The Winnetu, a massive property (for Martha's Vineyard) with gorgeous views and a location within a quick walk of the beach, doesn’t come cheaply. But families with kids will appreciate that the majority of activities are included in the room rates. The rooms are simple but comfortable, and refreshingly decorated in a colorful, coastal-cottage style. All rooms offer the amenities for cooking and dining in, but the on-site gourmet grill is a delicious option for dining out as well. Although it's a short drive (or free shuttle) to Edgartown's Main Street, the resort offers plenty to do on-site -- including yoga on the lawn, weekly seasonal clambakes, two outdoor tennis courts, a heated outdoor pool, and a putting green. The resort mainly caters to families, who often opt to book the more spacious cottages or multi-bedroom suites.
If you want a quiet and relaxing kid-free resort, you may want to look elsewhere
Kids, kids, and more kids! It’s not an exaggeration to say that during the summer season, the Winnetu is packed full of kids. Families enjoy the abundance of free activities that come with the room rates, not to mention the chance to send their kids off to the free Children’s Club that will keep the little darlings busy for most of the day. Come dinnertime, there are even baby sitters to keep the kids entertained in a separate family area (away from the main dining room). Couples might enjoy a visit to The Winnetu during the colder season, when the property is quieter and a bit more relaxing.
A short driving distance from Main Street, with beautiful water views
The Winnetu was built on the Old South Beach Rail Stop, and the same spot served as the naval, air, and sea base during World War II. After the war, it was converted to the Katama Shores Motor Inn, which was removed for the Winnetu back in 1999. As it remains, the Winnetu is the only hotel property on South Beach.
Beautiful South Beach is 250 yards away on a path through the property and across a street (a main road, incidentally, although there never seems to be much traffic). With kids, toys, and chairs in tow, it may feel like a longer walk, but once you get to the picturesque beach, you’ll likely forget about it.
There’s not much you can’t do on the Winnetu’s massive property adjacent to South Beach, but it's still only a short drive away from Main Street in Edgartown for those who want a bit of the Vineyard action.
Edgartown is the island’s largest town and is a popular destination for visitors because of the many shops, galleries, and restaurants on Main Street. It is also where the movie Jaws was filmed.
For beautiful sunrises, head over to nearby Lighthouse Beach; for sunsets, South Beach is the best destination. Catch the ferry into Oak Bluffs, a town known for its adorable gingerbread cottages, or into Vineyard Haven. Both towns offer plenty of cute shops, galleries, and restaurants, and are good jumping-off points for visiting the rest of the island. Chappaquiddick Island is just across the way (most famous for Ted Kennedy's infamous car accident).
On the west side of the island (a bit more remote than on the east), Menemsha is known as the spot for unbelievable sunsets along the harbor. The Gay Head Cliffs, and Gay Head Lighthouse, are also local points of interest.
Getting to Martha's Vineyard can only be done by ferry or air. Ferries run out of Woods Hole, Falmouth, New Bedford, Hyannis (all MA locations), and Quonset Point, RI into Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven. If you want to bring a car to the island, you have to depart from Woods Hole, as the Steamship Authority is the only ferry that transports cars. Cape Air, US Airways and Jet Blue offer service into Martha's Vineyard Airport for those choosing to fly.
If you don't intend to do much traveling around the island, a car isn't necessary. The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority operates efficient buses that travel the island year round. And given the extreme lack of parking in town, a car can be a huge headache in the summer. Biking is another popular mode of transportation.
11-minute drive to Martha's Vineyard Airport
5-minute walk to South Beach, great for surf and sunsets
8-minute drive to Main Street, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and galleries
15-minute drive to Oak Bluffs
20-minute drive to Vineyard Haven
30-minute drive to Menemsha Beach
45-minute ferry ride to Woods Hole, Oak Bluffs, or Vineyard Haven
From the smaller, more affordable studio rooms, to the expansive, more expensive suites and rental homes, all the guest rooms at the Winnetu are decorated in a casual beach-chic style with refreshing pops of color. The rooms are simple and clean -- you won’t find antiques (like in many other area resorts), or high-end bedding (although the beds are quite comfortable), but the decor fits the resort’s feel.
Each room opens to the outdoors, which can be noisy if there are lots of kids running around, although the hotel instituted quiet hours in the evening to help avoid that problem. Couples looking for quiet and romance may try requesting rooms removed from the most child-friendly areas of the resort.
Lure Grill: Open nightly for dinner (depending on the season), serving American cuisine made from local, sustainable ingredients with plenty of fresh seafood. It is the only restaurant on South Beach, and during the morning hours, it serves as the breakfast dining room for full daily-breakfast buffet, with omelet station included.
Lure Cocktail Lounge: Open daily (depending on the season), featuring beautiful views over the property and toward the ocean.
The Poolside Grill: Open seasonally, serving American fare such as sandwiches, salads, and seafood. There is also a children's menu available.