Insider’s Guide to the Haute Hamptons

By Heather Buchanan and Christina Bohnstengel

The Hamptons have long been considered the stomping grounds for the nation’s elite. For a three-month span each year, the East End of Long Island becomes the most exclusive stretch of land in the U.S., a haven where celebrities intermingle with the extremely wealthy while those who are considered merely rich are relegated to spend their summers observing from the sidelines.

While finding a summer home to rent, or perhaps a permanent address to call home, may be easier than in years past, just because you happen to physically be in the area code doesn’t mean that you are officially in the know. In fact, in the 1950s people often said, “Southampton is for the sporting rich; Bridgehampton is for the nearly rich; East Hampton for the filthy rich.” And while the saying may hold more true than not, there’s more to the Hamptons than just shopping on the main drags, socializing, and sunning on the beach. Some of the smaller, less glitzy communities on the East End have much to offer those seeking a simpler lifestyle. That’s why Haute Living is here to help navigate all of the best locales, from the latest and greatest restaurants and shopping havens to the established outposts that we have come to adore. Whether in the Hamptons for the first time this season or the first time in your lifetime, head to any of these haute spots and experience a glorious piece of the coveted Hamptons lifestyle.

 For those who may not have their own plane or a fractional ownership in NetJets, there are a number of charter services available in the area.

First Things First: Getting There…in Style

One if by Air

Success is a journey, not a destination. This adage clearly was said with regret by someone stuck in traffic trying to get to the Hamptons for a summer weekend. For those who know that time is money and quality time with family is priceless, a 40-minute ride to the East End via helicopter or private jet deposits savings in the enjoyment bank.

For those arriving by air, the East Hampton Airport can accommodate jets up to a G5, as well as helicopters; larger private jets must head for the Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. A bit under the radar is the helipad on Meadow Lane in Southampton. Residents on this desirable street were willing to pay prices upwards of $40 million per estate not only because of the stunning ocean and bay views but also thanks to the convenience of being able to travel from Manhattan to Meadow Lane practically door to door.

For those who may not have their own plane or a fractional ownership in NetJets, there are a number of charter services available in the area. Sound Aircraft Services, based at East Hampton Airport, operates a shared charter seaplane service on Cessna Caravans from the E23rd seaport in Manhattan-perfect for weekend travel.

Traveling to the Hamptons in style is an absolute must, and as such, what better way to arrive than in the Rolls-Royce of helicopters, the Sikorski S-76. Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the same brand used for the presidential helicopter as well as the royal family of England, and the namesake of the inventor of the modern helicopter. As such, AAG is the largest helicopter charter company that can deliver you from your corporate business meeting in the city to your beachfront island estate. Not only are they the largest, but their experience with high profile fliers, from C-level executives to government leaders to entertainment moguls, means their client list is shrouded in secrecy, as one would expect. They have built their reputation on professionalism and an intricate understanding of their client demographic, which is someone who has everything but time.

Haute Jets, our newly launched private charter service, works with all models of luxury air travel, and has access to an amazing fleet of Citation X’s that fly to the Hamtons. The company offers on-demand charter, with access to more than 5,000 jets leaving from airports around the world with as little as 12 hours notice.  We also provide full concierge service that will arrange catering and ground transportation upon arrival. More information on all of these services can be found on our web site,, where you can explore all of the charter options.

Two if by Sea

How civilized to sail into the Hamptons just in time for the famed sunsets at East Hampton Point Marina and Resort. To extend their playgrounds beyond the deck of yachts, boaters can dock in the full-service marina (complete with lounge and provision store), which accommodates yachts up to 60 feet in the slip and up to 120 feet on a moor on the outer dock. The resort offers a heated pool, as well as a gym and tennis courts to help sailors regain their land legs. Recently renovated private English country manor cottages and suites are also available to rent. The restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows keeps with the nautical theme, and Chef Craig Attwood incorporates the local bounty from both the sea and farms into his menu. Not to be missed: brunch on the outdoor deck, complete with an expansive raw bar.

Guest service specialists are onsite to help arrange anything from private yoga classes, spa treatments, and babysitting, to visiting award-winning local vineyards. Should one have to jump off the megayacht for a quick jaunt into Manhattan, it will prove to be no problem at this resort, as the owner is also the proprietor of East Hampton Airlines, which is available for guests to charter. The epitome of chic rides, the newest aircraft has an Hermès saddle leather interior.

A famous port for more than 250 years, Sag Harbor’s wharfs have seen everything from whaling boats and British schooners to luxury pleasure yachts. Its secure harbor and charming bayside Victorian village make it a return destination for well-keeled mariners.

The Sag Harbor Yacht Club, which dates to 1899, welcomes all visiting yachtsmen from smaller family vessels to large megayachts. The club is known for its professional staff that offers concierge service to both owners and crews alike. While SHYC’s prime location keeps the club quiet and private, it is still only a short walk into the village and short drive to the pristine Hamptons beaches.

Sag Harbor Cove Yacht Club is tucked quietly away on the side of town, availing 160 slips for power boats up to 75 feet, provided they can clear the 21 ½-foot bridge into the protected cove, which has front row seats to bursting sunsets. A helpful staff can arrange day charters for water skiing, wake boarding, or fishing, and can pick up guests arriving via sea plane, which lands just outside the breakwater in the main harbor. An added bonus is the resident Beacon Restaurant, home to the best waterside dining in the Hamptons.