by Lissa Poirot
The Winnetu Oceanside Resort is situated along the dunes of Martha’s Vineyard’s South Beach and just outside the bustling yet small New England island town of Edgartown. The turn-of-the-century-styled inn topped with weatherworn shingles is set on 11 acres of landscaping that includes a great lawn, picturesque pond and waterfall. Select from the inn’s 53 suites, complete with living/dining areas and kitchens, or two family cottages, as well as one of the Mattakesett Properties’ 80 private homes and townhomes rentals.
Opened in 2000, the inn is the newest member of the Mattakesett area and takes its name from the island’s native Wampanoag tribe’s tongue: “winnetu,” meaning “beautiful.” Mattakesett Properties was developed in 1968 by Stanley and Mary Ann Snider, with Winnetu Inn developed by their son Mark, and his wife Gwenn, and the entire Snider family instilling a sense of family at the traditional New England seaside resort. The inn and homes are spread out over 40 acres and is the only resort located along the 21-mile South Beach, a quiet portion of Martha’s Vineyard southeast corner.
The resort features two heated, outdoor swimming pools, day and evening supervised programs for children, tennis, island tours and adventures, and family BBQs and clambakes. A library and board game pavilion also provides activities in the event a rainy day keeps your family off the beach, located just 250 yards away through a dune brush trail.
Our Editor Loves
- Daily kids' programs
- Beachfront location
- Rooms to accommodate large families
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Winnetu Inn offers 53 suites that include studios and one- to four-bedroom suites with living and dining areas, full kitchens or kitchenettes with full refrigerator, two-burner stove, sink, microwave and coffeemaker. The hotel also features two private two-bedroom cottages with full kitchens, living and dining rooms, patios and grills. The Cape Pogue Cottage also features a hot tub, while the Plum Point Cottage has a fireplace.
The resort also operates single-family home and townhome rentals of 80 properties through its Mattakesett Properties. Homes vary from three to five bedrooms with two to four bathrooms. Daily housekeeping service is provided in home rentals, so you can have the feeling of home sweet home without all the chores. Some homes also allow pets.
The resort's rooms and homes include flat-screen TVs, DVD or VCR players, high-speed Internet access, iron and ironing boards, and hair dryers. The entire resort is non-smoking.
by Ira F
We stayed at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort mid-June with 11 family members ages 4 months to 67 years old. Everyone loved the resort and has asked to return in the near future! We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and they did not disappoint! From the moment we entered our cottages, our beds were decorated and there were signs and decorations. The staff is incredible. They were friendly, helpful and handled any very minor problems immediately. They made us feel like family. And family friendly it is! We had 2 meals in the Dunes Restaurant and my grandkids loved being excused to play with supervision while the adults leisurely finished their dinners. We played in the children's activity center on a rainy morning. They helped us arrange babysitters. The staff didn't complain when they had to paint 2 of my grandson's faces as Spiderman for 3 days in a row!!! The firetruck and 3 PM WARM cookies and lemonade were a huge hit. The clambake was also a highlight. We became friendly with Pedro, a waiter, and he brought his guitar to the clambake to entertain us. I could go on and on. We all had the most amazing time at this resort. Tim the concierge was extremely helpful. We enjoyed being near the South Beach area. There was a lot to do at the resort but it was still nice to venture into town. They have a van service or a boat ride to take you into town. They were so accommodating when some of our plans had to change due to rainy weather. Overall, an A++ resort!
by Kris P
From the beginning of the stay we were treated wonderfully. Finding we would arrive early, I phoned and asked if early check in would be possible. Knowing we were almost two hours early, I figured it would be a no go. Amazingly they were able to accommodate us and do so happily. Further, we showed up the same night to the Dunes restaurant onsite with no reservation and the team took their time to squeeze us in. Not knowing we needed reservations and it being a busy holiday week, we knew this was no easy task and it was very telling of the staff, who cared enough to do so. We enjoyed many of the packages including the lighthouse tour and day trip to their sister property on Nantucket. At each turn the staff and team at both locations went above and beyond to make sure we knew where we were headed and the best things to do while in town. This made site seeing and traveling with two younger children much easier. The grounds were clean and well maintained, and not overrun with people like other resorts. The lawn and pool areas were a great place to relax and enjoy resort activities. The highlight of the trip was when we were asked if we wanted to participate with the resort in representing them in the Edgartown 4th of July parade. The experience was amazing and unexpected. Our children will soon not forget this wonderful trip and what they got to experience.
Mattakesett Activities Center
The heart and soul of the resort's family area, Mattakesett Activities Center offers daily, supervised children's programs, a Pirate Ship playground, basketball court, fitness center, and family swimming pool. Children ages 3 to 12 are welcome on a drop-in basis for complimentary programs that run 9 a.m. to noon. (Children must be potty trained.) Children are separated by age group: 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8 and 9 to 12.
