The Oaks in Ojai is a health and fitness spa primarily designed for the executive woman. That doesn’t mean men and women who are not in the business world aren’t as welcome. It’s just that The Oaks’ founder and director, Sheila Cluff, designed the program around the working woman who is in fairly good shape, but wants to get into even better condition and learn how to manage her diet and exercise while reducing stress and increasing positivity.
Sheila Cluff has done this all her life, as she’s run several businesses including The Oaks and professionally competing as a figure skater, all while raising a family. Even in her 70s, Sheila still competes on the ice and not only runs The Oaks, but teaches nine fitness classes every week!
The Oaks is located in Ojai, a beautiful green valley north of Los Angeles, known for its orchards and top notch educational facilities. The Oaks was once a thriving hotel, which lost its luster in the ‘30s. It wasn’t until the ‘70s, however, that Sheila took it over and turned it into one of Southern California’s most popular fitness destinations. There are guests from all over the country, Canada, even as far away as Europe.
Most clients come for at least a week at a time, to take advantage of all the facility has to offer. Your reservation includes your room, all meals, snacks, exercise classes, the use of the pool and spa, and evening activities. You don’t even need to tip. The only item not covered is a treatment or salon service, of which they have in abundance, from a Lemongrass Lavender Pedispa to a Hot River Rock Massage!
You can reserve a simple twin double room in the main lodge, which runs $240 per night per person, a large private room for $400 per night per person or the most deluxe accommodation: a mini spa suite for $500 per night per person. Each room is unique with its own special features. Some come with a Jacuzzi tub and separate shower…others with their own private patios. But they all have beautiful furnishings, Spanish tiled baths, hair dryers, TVs and internet access.
Daily activities include Mind, Body, Awareness, Top to Bottom Toning, Dance, Yoga, Pool Exercise, Hikes and even Rollerblading! Personal trainers are also available at an additional charge.
In the evening you may want to watch a film in the lounge while munching popcorn (butter free, of course), listen to seminars on healing, fashion and business, or play bingo which takes place every Friday evening with Sherry the Bingo Queen officiating.
It’s worth playing just to experience Sherry, who’s been with The Oaks since 1979! Others at The Oaks have been there 25 years! You’ll find a list of daily activities on the bulletin board in the lobby. There’s even a pair of reading glasses hanging there, so no need to bring your own.
The meals are delicious and satisfying even though you’ll be on a 1-thousand calorie a day food plan. Men and athletes: you’ll probably have your daily intake increased. But because you’re either eating or snacking several times throughout the day, you’ll never feel hungry.
The menus, created by cuisine director and chef, Christine Denney, feature natural foods, locally grown produce, homemade dressings, salsas and soups…all without added salt or refined sugar. Many items are gluten free, including their famous muffins, which are also available for purchase, as are other items from the kitchen and several spa cookbooks.
There’s also a Health Center, open in the mornings, where you can speak to a health expert about any dietary restrictions or concerns you may have before beginning an exercise program.
There are also special events during the year with a specific focus, such as Dance Week, Yoga Weekend, Golf Week, Mother/Daughter Weeks, a His/Her Week around Father’s Day where they’ll provide investment and other financial seminars in additional to the daily routine. And if you happen to book a room during your birthday month for a 2-night stay you’ll receive half off your first night.
There are books to read, CDs to listen to, board games and puzzles galore, and lots of friendly people, most who’ve been at The Oaks before and can help you acclimate.
If you’ve never tried Qi Gong, Watsu or Reiki, now’s your chance. Go to The Oaks’ website if you haven’t even heard of these. You certainly will come away with a new awareness of your body and how to maintain it. That’s one of Sheila Cluff’s goals: to teach her guests how to take The Oaks home with them, utilizing what they’ve learned at her retreat.
Visit The Oaks in Ojai website for more information.
805 646 5573
122 E. Ojai Ave.
Ojai, CA 93023
Published on Dec 23, 2013