In 1923, Edward Drummond Libbey, a wealthy Ohio glass manufacturer and philanthropist, commissioned California architect Wallace Neff to build the Ojai Country Club in the Spanish Colonial architectural style. From its earliest days, guests felt the Inn was an escape, a sequestered yet sophisticated getaway that gave them the sense of being on their own private country estate. And ever since 1937, when Frank Capra used the sweeping mountain vistas of the valley as Shangri-La in his film Lost Horizon, the valley has become synonymous with mystical beauty and hidden enchantment. A different kind of notoriety distinguished the inn in 1942 when it was transformed into Camp Oak for a military training center for the Army, and later for the U.S. Navy, which used the grounds for a rest and recuperation facility.
Ever since returning to private ownership in 1947, the Ojai Valley Inn has played host to countless celebrities from nearby Hollywood and an impressive roster of golf pros who return year after year to play the historic course. In 1999, the acclaimed golf course was restored, which included the return of two "lost" signature holes. In 2004, an extensive renovation was completed which upgraded every corner of the resort while maintaining the historical integrity of the property.
Edward D. Libbey's dream for his beloved Ojai Valley began to take shape as his private country club and golf course were built to harmonize with the unspoiled beauty of this rural paradise.
Mr. Libbey died and never saw his hotel built; however, the architectural plans were safely archived.
Architect Austen Pierpont added 22 guest rooms per the original drawings of architect Wallace Neff. These rooms are now known as the Wallace Neff Historical Rooms.
A different kind of glory distinguished the Ojai Valley Country Club when it was transformed into Camp Oak for a military training center for a battalion of 1,000 Army troops.
The Army turned the base over to the United States Navy for a rest and recuperation facility. When the government finally auctioned off the last of the Quonset huts and barracks, the property was returned to private ownership.
Don Burger, along with some influential investors, purchased the Ojai Valley Country Club. The resort was reopened as Ojai Valley Inn and Country Club. This began the Glamour Era of the Inn, and Hollywood's brightest stars sought the tranquil pleasures of the resort.
Starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Pat and Mike is filmed at the Inn.
Mid 80's to Mid 90's
Seven Senior PGA Tournaments were held at the Inn.
The Crown family of Chicago purchased the property and completed a $50 million dollar renovation.
Golf course architect Jay Moorish was commissioned to renovate the golf course.
Benchmark Spa Ojai was completed under the direction of architect Bill Mahan. The resort became known as Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
The 100th anniversary of the famed Ojai Tennis Tournament is celebrated, with some matches being played at the Inn.
A $90 million dollar property-wide renovation was begun.
Early 2006, with the opening of the Artist Cottage and Apothecary, this major renovation was completed. The legendary Ojai resort debuted 305 guest rooms and suites, a new lobby and entrance, new golf shop, new restaurants, and new ballrooms and meeting spaces, while preserving its original charming architecture and unique sense of place.
The resort was first awarded the coveted Five Diamond Award for excellence in the hospitality industry and has achieved this distinguished accolade annually since 2006.
In 2013, the Ojai Valley Inn celebrated its 90th anniversary and completion of a $5.5 million refreshment of all guest rooms. The new look pays homage to the resort’s location in the heart of Ojai Valley, the unofficial “zen capital” of Southern California.
In summer 2015, the property introduced a refined lobby design, chic new adult pool, a new signature restaurant and a refreshed parlor concept at the Wallace Neff Heritage Bar.
In May 2016, the Inn opened Libbey’s, a fresh artisan market, café and boutique concept, perfectly aligned with the launch of an elegant fleet of custom Linus bicycles. October 2016 marked the opening of the Discover Ojai Center, to further enrich guest experiences.
In February 2019, The Inn debuted The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn, the show-stopping, multi-use epicurean and event center designed by nationally acclaimed architect Howard Backen with Backen Gillam Kroeger.
Throughout the years, hosting many celebrities, musicians, dignitaries and politicians, Ojai Valley Inn retains its sense of place staying true to the people who first built it. Amid an unsurpassed natural landscape with diverse appeal to families, couples, golf getaways, girlfriend getaways and multi-generational guests, the Inn remains one of the finest resorts in North America.