Evening programs ($25 and reservations required) are offered three times a week from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. for children 4 to 12. In the late afternoons, families come together for fire truck rides on the old-fashioned fire engines dating back to 1945 and 1956, as well as face painting, slip and slide on the great lawn, and cookies in the courtyard.
Mattakesett Tennis Club
The Winnetu provides two tennis courts adjacent to the inn, as well as six courts through its tennis club just up the road from the resort. Pee Wee, junior, and adult clinics are offered, as well as private lessons. Courts are open for families to enjoy, but reservations are recommended. Courts are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bike Rentals, Edgartown
While the Winnetu doesn't provide bike rentals, the R.W. Cutler Bike Rentals facility provides free pick-up and delivery of bike rentals to the hotel. The resort is adjacent to the Edgartown bike path, making it easy to bike the island or head into town. Complimentary bike maps are provided at concierge.
Sunset Water Taxi
Make a visit into Edgartown more fun by reserving a spot on the sunset water taxi offered on Wednesday or Saturday evenings. Guests leave the resort via the owner's very own 1929 "Woody" station wagon and cruise for 25 minutes through Katama Bay. (Returns back to the hotel are through the hotel's van shuttle that conveniently provides transportation to and from Edgartown every half hour during the evening.)
The hotel's main pool, located in the courtyard, is situated next to an outdoor grill and giant chessboard. The small pool's shallow end is 4 feet, with depths up to 9 feet. At the Mattakesett Activities Center, a rectangular pool is also available with a shallow end depth of 3 feet. A separate kiddie pool is also located here. Pools are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lighthouse & Dune Tour
Children 5 and up -- and their parents -- can take a tour of Martha's Vineyard's Cape Pogue Lighthouse on Chappaquiddick. Offered five days a week in a morning or afternoon tour, the tour includes a shuttle to the Chappaquiddick Ferry and an open-air ride along the barrier beach and a walk up to the top of Cape Pogue Lighthouse. Snacks and beverages are provided. The tour costs $15 for children 5 to 15, and $32 for ages 16 and up.
The inn's dinner restaurant is oft visited by locals and guests of other establishments for its renowned menu, as well as its porch views of the resort lawn, beach dunes and ocean. The restaurant is open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. nightly, with a light bar menu offered from 4 to 11 p.m. To help entertain children during meals, families are often seated on one side of the restaurant where a small children's play area has been created for coloring, reading, playing, and video watching. A children's menu is also offered.
General Store Cafe
Take out breakfast, lunch and snacks at the cafe located just off the inn's lobby. Breakfast is offered 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., lunch is offered after 11 a.m., and dinner take-out is available from 5 to 9 p.m.
Visit the inn's poolside grille for alfresco lunch daily, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dine at the outdoor tables or take out lunch, with options ranging from salads to burgers to fresh fish, as well as ever-popular smoothies for the kids.
New England Clambake on the Winnetu Lawn
Every Wednesday in the summer months, the inn's lawn fills with families for the resort's most popular weekly event. The clambake features clam chowder, lobster, BBQ chicken, hot dogs, veggies and desserts, then finishes with a flaming fire pit and S'mores. Entertainment is provided and reservations are required. The clambake doesn't come cheap: adults are $97 and children under 12 are $31 (does not include lobster); landlubbers' can eat for $75. Children under 2 are free. The event is BYOB.
Planning & Tips
All about the Extras
The resort offers a shuttle service to downtown Edgartown every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and then every half hour from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The inn is also connected to a Stop & Shop grocery store run that departs at 10:15 Monday through Saturday and returns to the hotel an hour later. With kitchens available, this is a handy service for families looking to stock up, not to mention anyone renting a home on the resort. The shuttle runs on demand, so guests must call ahead for it.
On-site laundry facilities are available at the hotel, with some suites featuring in-room washer and dryer.
Baby equipment rentals, including full-size cribs, strollers, high chairs, gates, car seats and more is available through Bear Baby Equipment Rental (877-342-2229). They provide free delivery and pickup to the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
With Martha's Vineyard mainly a seasonal destination, the Winnetu is open late-April through late October, with the majority of its programs offered between June and September.
Direct flights to Martha's Vineyard are offered through Boston, New York, Providence, R.I., and Washington, D.C., as well as Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod. Most arrive via ferry, which leave from Falmouth, Woods Hole, Hyannis, Nantucket and New Bedford, Mass., and New York City and Quonset, R.I.
For Mom and Dad
Massages can be arranged through concierge. Select Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone or other treatments right in your own room.