Historic property reopens with modern amenities in Los Olivos
Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves in the historic town of Los Olivos, Mattei’s Tavern has welcomed guests since the late 1880s when pioneers began settling this valley just north of Santa Barbara.
Witness to changing times, from the stagecoach era through the introduction of railroads and automobiles, the iconic property has thrived with dedicated stewards at its helm.
Today, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection, is ushering in the next phase in the evolution of this property with new accommodations, a state-of-the-art spa, special guest experiences and destination dining venues.
“We are delighted to open the doors to The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern and officially welcome the property to the Auberge family,” said Craig Reid, president and CEO, Auberge Resorts Collection. “Our owners, Brian Strange and Deepak Kamra, had a vision to create a hotel that is true to the heritage of this historic property and embraces the local community. The result is a resort that celebrates the soul, character and history that has made Mattei’s an icon in the area since the 1800s and yet feels so relevant for today’s discerning traveler.”
Set on 6.5 acres opposite the original Los Olivos staging post, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern sits in the center of town and has always been its convivial heart. With its iconic water tower still rising as one of the town’s most recognizable landmarks, the property consists of numerous free-standing cottages embraced by landscaped gardens and lawns.
Opening again with its history celebrated and upheld in every detail, the property has been reimagined by renowned design firm AvroKO. Original buildings, including the Tavern and a handful of original cottages, have been restored and complemented by newly built structures in keeping with the relaxed country style and heritage of this heirloom property.
Exposed wooden beams, restored wainscoting and unlacquered brass fixtures are featured throughout the property, while vintage furnishings, lighting and accessories are designed to add depth and character.
Since its founding, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern has had several important stewards who have shaped its narrative and inspired its design. Gin’s Tap Bar, for example, is named after Gin Lung Gin, the head chef for decades starting in 1910. His Chinese heritage is celebrated in the venue’s antique, carved wooden-horse sculptures.
The Pinochle Room, the resort’s private dining room, pays homage to Felix Mattei and his loyal manager, Gus Berg, who were known to play a nightly game of cards and is now home to the original namesake painting, “Pinochle” by Mr. Mattei’s son, Clarence.
“I am incredibly proud of the dynamic and talented team who have brought this vision to life while honoring the history of Mattei’s and infusing it with their own spirit and passion,” said Dave Elcon, general manager. “Mattei’s Tavern has always been a celebrated social hub in the community, and we are excited to honor its history and century-old memories while creating new ones.”
The Tavern is the signature restaurant, serving a chef-driven, ranch-inspired menu with many of the ingredients harvested from the on-site garden. Inside, history lingers in the atmospheric décor, while alfresco dining can be enjoyed beneath the vine-covered trellis. The core menu offers grilled proteins and vegetables alongside revolving seasonal specials.
The Bar with its Wild West roots rests alongside, while Felix Feed & Coffee is the property’s European-style coffee bar and bakery, serving freshly baked goods, homemade sodas and all-day breakfasts.
Gin’s Tap Bar has a menu that pays homage to Gin himself, celebrating Asian-inspired influences.
Moving away from the original structures and into the gardens, The Shed is tucked into a remnant grove of olive trees beside the property’s swimming pool and serves a poolside menu.
A curated selection of historically-driven craft cocktails are featured on the Mattei’s Tavern bar menu, such as the signature Old Fashioned, “Old Gus Berg,” named after Felix Mattei’s right-hand man. The comprehensive wine list is California-focused, with many wines available by the glass, while the large cellar holds some of the finest from across the Central Coast and beyond.
Dating back to the original Mattei’s Tavern in 1886, the four historic cottages — Oak, Cedar, Cypress and Canary — have been restored to preserve their original wooden floors and inviting front porches on which rockers await. Updated to offer spacious ensuite bathrooms, most with clawfoot tub and walk-in shower, each is unique. Some feature garden patios with a loveseat or daybed; others boast sitting rooms with working fireplaces.
The two-bedroom Courtyard Cottage is a new building designed to reflect Mattei’s original structures. Accommodating up to four guests, it offers a large living room and opens onto two private garden patios, one with an outdoor fireplace and the other with a jacuzzi.
Homestead Cottage is also a new building with two bedrooms, which can be booked together or separately. Each bedroom has a private outdoor lounge space, one with a private jacuzzi.
The Guest Houses are airy, clapboard bedrooms set within new, two-story structures. Each offers either a garden patio, a terrace or a sun porch with rocker and swing.
The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern offers tailored activities and excursions such as guiding guests to local wineries or offering immersive culinary programs that range from preparing fresh, local uni to cooking paella alongside executive chef Rhoda Magbitang.
Also available are cycling tours to discover the vineyard backroads of Santa Ynez, tours where guests infuse their own olive oil with fresh herbs from the onsite culinary garden and making campfire pies around a live open fire.
Opening this summer, The Lavender Barn, an Auberge Spa, offers a seasonal treatment menu and hand-blended, plant-based product range designed to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.
Five single treatment rooms are joined by one couple’s treatment room that opens onto a secluded outdoor space with two horse-trough tubs for therapeutic bathing.
In March, the resort will debut The Cottage, two treatment rooms offering restorative treatments inspired by the aromatic flowers, deep roots, rich soil and the twilight skies of Los Olivos.