Suggested Itinerary for a day of luxury and fanciness in Ojai:
Relax at Spa Ojai at the Ojai Valley Inn
Wine tasting around the arcade at Ojai Vineyard, Majestic Oak Vineyard and Casa Barranca tasting rooms
Chef’s choice 5 course dinner at a fancy restaurant
I celebrated my 35th birthday super fancy, Epic Ojai style with a morning at the Ojai Valley Inn spa, afternoon wine tasting downtown (plus a little shopping), and dinner with my hubby at the historic Ojai Ranch House.
This was my first ladies’ spa day at the Ojai Valley Inn… and ever. I’d describe the experience as something between feeling like a Moroccan princess at the royal bathhouse and an adult fetus floating in a deep, expansive womb: lush turquoise robes, indoor clothing optional hot tub, wet sauna (8 thumbs down, too womb like) and dry sauna, lavender infused iced facial towels, vodka lavender lemonade ($$$ but worth it), 2 outdoor pools and hot tubs, heavenly showers with fancy soaps, and magical complimentary white/dark chocolate chip trail mix and tea in the co-ed lounge. If you’ve never been, go.
Wine tasting at the OjaI Vineyard and Majestic Oak Vineyard tasting rooms were also a new experience- we ran out of time for Casa Barranca, whoops. My friend is a member of the Ojai Vineyard Wine Club and treated us to 3 tastings through her membership and a BYO cheese, olive and bread picnic inside the modern and cozy tasting room. I enjoyed all the wines in our flight, which included a white wine made from grapes from a bio-dynamic vineyard (they get all their grapes from Ojai and Santa Barbara County vineyards).
The location of the Magestic Oak Vineyard tasting room below the street level and under a huge sycamore makes it very unique and charming. I like that their wines are crafted from the grapes they grew, but a few of the tastings made me think of Harry Potter jelly bean flavors- smoke, sulfur, seaweed, no booger at least- but in the pleasant setting, it was all in fun.
Dinner at the Ojai Ranch House was not good- sorry, Ranch House- I really, really wanted to like it. I picked this restaurant for my birthday dinner in part to check out the many decorative tributes to the Ojai artist, Beatrice Wood, because I was born at her house. My husband and I both ordered the chef’s choice 5 course dinner. I thought the butternut squash soup was boring, the arugula salad limp, the filet mignon had a coating of charcoal, and the dessert was too sweet to eat. There’s something about spending a couple day’s wages on a single meal that makes me extra snoody. The outdoor seating in the bamboo garden was of course lovely, but it seemed like a futile mission for the servers to get a hot meal to us in the cold weather.
We had a much better experience at Nocciola on our anniversary. We went with the chef’s choice option as well and were served 10 different courses in total, compared to 7 at the Ranch House, all perfectly cooked, all super fancy, some slightly exotic, and all beautifully presented. Both restaurants serve organic produce and organic, humanely raised meats, but chef’s choice is not a good option for vegetarians. At Nocciola, we probably ate like 8 different, very cute animals in one meal like a couple of evil villains.
In summary, treat yourself to a spa day at the Ojai Valley Inn at least once in your life, give yourself more than 3 hours to enjoy wine tasting so you make it to at least the Ojai Vineyard, Majestic Oak Vineyard and Casa Barranca tasting rooms, and skip the Ranch House unless dropping $150-$300 on dinner is NBD to you. Or just pack some food and spend your entire day at the spa!
Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
At the time of writing this, a day pass to Spa Ojai costs $75. Their lowest price service is a communal Kuyama sauna with clay for $85, a day pass is $20 extra Friday-Sunday. The Ojai Valley Inn is also a great place to get a drink in the evening at Jimmy’s Pub. The path to the pub is beautiful after dark and you can take your drink and relax at the outdoor fireplace.
Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room
Majestic Oak Vineyard Tasting Room
Casa Barranca Organic Winery Tasting Room
Topa Mountain Winery
Ojai Alisal wine tasting at Azu Restaurant & Bar
Boccali Vineyard wine tasting at Boccali’s Restaurant (seasonal)
Photo Credit: Amy Joy Bakken