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Walnut Creek Magazine

Glen Ellen’s Charming Olea Hotel

Sep 12, 2019 04:10PM ● By Fran Miller


Blink, and you might miss it. And that would be a shame. Located in tiny Glen Ellen, between the town of Kenwood and downtown Sonoma, the charming Olea Hotel welcomes guests with a level of gracious hospitality typically found in five star establishments. Surrounded by ancient oak and olive trees, Olea’s atmosphere is reminiscent of a certain St. Helena resort of that level, providing the same serene and relaxed atmosphere. Add to this a recent head-to-toe, post-fire renovation that kicks-up the luxe quotient and it’s likely that those familiar with this boutique gem might prefer to keep it under wraps. After all, there are only 15 rooms.


Olea’s luxurious mid-century modern vibe is the result of its second restoration since purchased in 2011 by owners Sia and Ashish Patel. Nearly destroyed by the 2017 fires that surrounded the property, Olea rose from the ashes – quite literally – and its current incarnation (designed by Inspired Spaces, Inc. of Santa Rosa) includes a new swimming pool lined with cushy chaise lounges, a hot tub, fire pit area, fresh landscaping, and interior updates to the entire property, including its 13 guest rooms and two detached cottages. 

Named after the heritage olive trees in its midst, Olea was voted ‘Best Wine Country Hotel/Resort’ by Sunset magazine readers in 2016, and the array of complimentary amenities makes it easy to see why. An all day coffee, tea, and juice bar makes way in the afternoon for red and white wine selections from Sonoma County Vintners, for which non-breakable wine glasses are offered for poolside and patio imbibing. A basket of snacks is provided within each room, and a multi-course breakfast prepared by Executive Chef Khambay Porterkhamsy is served each morning within the delightful sunroom. This incredibly delicious meal, served anytime between 8:30am and 10:30am, is Olea’s signature offering and is alone worth an overnight stay. On this visit the menu included a first course of grilled stone fruit shortcake with ginger cardamom whipped crème fraiche, followed by cinnamon raisin and fresh fruit toast with lemon honey labne and toasted pistachios, and a Mediterranean scramble with sun-dried tomato tapenade, feta, falafel, beef kofta, and dill tzatziki. Early risers can enjoy a buffet of toast, granola, and yogurt prior to breakfast service.


But the graciousness does not start and end with the indulgent amenities. Within the walls of the historic main building lie modern furnishings such as rich cognac leather sofas, metallic grass cloth wall coverings, and sparkling mid-century light fixtures. Guest rooms are outfitted in the same ‘organic midcentury’ style in neutral color palettes and crisp white bedding. Pops of color originate within artworks by Inspired Spaces owner Natasha Stocker, as well as from colorful pillows and side chairs. Additional unique design features include air plant installations and metallic leather macramé wall hangings. 


The outdoor spaces are equally inviting – a large, twinkle-lit, flagstone patio features a variety of seating options and is the ideal space in which to enjoy your glass (or two) of wine, as is the circular seated area surrounding the fire pit. Additional ‘relaxation nooks’ are located outside several of the rooms, of which there are varying styles featuring queen or king beds. (One room features two queens.)


A short walk from tiny downtown Glen Ellen and its variety of dining options – including the stellar Glen Ellen Star - Olea is ideally situated for exploration of Sonoma Valley’s many wine tasting rooms. An information-filled lobby wall (where you’ll also find a shelf filled with board games) provides details on the area’s many marquee destinations, and the hotel’s knowledgeable concierges are always happy to help you plan your day and evening. 

5131 Warm Springs Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 

Photos provided by Olea Hotel

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