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“Writer's Retreat made perfect”
Review of The Dent House

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The Dent House
Reviewed 25 June 2015

Our writer's retreat, Just. Write., has twice come up and stayed at the Dent House and twice now we've had the best experience from booking with the owners to Jim the grounds keeper to the house itself and everything in between. The first time our group came up was in February - there were 7 of us; this last time was this past May - there were 8 of us. All our needs were not just met, they were exceeded.

The house itself is from early 1900s and is unlike anything we've ever stayed in. There are four bedrooms, plus a smaller alcove bonus room upstairs, with four bathrooms, and downstairs there are two more rooms which we used as bedrooms - they both had fire places - and a fifth bathroom on the first floor. The kitchen has everything - including a second prep room - and a third room off the prep room. You name it, the kitchen has it - including multiple coffee makers - which is a writer's retreat necessity. There are three different tables in the dining room to eat at and the living room boasts another fire place - which Jim lights for you without you're even having to ask - with two different couches, multiple chairs, and a desk area that pushes off from the room. The front porch had plenty of seating - plus it's screened in to keep the few bugs there are out. There are peacocks and geese and ducks and horses and a burrow all living on the property in different areas. Plus there's a whole other seating area by a koi pond as well as picnic tables. Jim lit us a bonfire outside in the grill area on our last night and we all hung out and looked up at the stars. Our writers who attended had so many places to be inspired, sit and read and write, work on projects, take hikes down the road on breaks, and pick fruit right off the trees that we ate at breakfast.

To the person who says they had a difficult booking experience, we had the exact opposite - both times Denise - and Elizabeth who we also spoke to - were professional, courteous, answered all our questions and did so in a timely manner. To those who claim of a smell of sulfur in the bathroom sinks/showers, we didn't have that experience either. I imagine that it might perhaps be because it's well water.

Overall, our Just. Write. writer's retreat says DO GO HERE! The Dent House, the property, the canyon itself - this is truly a magical place - unlike any other place you can find. We're already planning our next writer's retreat there for October - can't wait!

  • Stayed: May 2015, travelled with friends
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1  Thank SuchagoodSteve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elizabeth-DentHouse, Manager at The Dent House, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2015

tWe thank you for your lovely review, and for being wonderful tenants. We have truly enjoyed both yout visits this year. It was wonderful to think that your time at the property was enriching to your artistic endeavors, and you brought a peaceful and happy spirit to the setting. Thank you for taking such good care of everything. We look forward to your next visit.
Denise and everyone at The Dent House

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1 - 5 of 10 reviews

Reviewed 26 May 2015

First, I want to start by saying I have never written a terrible review about a place before. I am usually really kind and understanding. But the woman who owns the place Denise, is one of the most challenging people to work with I HAVE EVER encountered.

Do not plan any event there. It will be so challenging. The customer service is TERRIBLE. Denise refuses to speak on the phone — only by email. And then she doesn't answer her emails for weeks at a time. Simple questions that could have easily been answered on the phone became very complicated. And there was a time when she was even really rude. My husband was pretty shocked as well.

When I thought it might just be me having the challenge my mom and my maid of honor offered to also try to help organize with Denise, but experienced the same challenges.
Which when you are trying to organize a wedding and have 23 guests coming to stay at the venue is so stressful. Luckily we were not having the whole wedding up there! My other venues in Ojai were so kind and accommodating. This was kind of a disaster and I would never recommend it.

On top of everything right before we arrived Denise got our date wrong and we had to email her — and hope to god she would check it — and that someone would be up there to meet us. When we showed up the caretaker didn't even know that we were scheduled to come on that day! He explained that he had not been told what day our party was arriving; and he also commented on Denise's constant poor correspondence, and how the guests before us commented that "They couldn't believe her lack of proper communication."

Rather than ever apologizing or taking any personal responsibility she would always blame me, my mom, or my maid of honor, or finally her computer system for the date error.

I will say that the venue is itself very 'rustic' nice (besides the crazy/horrible sulfur smell in the showers). Its expensive for the amount of customer service that is not offered.

But once we got there and no longer had to deal with Denise the caretaker was a very kind older man who I enjoyed and did his best to make us comfortable. If you could rent this venue without Denise and the unorganized, extremely unprofessional experience it would be a nice place to hang out for a weekend.

  • Stayed: December 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank SadLB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elizabeth-DentHouse, Manager at The Dent House, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2015

The staff of the Dent House are 100% committed to our guests and always strive to provide the best customer service we can. We're disappointed to hear we didn't live up to your expectations. We wish you and your husband many years of happiness together and are so pleased we could provide the location for your gathering of loved ones. Best, Denise and everyone at the Dent House.

