Winnetu Oceanside Resort History

We love sharing the background of our lovely island spot with those who appreciate its beauty and timelessness.

If you’re like many of our guests, you may enjoy learning a bit about the history of the places where you vacation. Read the overview below, ask as many questions as you want during your visit, and notice the many rare photographs hanging on the walls at the Winnetu Hotel and Mattakeset Properties.

Mattakesett Properties

Mattakesett was built in 1968 by Stanmar, Inc. and the Snider family. The name “Mattakesett” is a tribute to the original Mattakeset Lodge (Note only the one “t”) that flourished between 1874 and 1905 – and was located not far away from the present site.

The original Lodge was popular for its clambakes, dances under the stars and, most importantly, its uniquely south-facing location by the sea that was consistently cooled by the gentle sea breezes during the heat of summer.

Winnetu Evolution Railroad Schedule
Winnetu Evolution Railroad Map

Advertising poster and railroad map, circa 1890. Click images to enlarge.

Before the days of air conditioning, there was no more enjoyable place to be than the old Mattakeset Lodge. Not much has changed since then! Portions of the old lodge still stand today in Edgartown (see photo, above).

To accommodate the demands of its day, a narrow-gauge railroad was built, connecting the Oak Bluffs Steamship Wharf (same location as today) with Edgartown – and then out to Katama and the Mattakeset Lodge and South Beach. The South Beach rail stop was at the same site as today’s Winnetu Hotel. The railroad ended service in 1892 – a victim of poor management and washouts from storms.

Winnetu Oceanside Resort

The Winnetu Hotel opened on June 29, 2000. It was carefully designed to reflect both the Vineyard’s late nineteenth century, shingle-style character, and also provide all the modern conveniences guests expect today.

In addition to being the site of the old railroad beach stop, this spot also served as a Naval air and sea base during World War II. After the war, the base was converted to a hotel; a.k.a., the”Katama Shores Motor Inn.” The old hotel was removed in 1999 to make way for today’s Winnetu Hotel.

Both Mattakesett Properties and the Winnetu Hotel (a.k.a., “Winnetu Oceanside Resort”) continue under the ownership and management of the Snider family.

Please take a few moments to read the historic marker outside the entrance to Lure Grill at the Winnetu Hotel. There are some interesting stories to read, such as the one depicting an aerial practice run during World War II, from the naval base, which accidentally dropped a bomb on a neighbor’s house!



“Want a sugar-sand beach that seems relatively uncrowded, even during the summer’s peak weeks? South Beach…is your best bet…The waves are the kind you dream about — swells big enough for bodysurfing — with a rhythmic crash and ebb that’s sure to drown out nearly any other sound.”
The Boston Globe Magazine, 2009

Winnetu Hotel

Winnetu Hotel

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Lure Grill

Lure Grill

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Poolside Grill

Poolside Grill

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Clambake

Clambake

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Winnetu Tennis Courts

Winnetu Tennis Courts

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Winnetu Pool

Winnetu Pool

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South Beach Path

South Beach Path

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Garden Cottages

Garden Cottages

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Cape Pogue Cottage

Cape Pogue Cottage

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Plum Point Cottage

Plum Point Cottage

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Ocean Homes

Ocean Homes

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Katama Homes

Katama Homes

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  • 1 - Winnetu Hotel
  • 2 - Lure Grill
  • 3 - Poolside Grill
  • 4 - Clambake
  • 5 - Winnetu Tennis Courts
  • 6 - Winnetu Pool
  • 7 - South Beach Path
  • 8 - Garden Cottages
  • 9 - Cape Pogue Cottage
  • 10 - Plum Point Cottage
  • 11 - Ocean Homes
  • 12 - Katama Homes
Family Activities Center

Family Activities Center

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Pool/Kiddie Pool

Pool/Kiddie Pool

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Playground / Basketball

Playground / Basketball

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South Beach

South Beach

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Shuttle Bus Stop

Shuttle Bus Stop

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Townhouses

Townhouses

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Bay Homes

Bay Homes

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Katama Homes

Katama Homes

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South Beach Homes

South Beach Homes

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Winnetu Hotel

Winnetu Hotel

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  • 1 - Family Activities Center
  • 2 - Pool/Kiddie Pool
  • 3 - Playground / Basketball
  • 4 - South Beach
  • 5 - Shuttle Bus Stop
  • 6 - Townhouses
  • 7 - Bay Homes
  • 8 - Katama Homes
  • 9 - South Beach Homes
  • 10 - Winnetu Hotel