All about Jess + California + Health Retreats + Healthy Travel

A gorgeous weekend at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

06 December 2014
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It’s been an exciting season in my life, and between travel, meetings, regular days in clinic with my beautiful clients, and preparing for next year’s publication of The Clean Life, my body was in need of a little rejuvenation. I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the US last month to meet with some of my favourite American health gurus, writers and publications, and after a week of solid meetings, it was time to relax.

When I told people I was going to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, I was met with a unanimous response: “It is the best!” I am happy to report that they were right! This truly magical area just an hour drive north of Los Angeles was the perfect place to pause and reconnect with myself and the beauty surrounding me.


We arrived in the evening after a gorgeous drive along the California coast, eventually weaving into the mountains of this quaint but gorgeous town. Even in the twilight, the beautiful white buildings Ojai Valley Inn and Spa stood out against the mountains, and I was so charmed by our little villa. The staff could not have been more welcoming and accommodating.


After a warm bath in the huge spa tub (they provided lavender bath salts and incredible aromatherapy oils!) I settled into a cozy white robe and enjoyed a relaxing evening of room service (delish salads and perfectly crispy Brussels sprouts!) and chatting with my two girlfriends.

The next morning we decided to join a stretch class to warm up before stopping for tea at and joining a guided walk around the grounds and into the town of Ojai. In the sunshine we could fully appreciate the beauty of the Inn and Spa – the white villas against the bright blue sky, green mountains and green golf course. Something we didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate, but definitely a draw for many inn guests!


When we returned from our walk in nature with the squirrels (so cute!) we took a rejuvenating yoga class in the Mind & Body Studio. It felt delicious to stretch after such a busy few days – lots of time in downward dog and pigeon poses! We arranged several treatments for later in the day and then decided to do some exploring.

Farmer and the Cook, just a short drive from the Inn and Spa, was recommended to us for their legendary juices and smoothies. We were so impressed! The menu was filled with healthy blends as well as Mexican-themed brunch dishes. While our smoothies were being made, we explored the adorable indoor market – packed with local produce picked just down the road as well as other treats like teas, nuts and baked goods. Our smoothies of choice were Scarrot Cake and Chai-On – absolutely delish! I love that they add cashews for extra creaminess!

farmercookBack at the Inn and Spa, I enjoyed some time relaxing in the sauna and hot tub chatting and relaxing with my girlfriends before it was time for my treatment – a decadent Himalayan Salt Stone Massage. It was the ultimate in relaxation! A full body massage that uses Himalayan Salt Stones, which they ethically source from 250 million year old pristine crystalline deposits to calm and balance the central nervous system. Sounds out-of-this-world, doesn’t it? It was even more amazing than I expected. The warm Himalayan Salt Stones contain essential minerals that exfoliated and softened my skin, leaving me with a gorgeous glow and sense of total peace and zen. And I absolutely loved that I got to keep the stones used in my treatment – they inspire me to make time for healing rituals to keep my body’s energy pathways open and alive.


Feeling positively wobbly with relaxation after my massage, it was time for a fresh, healthy lunch at the spa’s Café Verde. Their festive menu features organic and locally grown produce – fresh salads, fish and lots of Asian-themed dishes were available. We enjoyed our lunch on the garden terrace overlooking the pool – while it was too chilly to use the beautiful pool, there is also a poolside menu of made-to-order pressed juices and smoothies! For lunch I enjoyed a crisp chopped salad with grilled chicken, avocado and a Dijon mustard dressing – delish.


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We spent the afternoon exploring the artist cottage and apothecary – incredible classes are offered there for all ages – relaxing on the patio outside our villa enjoying the sunshine and mountains – and seeing the preparation for a gorgeous wedding!

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We decided to celebrate with aloe vera shots before a drive to the coast to explore Santa Barbara (and have dinner at Oprah’s favourite restaurant, Trattoria Mollie!)


Refreshed after an amazing sleep in a big, cozy bed, we were excited to learn that Ojai’s weekly farmers’ market was being held that morning. I love to visit and explore markets when I travel – it’s so much fun to see the produce and fresh items that are local and beloved in that area. We bid a fond farewell to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, found a lovely organic coffee shop down the road, and then hit the market. So much fresh produce (that, of course, I couldn’t bring home with me) but such fun to browse!



It was the perfect way to wrap up a restful and totally rejuvenating weekend at what is truly one of the most beautiful settings for a health resort I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a health retreat the entire family will love, count me among those who now immediately say “Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is the best!”

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