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Reviewed 31 October 2012

Just spent the weekend at the Dent House, Guest Barns, and Farmhouse. We have a large group of 20 and 30 somethings that go away every year for Halloween weekend. We've been to some spectacular places and this was our favorite. We all went in prepared for serious rusticness, dirtiness, and ants based on the other reviews from this website and were shocked when we found the place to be absolutely spotless. Each of the houses had its own special charm (the beautiful Crafstman Dent House, the stone East Barn, and the cottage with porch view of the stream) And it couldn't be in a more stunning track of land. We hiked up to waterfalls and swimming pools, took dips in the nearby hot springs, wandered the fruit orchards picking pomegranates, grapefruits, and oranges to cook with.

It's an absolutely perfect, ideal place to spend a weekend or a week or a month, however long you have. Denise, who organized things for us, was the best a person could hope for. And Jim and his wife, who manage the property, were such a wonderful resource. They were so kind, showing us different parts of the property to explore, and helping us immediately with any question or concern we had. It was like having a personal concierge right on your doorstep! And Jim, who's spent his whole life on ranches, is a true gem. He added so much to the experience and made us want to come back again.

Bottom Line: If you were turned off in any way by the reviews on this website, don't be. They are, simply put, WRONG. The place is spotless and beautiful and one of the most stunning retreats a person can take in Southern California. Perfect for big groups. Go as soon as you can and stay as long as you can. I know we'll be going back soon.

Room Tip: The East Barn is, I believe, the little gem of this property. But any room in the Dent House is per...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with friends
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6  Thank raffylee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2011

First, the Rustic: We stayed in the Farm House and the Guest Barns. The Farm House is a quaint country cottage but pretty dirty and bare-bones in terms of comfort. Hot water was iffy, windows leaky so freezing at night without central heating (just a kind of space heater that did not heat the house properly). The caretaker and his wife were very kind and helpful, however (despite penchant for dressing in full army gear--a vet, I'm assuming) and brought over two additional space heaters and more blankets. Prepare for: lots of ants (it's an Ojai thing), and seriously stinky Sulphurous water that leaves brown residue in the tubs. This was the worst part of the trip and none of the women wanted to wet their hair in it (bring dry shampoo), although a quick shower is fine. Sulphur is also an Ojai thing (there's a mountain in Ojai called, yep, Sulphur Mountain, because of the many sulphur wells that run out of it). The GOOD NEWS: Gorgeous, absolutely stunning nature: This truly is god's country. Mountains, hikes along (and through) the river, fruit orchards galore, horses, a donkey, peacocks...it's all very beautiful and wonderful--you just have to be prepared for quite rustic accommodations. A hotel this is not.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank missmircat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2010

I'll just start by saying....I LOVE THE DENT HOUSE. Love everything about it. I spent last weekend there along with my 6 best girlfriends. This was our 9th year doing our trip and our 4th time staying at the Dent House.

A noticeable difference from our last trip was that the grounds look really amazing. All of the trees were cut back allowing more sunlight in. The lawn looked beautiful. The new caretaker was very accommodating, even chopping wood for us to to be able to use the outdoor Santa Maria BBQ. Usually in November we are not able to make use of the beautiful outdoor areas, but this year we were! There is a picnic table and hammock to enjoy as well as plenty of grassy areas to sit and read a book.

Our early Thanksgiving feast was easily made in the commercial kitchen that offers a butler's pantry with a triple sink, dishwasher, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster, microwave and enough glassware, dinnerware and servingware to host a small army. The main kitchen area offers a commercial stove/range, another refrigerator, double sink, bottled water station and beautiful views of the side yard.

The house is very "homey". We spent most of the weekend on the screened front porch enjoying the fall colors and the breezy days. A few of us did some hiking back into the canyon. We enjoyed maybe the best weather ever at the Dent House.

We all discussed how ideal this area would be for an outdoor wedding!

Upsides: Beautiful location, cozy home, comfortable beds, nature, location location location.

Downsides (if I had to think of one) would be that there is no cell phone service or internet service. The owners do provide a calling card and local phone for use. It was actually nice not having a cell phone and internet for once. Truly unplugged weekend!

LOVE THIS PLACE!

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank sulphursister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Dent House

Address: 4100 Matilija Canyon Rd, at Matilija Canyon Ranch, Ojai, CA 93023-9541
Region: United States > California > Ojai
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Ojai
Number of rooms: 11
Also Known As:
The Dent House Hotel Ojai

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