Author: Jill Weinlein
Date of Trip: October 2016
Having a gourmet breakfast on the wide veranda of The Lavender Inn and Spa, the owner of the property, Kathy Hartley welcomed me and introduced herself. We chatted for over thirty minutes about how she became the proprietor of this bed and breakfast.
Located one block from the main street of bucolic Ojai, the 8 individually decorated rooms with a cottage in the garden backyard, is designed to pamper guests.
In the early 2000’s, Kathy Hartley found this historic house called the Moons Rest Inn. It’s a home that was built in 1874 that offered “good bones,” yet in need of a little love. As a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, Kathy has a big heart. She and her husband purchased and renovated the Inn to open a luxury bed and breakfast,
Nearby are art galleries, shops, and farm to table restaurants. Hartley changed the name to The Lavender Inn, planted a lot of lavender plants and incorporated a small day spa on the property. Local facialist, Mary Nelson offers guests a relaxing treatment, and massages are designed per individual needs.
Throughout the year, couples from LA and surrounding communities, reserve a room for a peaceful respite from work and family obligations. Some reserve a room for a BabyMoon to enjoy some personal time together before their baby is born. The inhouse spa offers moms to be a pre-natal massage and a Mommy facial to help with hormonal changes. A nearby baby boutique Ojai Baby, offers a 10% discount for guests staying at the Lavender Inn.
Girlfriends stay at this affordable bed and breakfast for a social getaway to be pampered with a healthy breakfast, enjoy spa time, and sip wine and appertizers out on the large veranda during “the pink moment” as the sun sets.
The Lavender Inn is a popular destination during the annual lavender and music festival in June. It sells out for the Ojai Film Festival and an ideal wedding destination for the bridal party to bond and stay together. Weddings happen in the backyard often with up to 14 guests staying upstairs in individually decorated and colorful rooms with names Topa, Lavender Garden, Tree House, Cozy Retreat and Provence Cottage and Romantic Suite with Queen size beds, beautiful antiques and artwork.
Amenities include complimentary gourmet breakfast & nightly wine and cheese, free Wi-Fi, hair-dryers, guest computer, cozy robes, iron and ironing board, use of the pool at the Ojai Athletic Club and access to the Spa.
Hartley told me that twice a year, she closes the house to the public and offers a healing woman’s retreat and a special Veteran’s overnight.
Over eight years ago, Hartley had a dream to provide a retreat for women with cancer. Every Fall, Kathy talks to nurses at three different local hospitals to find women in need with cancer who deserve a little pampering. She created InnCourage, a three day and two night stay for these women. This no cost retreat offers women healthy meals, gentle hikes, massages, facials and on site counseling. Classes by the American Cancer Society – Look Good, Feel Better are offered in a group workshop setting to teach these ladies beauty techniques to help them feel beautiful while undergoing side effects of cancer treatment.
Hartley told me the schedule of events for InnCourage, with arrival on a Monday to enjoy a healthy lunch and easy hike. Back to The Lavender Inn for a cooking class by the inhouse Italian chef, before sit down dinner to eat what they all prepared. Afterwards a fireside chat to get to know each other.
Tuesday is pajama day with a healthy breakfast. Ladies can stay in their pajamas while receiving a massage and facial. They have personal time with counsellors about finance and learn how to deal with medical bills. Tuesday night, the ladies all get dressed and go out to dinner with Hartley, before attending another fireside chat.
Wednesday is the Look Good Feel Better class offered by the American Cancer Society and then a family reception. Hearing about this retreat, my heart grew full of gratitude for this kind, gentle and beautiful woman.
Each year, Hartley notices a transformation with each woman as she explores healthy and holistic approach to find time to relax, rejuvenate and renew her senses. Some women have told Hartley that after this “I’m strong enough now to fight this disease.” That warms her heart.
Hartley is now offering the same type of retreat for Veterans suffering from PTSD. She asks Vets to write a short story of why they want a free room in November at The Lavender Inn. Those selected get to wake up on Veteran’s Day with a gourmet breakfast, hike, counselling, spa time, wine and tapas.
To reserve a room at The Lavender Inn – go to http://lavenderinn.com.