What do you do when your boss a.k.a. an amazing human being pays for a 3-day, 2-night vacay in Ojai, California? You (might) mispronounce the name a couple of times, pack your suitcase with your favorite red flannel and a pair of overalls, and make the short two-hour road trip (fueled by coffee, of course) to the quaint and adorable city.
I was so lucky to receive this holiday gift to stay at the Ojai Rancho Inn, a 1950s lodging that was renovated by the husband-and-wife team behind Shelter Social Club. From the moment I pulled into the parking lot, marked by an upside-down, triangular sign surrounded by a garden of succulents, I knew I was in love. The lobby was charming, with a blazing fireplace and its mantle adorned with an array of potted plants, and other aesthetically beautiful objects scattered throughout that made my inner Instagram fiend squeal with joy.
The woman checking us in was clearly a free spirit, as many inhabitants of Ojai are known to be. Apparently, she had been a guest at the inn only a couple of months ago, had fallen in love, and never left. She gave us an incense stick to burn on the ashtray on our porch table that had the kind of earthy, smokey fragrance that makes your muscles ease and your mind blank.
From the outside, the inn looks unassuming. But upon entering the room, well, I have to admit–I instantly reached for my phone like a cowboy reaches for his holster. My eyes were instantly drawn to the wooden bed frame nestling the king-sized mattress, snug in pristine white sheets, and the jacuzzi (which was fully taken advantage of) located in the corner of the room. Above the frame is artwork by Adam Pogue and All For the Mountain. The intricate lamps are designed by Heather Levine, and the indigo tie-dye curtains are creations of Lookout & Wonderland.
A pair of beautiful woven leather chairs, by local artist Eric Trine, sits on each room’s individual porch, both seats sunken in likely from previous guests who spent their nights sharing stories and beers in the crisp Ojai air.
Outside of the room–if you ever want to leave it, that is–you’ll find bicycles for rental, and the Chief’s Peak bar, adjacent to the pool. I took a glance into the bar, which didn’t fail to impress with its own unique ambiance. The pool area was preserved from its original state from the 1950s roadhouse, upgraded with deck chairs, stringed lights and modern design accents. Behind the pool house is a large backyard with a community table, BBQ, and a stage–the makings of a perfect summer night enjoying good company, food, and music.
Needless to say, the Ojai Rancho Inn and its locale did not disappoint. Experiencing the delicious food and beverages at Ojai Beverage Co., driving up to catch the “Pink Moment” at Meditation Mount, taking early morning walks along the trail to downtown Ojai–the city, although geographically small, offers a vibrant culture of recreation, food, art and scenery. I even stopped by the Ojai Olive Oil Company for a free tour and tasting before heading back home. In future posts, I’ll share a couple of spots for food & bev in downtown Ojai if you ever find yourself in these parts. Until then:
// ruth kim
All photos are original and taken with Nikon D5100 or iPhone 6S.