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Industry pays tribute after passing of wellness veteran, Sheila Cluff

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Sheila lived and breathed wellness, she was one of the people that always inspired me to try and lead by example

Tributes have been flowing in from the wellness and fitness sector after the passing of industry icon, Sheila Cluff, the owner and founder of well-known Californian destination spa, The Oaks at Ojai, which she opened in 1977.

Cluff was a passionate fitness and wellness enthusiast throughout her life, which lead her to work as a school PE teacher, professional figure skater (a hobby she continued into her 80s), celebrity fitness instructor and a regular class teacher at Ojai later in her life.

Industry figure and WTA president, Andrew Gibson, paid tribute to Cluff, saying: “It's with great sadness that we see the passing of Sheila Cluff. Sheila lived and breathed wellness.

“Sheila was one of the 'influencers' of Canyon Ranch during my time there and I’m sure that is not the only wellness destination that was inspired by her work at the Ojai.”

A previous ISPA Board Member, Cluff was honoured by the wellness industry with multiple awards, such as the Spa Hall of Fame award by the Washington Spa Alliance – alongside industry figures such as Deborah Szekeley – along with an ISPA Visionary Award.

“She was one of the people that always inspired me to try and lead by example,” said Gibson.

Cluff’s passion for wellness was in part motivated by her journey to recover from an injury without surgery.

The Oaks at Ojai

In 2017, The Oaks at Ojai suffered significant damage following a fire and subsequently closed.

However, designer, Ramin Shamshiri, and restaurateur Werner Ebbink, have partnered with hotel mogul, Eric Goode, to renovate the destination.

According to Goode, construction has been underway since 2017 and experienced minor delays because of COVID-19. The destination is expected to reopen under its original name – El Roblar Hotel – before Cluff and her family took over.

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Tributes have been flowing in from the wellness and fitness sector after the passing of industry icon, Sheila Cluff, the owner and founder of well-known Californian destination spa, The Oaks at Ojai, which she opened in 1977.
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