Olea Hotel opens
Sia and Ashish Patel spent more than a year doing an extensive remodel on the former Glenelly Inn. Olea Hotel opens
The former Glenelly Inn, dramatically renovated and renamed Olea Hotel, finally reopened to the public over Labor Day weekend following a public reception Aug. 29.
New owners Sia and Ashish Patel spent more than a year on an extensive renovation that required stripping the hotel’s structures to the wood framing, reinforcing and waterproofing a rear retaining wall and installing all new fixtures, appliances and furniture.
“It needed a lot of help,” said a smiling Ashish Patel during the reception.
The historic Glen Ellen inn, which has been used as a resort and hotel facility since about 1900, was sold in June of 2011 after the County of Sonoma seized the property from former owner Kristi Jeppesen for non-payment of taxes.
Jeppesen, who had owned the inn since 1990, owed the county more than $380,000 in unpaid transient occupancy taxes, including unpaid taxes on more than 20 vacation rental properties she managed for other innholders.
Jeppesen had collected the taxes from rental receipts, according to county officials, but had not paid them, placing numerous unwitting property owners in jeopardy for unpaid back taxes.
To cover the bank loan on the inn and pay off all tax obligations, the county would have to have received $1.8 million for the property. But various lien holders reportedly made accommodations with the county, which got $1.365 million in the sale. Some property owners, victimized by Jeppesen’s actions, called for criminal charges to be filed against her, but that never happened and county authorities said her failure to pay her clients’ taxes was a civil matter.
The Patels took over the Warm Springs Road property already having a family history of hotel management as owners of the Shoreline Cottages in Fort Bragg. Upon buying the Glen Ellen property, they rented a house next door and began the renovation effort. They thought it would take six to nine months to complete the project, but more than a year passed before they could open. And the contractor hadn’t yet begun when Sia announced to her husband that she was pregnant. Their son, Dylan, now 6-months-old, was born halfway through construction.
The hotel has 12 rooms, including two detached cottages set among olive and fig trees, featuring flat screen TVs, complimentary WiFi, iPhone docking stations, soaking tubs, and some rooms come with heated floors and fireplaces. There is an outdoor hot tub, a patio and hillside garden and guest amenities include a daily dessert with wine pairing, Friday afternoon wine tastings, movie and board game rentals, a book share program and concierge services.
Olea bills itself as a “pet friendly” hotel and some queen rooms accommodate dogs, with a welcome basket, treats, doggie bags, dog bowls and towels.
Massage services (for humans) are also available, offering Swedish massage, couples massage and healing stone massage.
A highlight of the hotel is an on-site chef who prepares a complementary, two-course plated breakfast each day, with organic ingredients sourced from the Olea garden and local vendors.
The décor is understated and elegant and when asked who did their interior design, Sia revealed, “We just sort of did it ourselves.”
Both Patels have what they describe as “fulltime, at home tech jobs,” he in web development and she in event marketing.
And despite their property roots in Fort Bragg, they say they are delighted to be living in the Sonoma Valley and plan to stay.
“We love it here,” said Sia Patel. “This is home.”