Worth the Drive
Our daily look at nearby getaways

Emerald Iguana: Ojai's Funky Gem Gets an Update

The whimsical getaway gets a refresh (but keeps its individual spirit).

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A GENTLE REFRESH: Updating a house or a private business is one thing, but doing renovations on a hotel or inn is a whole other game. On the one hand, pretty much anyone who has ever stayed the night in a hotel knows that renovations are necessary; a frayed towel or a bit of saggy carpet immediately tells us that some TLC is in order. And yet, we don't want to see too many changes come to a favorite property. Over-renovating something, to the point that its charming quirks got stripped out alongside the carpet, is not great, either. And when the property is especially funky, say, like the Emerald Iguana Inn of Ojai, you hope that all of its whimsy stays intact through the refresh.

    OR INCREASES: The longtime landmark has not only kept the whimsical bits that guests love but has added to them during its recent renovation. "Artistic upgrades" have been made, principally to the Treehouse Suite, while other rooms have received new tile and carpets, not to mention "soft goods" (the best kind of goods, we believe). Custom forged iron and hand-blow glass lanterns now dot the property as well. And Marc Whitman, who forever fans of the Iguana will recognize as a co-proprietor, also designed the new entrance gates.

    COTTAGES AND ROOM HANDLES: If you've never been to the inn, a peek at the individual rooms provides a sense of the fantasy-nature feel of the sweet spot. Tadpole, Cricket, and Peacock are three of the room or cottage names. But, of course, an inn called Emerald Iguana would never have rooms merely called "319" or "the Executive Suite." And that's the way its returning guests, funky buffs all, like it.