Sia and Ashish Patel finished renovations on their historic Glen Ellen hotel just a year before the Nuns fire marched its way.
Purchased in 2011, the husband and wife fell in love with the property’s 200-year-old olive trees that rimmed the lush Sonoma Valley hillside it brushed up against (the trees gave name to the hotel; olea is latin for olive or olive tree). Together, they modernized its interiors and added four new guest rooms, setting down the final paintbrush in 2016.
When the Nuns fire came racing through Glen Ellen last October, the century-old Warm Springs Road hotel was right in its path.
“You never expect that it’s going to happen to you,” Sia Patel said.
But it did. Thanks to a couple of fire crews that set up camp on the property, though, the damage was surmountable. Gone are two of the property’s historical cottages, as well as a significant number of the olive trees the Patels so loved, but the rest emerged mostly unscathed.
This week, nearly a year after the blaze, the Olea Hotel reopened to the public. Burn scars still mark the hillside.
The damage was estimated to be about $1 million, though the final dollar amount will likely be more than that, Sia Patel said. After scraping the fire-damaged buildings from the land, the Patels took advantage of the closure, further modernizing the interiors and installing a pool.
“Luckily our weekends are totally booked,” Sia Patel said. “Our weekdays, I’d say, we’re 50 percent there right now. We’re just trying to get a couple months of the busy season in.”
Click through the above gallery to see photos of the recently reopened Olea Hotel, and of the damage it sustained during last year’s wildfires. oleahotel.com
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