxe Martin Resorts coastal California hotels. VIP guests will enjoy intimate wine tastings, meet and greets with celebrity chefs and Sunset editors, VIP admission and early entry to the opening night spectacular Strings at Sunset, and the iconic Main Event at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch – as well as VIP upgrades.

Package highlights include:

Two tickets to Strings at Sunset Opening Night Party with VIP Early Access: On September 24, Strings at Sunset takes center stage at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre for a music, food and wine experience featuring tastings of medal-winning wines from the Sunset International Wine Competition, incredible theatrical performances from award-winning musical artists String Theory and DJ Violinist SPAGS, and mouthwatering tasting stations from celebrity chefs, including Mary Sue Milliken, James Siao, Joanne Weir and Brigit Binns. VIPs receive access to the private "Sparkle Lounge," reserve wine tastings, enhanced seating, lots of bubbles and more!  

Two tickets to an Adventure Tour of your Choice: These immersive day trips give culinary enthusiasts an intimate and hands-on opportunity to discover San Luis Obispo County's distinct regions through food, wine, and unique outings. Meet majestic Clydesdales, sip on Ciders in Atascadero, take a kayaking adventure in Morro Bay, enjoy a vineyard lunch at Halter Ranch, channel your inner muse at Paso Robles Inn, explore behind-the-scenes at Hearst Castle, and much more.

Two Main Event VIP Weekend Passes: On September 26 and 27, head towards the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, a food and wine lover's paradise featuring bites and demonstrations from celebrity and master chefs, Sunset expert editors, brew masters and artisanal food producers, live music, Artists Village and more!  VIP guests are also treated to early entry and prime parking.

Two tickets to Winemaker Central and Chef Central: Package holders receive premier seating at their choice of educational seminars, tastings and cooking demonstrations led by celebrity chefs, Sunset editors, winemakers, sommeliers, and industry experts during the Main Event. Arrive early and secure one of Martin Resorts' specially reserved "Best Seats in the House!"

Three nights lodging at your choice of Martin Resorts destination properties in Pismo Beach or Avila Beach: While reservations last, Martin Resorts Properties available for booking include: Paso Robles Inn, Inn at the Cove, Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge, and Avila Lighthouse Suites. Discover Pismo Beach's best-kept secret at The Inn at the Cove with all ocean-view rooms and private beach access. Steps from the sand in Avila Beach, Avila Lighthouse Suites offers an all-suite oceanfront retreat. Guests can relax while enjoying the ultimate beach getaway at the only all-suite hotel in Pismo Beach, Pismo Lighthouse Suites. Watch the sea life in an oceanfront guest room or in the largest heated oceanfront pool in Pismo Beach at Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge.

Secured spot on premier shuttles to the Main Event from several convenient locations throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Packages range from $1,810 - $2,265, depending on selection of hotel and room type. To reserve, call concierge service at 805.312.9141. For more information about VIP tickets click here.

To purchase tickets and for more information about Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast VIP packages, and the 2015 event schedule, visit savorcentralcoast.

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