Inn at Langley honored as one of the best

Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines have recognized what locals have known for ages: Langley is a top destination with world-class accommodations.

“The thing I’ve come to see that is most important in any aspect of business is the people,” said Matt Costello, who manages The Inn at Langley and serves as chef at The Inn’s Chef’s Kitchen Restaurant.

The secret of the inn’s success is simple.

“Having people who are really passionate about what they do,” he said. “Serving food is not about carrying food from point A to point B, but about understanding the artistry of food.”

The staff at the 26-room inn on the bluff off First Street in Langley has that passion, Costello explained and guests know it.

Office manager Erin Miller said the entire team at the inn works everyday to keep up the high standards that have kept guests coming back since 1994.

“It’s a great place. It’s a great atmosphere to work,” Miller said. “We want to provide the best for our guests. Everybody who works here sees it as our second home,” she added.

A number of travel writers seem to agree.

The January issue of

Travel + Leisure recognized the inn as one of the world’s best

500 hotels and ranked it one of the top accommodations in Washington, noting its sublime location and the spectacular views from each room. The magazine showcased the inn alongside other notable Northwest properties such as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle and Willows Lodge in Woodinville.

The inn was also the Seattle CitySearch editorial winner for Best Weekend Getaway for 2007. CitySearch praised the inn’s rugged Northwest style and Asian simplicity of design as well as the stunning views of the mountains, sea, sailboats, blue herons, sunrises and sunsets.

The January issue of Condé Nast Traveler awarded the Inn at Langley its top award for design in the United States. The popular hotel on the bluff edged out some notable giants, including the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. The inn scored 96.7 points for design out of a possible 100.

Miller said another reason for the success of the inn is community support. Locals come for special celebrations or recommend the hotel to visiting relatives or treat themselves to a day at Spa Essentia. The management team at the inn tries to return the favor. Most employees live in Langley and the hotel uses local services and products if possible, she said.

Costello said it is also important to him that staff has health care benefits, compatible pay — an important aspect for the South End with its lack of family-wage jobs.

“It’s people over profit,” he said.

And it shows. Restaurant Guide awarded The Chef’s Kitchen Restaurant, which Costello heads up, an “Extraordinary Rating” in each year since 2004.

At the Chef’s Kitchen Restaurant, Costello serves up award-winning cuisine to tourists and locals and most of what people will find on their plates comes from Whidbey Island.

“He really believes in sustaining the local economy,” Miller said.

Costello’s cuisine highlights the products of Whidbey farmers and food producers and the fruits of the Puget Sound. Menu items include Penn Cove mussels, locally-foraged mushrooms, troll-caught salmon and seasonal produce.

Costello explained that it adds the “flavor of the culture” on South Whidbey and the idea of using local products is making its way into the culinary main stream. Plus it’s also easy to come by.

“There are two farmers markets that are packed just minutes from Langley,” Costello said. “It’s not just dried flowers and art. People are growing food here.”

The restaurant serves a six-course dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings prepared by Costello.

The price per person is $80, not including wine, tax or gratuity. Dinner is open to Inn at Langley guests and the general public. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 221-3033.

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