So much is packed into the three-month-long Hamptons summer season that one needs a well-planned strategy to navigate the ever-expanding social extravaganza. Haute Living has sifted through the good, the bad, and the fabulous to create a compilation of the ultimate East End must-dos, must-haves, and must-sees.
By Felicity Sargent
290 Old Montauk Highway
Gurney’s Resort and Sea Water Spa has been a fixture in the pristine dunes of Montauk for the last 80 years. Lauded for its priceless views, Gurney’s Resort is the perfect remedy for the stresses of daily life and work in the city. It worked for Richard Nixon; he wrote his acceptance speech at the Skipper’s Cottage. Most guests come for the peace and quiet, but there are additional attractions, namely the delicious cuisine prepared and served by respected Chef Chip Monte, who presents spa guests with a wonderful array of culinary choices. Options abound in all aspects of the spa. One can indulge in various treatments one day then relax in the sea pool or burn off extra tension in a high intensity spin class the next. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of Gurney’s Resort is the fact that it overlooks its own private beach, with 1,000 feet of soft, white sand.
35 Shore Road
To stay in one of Sunset Beach’s 20 casually elegant hotel rooms is to partake in the absolute best that Shelter Island has to offer. Brilliant sunset views, potent mojitos, and unpretentious fun draw the uncharacteristically small assemblage of vacationers and weekenders that seek a decidedly un-Hamptons experience. The prevalent untucked Oxford shirts and vividly colored beach attire will assure any uncertain guest of the relaxed and carefree vibe emanating from the sandy Crescent Beach. A lively bar and beachside French restaurant only add to the fun feel of the hotel. Private terraces with water views adjoining each well-designed room confidently supplement the intimate feel of the boutique hotel. Hardwood floors and 400 thread count sheets escalate the comfort level of each room, while bright orange accents such as the bathroom sinks bring whimsy into the clean, white palate. Open each year from Memorial Day until Labor Day, Sunset Beach’s summer schedule equates a thoughtful, unique, and well-designed Shelter Island getaway with a Saint Tropez feel.
1854 Noyack Path
With the luxurious interior and expansive lawns, it comes as no surprise that The Estate is the place of choice to see and be seen in the Hamptons.
The summer season wouldn’t be complete without attending an event at the ultimate luxury A-list destination, The Estate of Sag Harbor. The property boasts eight spacious and beautifully landscaped acres, one of the many aspects that keeps The Estate positively dripping with celebs throughout the summer months. Inside the palatial compound are seven elegant bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms, six fireplaces, and more than 10,000 square feet of living and entertaining space. Throughout the halls are vast palladium windows, classic hardwood floors, and pristine white couches; the décor is comfortably chic and is reflective of all things Hamptons. Outside, decks with cascading staircases lead to the slate poolside patio filled with chaise lounges and candlelit tables, while upper level awnings surround the house filled with an ambiance of sophistication. With the luxurious interior and expansive lawns, it comes as no surprise that The Estate is the place of choice to see and be seen in the Hamptons. It is regularly used throughout the summer to host exclusive cocktail parties, private art exhibits, fashion shows, and rare intimate concerts.
Blue & Cream
60 on the Circle
Since 2004, Blue & Cream has been synonymous with one-stop shopping in the Hamptons. B&C carries brands that range from classic to cutting-edge, catering to men, women, and children, which makes it nearly impossible to go home empty-handed no matter where you fall on the style chart. Mastermind Jeff Goldstein relies heavily on his personal taste to pull together a unique mix of designers. If his illustrious following is any indication-Lydia Hearst, Molly Sims, and countless Hamptonite boldfaced names are devotees-Goldstein’s finger seems to be firmly on the pulse. Each week, the store hosts a trunk show at which one young designer is the beneficiary of Goldstein’s star-making power. Loyal customers are invited to view the collections while Champagne is served. Blue & Cream has a strong following, three retail stores (East Hampton, Southampton, and Bowery), and has just launched their own B&C super-casual wear line of footwear, skateboards, tee shirts, and hoodies.
1181 North Sea Road
To keep up with the ever evolving nightlife of the East End, Dune, a favorite A-lister hangout, has been revamped with a brand new muse: Brigitte Bardot. The French sex-symbol, actress, model, activist, and collective icon of the 1950s and ’60s seems all too appropriate to serve as creative inspiration for Dunes’ new image. Her persona exudes sophistication and sensuality, which are accurately conveyed at the club through its new décor. White banquets and dark tables are strategically placed throughout the rooms, and the background is filled with black and white prints to complete Dune’s sexy new look for the summer of ’08. Familiar faces from the New York social scene, Daniel Waldron and Andrew Goldberg of Marquee, Alex Rodriguez of BLT, and Lindsay Risk from the Gerber Group, will ensure the ultimate VIP experience that seasoned Hamptonites have come to expect. With an ambiance akin to the Island of Capri, the allure of Bardot, and distinguished DJs taking charge of the turntables, it looks as if summer ’08 at Dune will be the best one yet.
Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge
849 Hayground Road
The oldest team sport in history will continue its legacy at the thrilling Opening Day of the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at JetOne Jets Field at Bridgehampton Polo Club. Games begin July 21 and promise to be just as exciting as they were nearly 2,000 years ago when polo originated among nomadic warriors. An evolved sense of sportsmanship and rules, however, guarantee that the sport’s current incarnation is not likely to have more than a slight resemblance to its ancestor. With teams White Birch and Endeavor kicking off the competition and festivities in the first week of play, this year will be the most successful to date, with media in full force, major sponsors, and a continued tradition of socialites, celebrities, and die-hard fans turning out in unprecedented numbers. The Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge is also a team effort for charity, and all proceeds will go to the South Fork Breast Health Coalition.
The Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere St.
Long considered an un-Hamptons alternative, Montauk is getting a dose of glamour this season from the team responsible for the Cain nightclubs and the delightfully gaudy Goldbar. The location was the inspiration behind the theme and décor of the new hotel, restaurant, and lounge. The Surf Lodge and its 2,600-square-foot lounge, the Deck, bring a beachy, laid back addition to Hamptons nightlife this summer. The Deck has a full bar where guests can sample the mixologist’s specialty cocktails, created specifically for the space, and is perfect for après surf sundowners or festivities lasting late into the night. Weekends promise a lineup of big headliner concerts and nights of carousing beneath the starry Montauk sky. The Deck’s setup includes lounging areas and a separate space with cocktail tables, and there is also the indoor bar, the Den, where classic surf films from the ’60s are on a permanent display. There are 32 rooms in the hotel, as well as a restaurant that specializes in locally caught seafood and ingredients provided by Montauk farmers.
Old Beach Lane
Built in 1891, the exclusive Maidstone Club remains one of the preeminent golf courses in North America. Located in East Hampton, which was then called Maidstone by early English settlers, Maidstone Club hails back to its British roots, while accurately matching the links of Scotland. One of the first 100 golf courses in the United States, Maidstone Club also lays claim to a private stretch of beach, pool, tennis house, and clubhouse. Boasting 27 holes-both an 18-hole and a 9-hole course-much of the private golf course offers breathtaking views of the dramatic Atlantic Ocean, particularly the ninth hole, providing both a challenge and a picturesque panorama. Mid-course, expect to play amongst sand dunes overlooking the ocean, though stunning views and interesting play are prevalent throughout the entire course.
Stubbs & Wootton
14 Jobs Lane
Embraced by East Coast blue bloods since 1993, Percy Steinhart, designer of the famed velvet Stubbs & Wootton slippers, has garnered a solid following among the Palm Beach, Manhattan, and Hamptons sets. Steinhart’s designs appeal to traditionalists and iconoclasts alike, making the slippers a multigenerational must-have. Original embroidered designs that are considered S&W classics include devils, martini glasses, palm trees, and personalized family crests stitched into the basic black, navy, brown, or custom-colored velvet. At the Southampton store this summer, Steinhart expects his espadrille slippers will be in high demand. These shoes, made from straw and raffia, are the perfect light footwear for the season. Over the last few years, men and women have adopted Steinhart’s modern interpretation of the house shoe as a wardrobe staple for just about any occasion. The result is footwear that pairs perfectly with linen pants, jeans, Bermuda shorts, or tuxedos. The summer shoe in particular seems to have been created with the Hamptons in mind. From lunch at Nello to drinks at the Maidstone Club, Stubbs & Wootton rises to the occasion.
44 Three Mile Harbor Road
This summer, the celebrated New York steakhouse Kobe Club has established an East Hampton location ideal for outdoor enjoyment. Its menu allows diners to choose from simple yet superior classics and innovative fare such as sake cured salmon, Kurobuta “black” pork chops with Japanese chili pepper applesauce, and for dessert fans, the decadent chocolate caviar. An extensive martini menu provides plentiful options to please the most discerning of palates, like the signature Kobe Punch, a punch bowl filled with vodka, marinated pineapple, mango, and citrus, accompanied by fresh-squeezed juice and ice. For those enjoying the warm Hamptons evenings, a late night menu and visit to the adjoining nightclub Lily Pond is the perfect end to a fantastic night out. Should one choose to eschew the club scene, the exclusive nature of Kobe Club will assure a pleasant and quiet and intimate night of dining and cocktails.