If you follow me on IG, you probably saw my Ojai spam. But WOW this place is truly a gem. After a crazy 8 months of a remodel and a move, Robb and I decided to go on a getaway that did not require flights or difficult travel plans. What was crazy was how booked and expensive it is to go anywhere right now as the world opens up…. Because of that, we decided to do something within driving distance and our goal was to simply relax. There are a few resorts I really want to stay at along the CA Central Coast, but everything was booked or was going for over $2,000 a night.
I had been dreaming of going to Ojai to stay at the Ojai Valley Inn for quite some time. When I started doing some research online, I found that they only had availability in the middle of a week, which typically we wouldn’t do since we are horrible at taking time off work lol, but we bit the bullet and booked a stay from Sunday – Wednesday.
Here is a day by day overview of what we did, what we loved and what we would recommend if you are planning a trip to the Central Coast or Ojai in particular. Without ruining the story, let’s just say that we’re already planning on going back!!
DAY 1: Drove down the 101 Highway to Montecito for Dinner at Lucky’s.
Lucky’s is a charming steakhouse restaurant located in the quaint downtown of Montecito, CA (just south of Santa Barbara). It has an old Hollywood vibe and honestly the people watching here is true entertainment (I was hoping to see Prince Harry, but I guess he is laying low right now. Wonder why?). The menu consists of standard steakhouse options- all cuts of meat, seafood, and a la carte sides (a few vegetarian options too!). They also have incredible cocktails and a great wine list. The food was a 3.5/5 for me (Mastro’s still represents), but I would come back again for the ambiance, service and location- I just love Montecito. Highly recommended for a nice, premium dinner experience! 4.5/5
DAY 2: Ojai – Explore
Located right outside the inn, Topa Mountain Winery is a cute, outdoor/indoor winery that offers wine tasting flights, as well as bottles and wine by the glass. We decided to stop here to relax in the beautiful outdoor space and try some of their wine. We both did a tasting flight and sat outside by the pretty vineyards– it’s a very cute and trendy outdoor space and spread out. This place would be absolutely perfect on the weekend with some live music! I always love doing a tasting flight and I actually really enjoyed their 2020 Rose. They don’t have any real food options (only a few snacks), so next time we would bring our own crackers and dips. We later found a market down the street where you’d be able to grab some goodies. Overall, the wine wasn’t amazing, but we did love getting to sit outside, taste some new wines and take in the scenery. The one thing that did stand out was their Froze! Just imagine a Rose flavored Icee with a champagne floater on top. Amazing! The staff were also very friendly and gave us tips on places to try locally in the area. I definitely recommend stopping by if you’re ever in Ojai- you must make a reservation on their website! 4/5
After we checked out some wine, we decided to explore the grounds of the resort we were staying at, The Ojai Valley Inn. This place is simply amazing. Located one mile from downtown, every area of this resort reveals views of some of California’s gorgeous untouched hills that surround the valley. The resort itself has a very Spanish-colonial architectural feel. It is a true zen vibe to me. The lush landscape, golf course, spa and restaurants all fit perfectly together- you literally don’t have to leave the resort and you can rent free bikes to bike around the property or to downtown! After we walked the grounds, we ended up booking massages at the spa, grabbed a cocktail by one of their many fire pits and enjoyed French fries at one of the casual restaurants called Jimmy’s Pub (SO BOMB). We then headed back to the room for a nap before dinner- a blissful afternoon and this resort is worth every penny. 5/5
The Oak Restaurant: After a much needed nap, we headed to dinner at an on-site restaurant called The Oak. When we checked in, we actually got the last reservation available for that evening- this place was poppin! Located right in the main area of the resort, this is an indoor/outdoor restaurant that offers sweeping views of the golf course and beautiful hills, also surrounded by amazing oak trees. We sat on the outdoor deck that had enough heaters to keep me warm without my jacket. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and I was excited to find that a lot of their ingredients are sourced from their on-site garden. It’s a farm to table style menu. I ordered vegan enchiladas with black beans and sweet potatoes (they were also gluten free!) and Robb ordered the short ribs. Both of our meals were solid and we also just really enjoyed the ambiance (it’s also a dog friendly resort and we met some doodles!) I definitely recommend dining here if you ever stay at the resort- next time I want to try their breakfast! 4/5
DAY 3: Ojai- Pool Day
Day 3 we were committed to just relax. I woke up, used the on-site gym and grabbed a coffee. We then rented the bikes to ride around a bit and then headed to the adult pool called Indigo. This pool spot on the property also offers amazing views of the hills and has plenty of cabanas, lounge chairs and space to just chill.We ordered drinks, snacks and literally just laid out, swam and talked all day. The service was awesome and there were just great vibes all around. There are two other pools on the property- one at the spa (both a lap pool and tranquility pool) and another big pool where kids are allowed. We’re glad we chose here to hang out all day- it was just what we needed.
Before dinner, we walked downtown to check out the shops and streets. We stumbled upon Topa Topa Brewing Co before our dinner reservation and decided to give it a try. It was crowded for a weeknight, but we found a spot at the hightop. I am not a big beer drinker but they had a gluten-free rice beer and seltzer options. I opted to sample a few since we were headed to dinner, but they were really good and the space was super trendy, open and had a lot of outdoor seating- you could tell there were a lot of locals. We will definitely be back – they also have a food counter inside the brewery that apparently has amazing food! 4/5
Osteria Monte Grappa: For dinner, we decided to try a local Italian spot. We had heard great things about this place. It definitely has a casual vibe and is located in an old building that used to be a supermarket with a patio in the back- you can immediately tell this building has been around since the early 1900’s. The menu has something for everyone- pizza, pasta, SO many awesome salads (must try more of them), vegan options, gluten-free options and so on. I was STOKED! They have cocktails and wine too. We shared two salads (SO FRESH) and Robb ordered a pizza and pasta (classic) and I ordered a vegan pesto spaghetti squash. All of the food was incredible- fresh, tasty and we are already planning on what we will order when we come back lol. There is another fine dining Italian restaurant in town too, but if you’re looking for a casual option with incredible food at an even better price point, this is your spot. Our waiter was also super sweet and we had a great time! 5/5
Our last and final day we hit up the spa for a massage and this experience was nothing short of amazing. If you do get a chance to come to this hotel, do not miss the spa!! Even if it’s just for a pedicure….the amenities are incredible. There is a pool with healthy food, and men and women’s locker rooms with hot tubs, sauna, steam room, cold pool, and much more. All of it was amazing, including the massages (I got a basic Swedish massage and Robb got a deep tissue). The massages are accompanied with fresh fragrances of lavender and citrus from the valley and it is exquisite. We were in heaven and after our massages, just hung by the pool trying to delay our departure for as long as possible. We wish we were staying another 4 days! 5/5
All in all, Ojai was just a GREAT trip and we can’t WAIT to go back (legit want to get married here!!) Highly recommend checking it out and considering it for a great, quick trip if your local to Southern California. If you have any questions or are heading that way, let me know. You will love it. Pink approved.