Named for the heritage olive trees that dot the property, the Olea Hotel (oleahotel.com) recently unveiled a new wheelchair-accessible garden cottage. This 15-room boutique hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2011 after Sia and Ashish Patel purchased the Glen Ellen property. Sadly, six years later, more renovations were necessary after the idyllic inn sustained major damage in the October 2017 wildfires that ravaged the area. Today, this Sonoma County property once again welcomes guests, with upgraded furnishings, fresh landscaping, a renovated pool area and a band spanking new garden cottage for wheelchair-users and slow walkers.
Stay a Spell
Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, the Olea Hotel is a subtle blend of mid-century modern married to wine country chic. The clean lines of the historic buildings give way to a fresh neutral color palette that’s highlighted with with hues of green that serve to bring that garden-like ambiance inside. The main office is surrounding by garden paths which crisscross the property and offer secluded nooks to relax and unwind.
Accessible parking is located near the new accessible cottage (#9), with a barrier-free pathway over to the office. The 600-square-foot stand-alone cottage features a level threshold, wide doorways, lever handles, lowered light switches, laminate and tile floors for easy rolling and excellent pathway access. It’s furnished with a 29-inch high open-frame king-sized bed with wheelchair access on both sides, two night tables, a chest of drawers and a desk with a chair. A comfortable sofa and easy chair flank the indoor-outdoor fireplace, and there’s also a cozy window seat in the corner. Add in a wet bar and a refrigerator and you have all the ingredients for a perfectly comfortable escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The bathroom — which is well beyond spacious — features a full five-foot turning radius, and is equipped with a standard tub as well as a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower seat (within easy reach of the controls). The bathroom also boasts a roomy roll-under double sink, as well as a toilet with grab bars on the back and left walls (as seated).
And if you’d like to enjoy the garden, there’s a private patio that includes two chairs and a table — with plenty of room for a wheelchair — right in front of the indoor-outdoor fireplace.
Explore The Inn
There’s excellent access to the public spaces at the Olea Hotel as well — starting with the spacious pool area. Located just steps away from the accessible cottage, it features barrier-free access around the pool, hot tub and restroom. Both the pool and the hot tub are lift-equipped, and the family restroom includes a toilet with grab bars. And with plenty of room for even the largest wheelchair or scooter, the pool deck is a pleasant place to lounge.
The gardens that surround the property are equally pleasant, and great thought was put into wheelchair-access in this terraced space. A ramped walkway leads up from the lower parking area, and a barrier-free pathway winds past the office over to a lift to the upper garden area. There’s level access to this welcoming space, which includes a variety of seating options clustered around a creative wind sculpture.
And if you’d like to chill by the fire — in the morning or evening — there’s also a level pathway over to the fire pit. Although outdoor sofas circle the fire pit, they’re easy to move, and the staff at the Olea Hotel is very accommodating. It’s the perfect place to sip coffee, enjoy the sunset or even do a little star gazing.
The Little Extras
The little things that push the Olea Hotel over top begin at check-in. First, there’s the complimentary wine and espresso, that’s located in a self-serve bar across from the check-in desk. Just fill your glass or cup and take it to your room, or enjoy it by the fireplace in the adjacent lounge. And of course, the lounge is wheelchair-accessible.
And if you need help in planning your time in Sonoma County, the lounge boasts a whole wall of brochures, maps and magazines that highlight all that the region has to offer. And again, the employees are quite helpful, and well versed in the local favorites. Add in a personal list of hand-picked restaurants and wineries, and you’re good to go.
And then there’s breakfast, which is above and beyond, in both quality and quantity. First off the dining area — which features barrier-free access — evokes a definitive garden ambiance, with windows that line two sides of the room. And although the menu, which includes a Continental buffet, a sweet item and a savory item, may seem a bit overindulgent for some, it’s totally customizable. If you want the whole nine yards, the server is happy to oblige, but if you have a lighter appetite you can certainly opt for just one item. The choice is totally yours, and with entrees that range from brioche French toast topped with fresh berries, to shrimp and grits with a perfectly poached egg, you definitely won’t go away hungry. And that’s just one more reason to spend the night at this comfortable and accessible Sonoma County property.