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My wife Natalie and I were invited to check out the plush Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, which is 80 miles north of Los Angeles. We were enjoying the quiet peacefulness of this 220-acre resort, dotted with Hacienda-style artist’s cottages when the serenity was interrupted by the sound of a helicopter overhead.


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I thought a helicopter circling above was odd because we were so far off the beaten path, my cell phone didn’t even have service. I figured it couldn’t be a police chase or a news copter, which is usually the case in L.A. So I figured it was either a medical emergency or that they were filming a show. I didn’t think it was the latter because the hotel is so exclusive, I assumed they would probably have alerted guests when they checked in or at least placed a note in the room.


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I was wrong. On the way to get lunch from one of the resort’s six restaurants, I noticed a production van and crew setting up a shot under a beautiful, centuries-old oak tree, coined the “friendship tree.”

A few hours later on our way to dinner off-property, Natalie and I saw an army of workers with secret service-style earpieces. I didn’t think they were security because they weren’t that buff and were sloppily dressed.

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While eating a lovely dinner at Suzanne’s Cuisine about a half-mile down the road, we heard the helicopter hovering again. It didn’t bother me much because we had just cut our meal short since Natalie wasn’t feeling well. We asked for our food to go and headed back to the hotel, which is when the trouble began.

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On our drive back to the resort, we passed a shiny turquoise convertible Bentley parked on the side of the driveway. I realized that the people in the car were actors being filmed — Natalie recognized the driver right away as Desiree Hartsock. They were shooting a date scene from ABC’s hit TV show The Bachelorette. FYI: If it wasn’t for my wife, I wouldn’t have had a clue what show was being filmed and every staff member I asked said they didn’t know which was odd. But Natalie was right (as usual) and I later confirmed it when I saw one of the producer’s production books with ‘bette 9’ written on the cover.

Normally this would have been a welcome sight since I had a show on the Travel Channel (Hot Spots 2012) and it’s always fun to watch Hollywood make its magic. But since my wife wasn’t feeling well, it wasn’t. All Natalie wanted to do was go back to the room and bury her head in a pillow.

When I tried to pull up to valet, the hotel staff questioned where we were going — he almost seemed surprised we were hotel guests. He told us that only self-parking was available and he guided me to the parking lot as the Bentley was quickly coming up from behind.

While waiting for them to finish their shot, I snapped the photo above. In between the retakes, we walked to the lobby to get a golf cart to the room since Natalie wasn’t up for the long walk.

The hotel staff couldn’t have cared less and they said it wasn’t possible to get a cart to our room. This is supposed to be a five-star hotel and “no” shouldn’t be an option, especially when a simple request like this one from a sick guest is involved. I went to the front desk and they were more understanding and said they would arrange something.

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We were shuffled to the side of the lobby with the rest of the crew while bachelorette Desiree Hartsock walked in with her date. The couple seemed nice but we really saw firsthand how there’s nothing real about this reality TV show. That might be disappointing news for fans of the show, but I was more disappointed in the hotel.

Timing is everything and a hotel’s first priority should be to take care of their guests – especially the sick ones. I know that if we showed up 20 minutes later none of this would have happened but situations like this can really allow a good hotel to shine.

Unfortunately, they failed. And we weren’t the only ones they inconvenienced, as could be seen from the growing number of guests standing around waiting for the ‘ok’ to move freely about the property.

Natalie and I could not be more laidback travelers. But I was worried about my sick wife and decided to complain in the morning to their social media manager. She couldn’t have been more apologetic and even offered us a redo. And while that’s a wonderful way to make amends (thank you!), hopefully this hotel and others will learn not to sacrifice the comfort of their guests in favor of a moment in the spotlight.

FYI: The Bachelorette will premiere Monday, May 20 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Welcome to Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Welcome to Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Guests are shuttled around the large property in golf carts.
Guests are shuttled around the large property in golf carts.
Serenity in Ojai.
Serenity in Ojai.
The Friendship Tree at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
The Friendship Tree at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Hacienda-style rooms
Hacienda-style rooms
Our room at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Our room at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
A gloomy but gorgeous start to the morning at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
A gloomy but gorgeous start to the morning at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Uncle Angelo’s Favorite Meatballs With Marinara Sauce On Fusilli at Suzanne's Cuisine
Uncle Angelo’s Favorite Meatballs With Marinara Sauce On Fusilli at Suzanne's Cuisine
A helicopter hovers overhead
A helicopter hovers overhead
Desiree Hartsock and her date film an episode of The Bachelorette
Desiree Hartsock and her date film an episode of The Bachelorette
Desiree Hartsock and The Bachelorette crew waiting in the lobby between takes
Desiree Hartsock and The Bachelorette crew waiting in the lobby between takes

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17 Comments On "When The Bachelorette Films in your Hotel"
  1. tourdulich365an|

    Good trip

  2. Love_Me|

    Did you happen to catch the guys name Desiree was on a date with? Great Pictures!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I didn’t. Sorry

      1. Love_Me|

        Thanks so much for the reply. I appreciate it! Can’t wait to see this date!

  3. Robert. S.|

    Ask them how much they care when their sales spike from the exposure. A few inconvenienced guests is worth a big spike in sales. I’ve seen numbers from Fiji, Panama, and Vieques. It’s well worth it for the hotel

  4. Anonymous|

    What did you see that made you say nothing was real about this reality show?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Great question but it’s our policy not to respond to anonymous people.

  5. Jennie S.|

    Not the anonymous person above but same question :-) What did you see that gave the impression that this reality show is actually not reality?

    Beautiful pictures and I hope your wife is feeling better.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Mostly because they did retakes. It was also cold out and they were dressed like it was hot (she put a jacket on between takes)

      1. Jennie S.|

        weird! Sounds more like actors

        1. Jeanne Boulware|

          I ran into this show when Ashley had her first date of her season. At the Bellagio. Many of the same things happened to us. The production crew shoved me and my double stroller with my two babies out of their way in a public garden. I also saw script notes…. so yeah not real.

  6. tattooedmomof3|

    Anyone who thought this “reality” show was actually real has obviously been living under a rock. Reality Steve will enlighten you :)

  7. natalie wardell|

    The average guest would be entertained with a few minutes of such activities and totally understand. When they have weddings, events, etc. at hotels, other guests respect and appreciate. The fact that your review was all about yourself and your extremely SLIGHT inconveniences screams that you are haughty. Get over it!

    1. Jeanne Boulware|


      I can see your point but I am sure with a wedding etc you are told the truth. I ran into the Bachelorette for Ashley’s season and they lied to us and shoved me and my baby stroller (with two babies in it) out of their way when filming at the Bellagio. So I agree with what this person said. They acted like they owned the place and we were in their way.. even though we were there first. Had I been told a show was filming and asked to move I would have.

  8. Karl B.|

    Well I’ll never be wasting my time at the Ojai apparently. Sounds like a sh*thole in dire need of a customer service overhaul.

  9. bobbiblogger|

    Sorry Natalie and you received such lousy service — hope she gets better soon!

  10. hotelGuest|

    I would’ve cancelled my hotel room right away and left for a different resort. That’s the only way the hotel will learn.

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