hot stone massage at Oaks at Ojai

As you’ve probably already seen, I’ve written about the Oaks at Ojai and its surprising spa cuisine, but I’ve just got to give one last shout out to yet another piece of perfection at this place – the spaaaaaaaaaah.

Branded for decades as an affordable fitness and weight loss destination spa, the Oaks at Ojai seems to have gained the best of its reputation with the “fitness and weight loss” part of the brand. Given that the Oaks offers about 15 fitness classes a day, and serves up creative meals and snacks that still fall under the 1,200-calorie daily mark, it’s easy to see why visitors would be more focused on that aspect of the Oaks equation.

Fact is, though, the Oaks at Ojai is also a world-class spa, the likes of which I really haven’t enjoyed anywhere else.

When I signed in for a 3-day stay at the Oaks, I expected all the fitness and healthy eating, but I didn’t really put a lot of thought into the spa side of things. (And I LOVE spas.) I signed up for two treatments – a 90-minute “Skin Authority” facial one evening, and a 90-minute Himalayan Hot Salt Sone massage the next.

Normally, any time I’m at a resort during my travels, I get a spa treatment of some sort. I’ve found, though, that most treatments I receive are somewhat generic and businesslike. While it’s always enjoyable, I usually feel that I’m in a people mill, just churning along in the daily route of so many guests receiving treatments.

Not so at the Oaks. These are world class professionals who just happen to know the entire definition – beginning to end – of “coddling.”

skin authority facial at Oaks at OjaiThe Oaks has partnered with Skin Authority, a vast line of high level skin care products, so my aesthetician first talked through what I normally use (Arbonne, love it), as well as what she recommended. From there, it was as custom as it gets, with more than 10 masks that cleaned, exfoliated, toned, hydrated and more. In between all the masks, it was steam, cool and warm cloths with essential oils, and glorious massaging of my neck, shoulders, arms, calves and feet (happy sigh).

Good glory.

The next evening it was just more of the same pampering with – undeniably – the best hot stone massage I’ve ever received. Where sometimes a hot stone treatment can become more about fiddling with and clacking rocks about, my gal deftly handled those stones like nothing I’ve ever felt or seen. From beginning to end, it was 90 minutes of heavenly heaven.

The Oaks offers about 12 facials, scrubs, “fit and firming” treatments, slimming body treatments and even an Ojai Olive Oil Soufflé treatment. Massages range from from Swedish to sports, Reiki, aromatherapy, pregnancy, acupressure, and river rock and salt stone. The Oaks also has an onsite salon for mani/pedis and hair services.


The Oaks at Ojai has been given the “Best Destination Spa” award by Spa Magazine (small wonder). And, although the Oaks at Ojai offers singular “Fitness Spa Days” and “Days of Pampering” for locals and people staying at other, nearby resorts, there’s no way this place is receiving the kind of foot traffic it deserves for such phenomenal treatments. Even if I’m not able to interest my girlfriends into a few days in the “fitness and weight loss” focus of the Oaks, you can bet I’ll be bringing my gaggle of girls for spa treatments at the Oaks on a regular basis. Even from Laguna Beach, this is definitely worth the road trek.

Kudos to Founder Shelia Cluff, who decided to introduce European style body treatments into her plans for a retreat that offered fitness and healthy eating, combined. And further kudos to daughter, Cathy Cluff, for only ensuring that the pampering gets better and better.

Check out what the Oaks has to offer at their website, or call (800) 753-6257.

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