Insider’s Guide to the Haute Hamptons

A Place to Rest Your Head

Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina
32 Star Island Rd.

This past year, the 80-year-old Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina reopened, unveiling multimillion-dollar renovations that restore its Prohibition-era grandeur as well as a host of modern-day amenities. Part of the international Island Global Yachting network, the historic property comprises 107 rooms and 23 private villa accommodations. The property is a self-contained resort including everything from a full-service spa and fitness center to upscale retail, dining, and nightlife experiences. The resort amenities also include a private beach, tennis, outdoor and indoor pools, golf at the nearby Montauk Downs, as well as the first-class, 232-slip marina. There are four dining facilities: the Gulf Coast Kitchen, Hurricane Alley, Barracuda Bar and Turtle Lounge. The marina was recognized by Yachting magazine as one of the “Top Ten Marina Destinations in North America, Mexico & the Bahamas.” It can accommodate vessels measuring up to 275 feet and features signature IGY services and full resort services dockside. For more information, check out “A Rich History,” a guide to East Coast marinas, in this edition’s “On the Water” chapter.

Sunset Beach
35 Shore Rd.
Shelter Island

For the nouveau Hamptons visitor, reserving a room or renting a house right in the heart of the heyday of summertime fun is too tempting to resist. But for the experienced Hamptons vacationer who is truly seeking an authentic beach retreat, a short trek down the road to Shelter Island always delivers a return on the investment of drive time. This hidden gem of the East End, located in the inlet between the forks of Long Island, is home to a ’60s-style hipster hotel, courtesy of André Balazs of the Standard Hotel and Chateau Marmont fame. The hotel presents simple, beach-chic rooms with bay-view balconies. The staff, hand-picked from 25 different countries, is eager to help with any special requests, even offering guests pointers for the on-site Petanque game. Sunset Beach’s 20 rooms are outfitted according to a decorating theme that could be described as kitschy-chic. Don’t be frightened though, luxury-lovers can still bask in the glory of 400-thread count sheets and private sun decks. Whimsical, relaxing, and super-secluded are the attributes that draw in the guests who are seeking a real weekend getaway.

Haute Newcomers

Activities on the East End abound, but first things first-the commute was horrid and you are starving. Hamptonites and Hampton-goers, famous for under-using their Viking stoves, will be glad to know the restaurant scene will remain alive and well this summer with a new roster of eateries aiming to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the jetset to venture forth to eat, drink, and be merry. These choice locales are poised to be the hautest new dining destinations this year.

Mezzaluna Amg
231 Main St.

Since the venerated Gordon’s Restaurant closed its doors after 30 years, people have wondered who would fill the very big shoes left by the Amagansett eatery. Following a 16-month, top-to-bottom building renovation, Mezzaluna Amg will be opening this June, matching its simple yet sophisticated food to the Hamptons lifestyle. Licensed from Mezzaluna NYC, the Amagansett incarnation features NYC’s former chef Marco Divina, who was flown in from Florence to preside over the menu. Those who can’t live without Mezzaluna’s famed pizza during the summer months will be happy to know they can find the pies here-accompanied by a full bar, a welcome change from the Manhattan flagship.

Owner and operator Jack Luber teamed with architect James D’Auria to give the new restaurant a clean, modern interior. The full-wall glass windows provide diners a glimpse of Main Street to the front and a picturesque garden and patio to the rear. In true Hamptons fashion, Mezzaluna Amg will offer Après Beach from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with lighter fare perfect for post-surf, -sand, or -sail. For those who prefer to have a siesta following sun worshipping, dinner is served until 11:30 p.m. nightly. And for those with a spot in their hearts for the past, the East End’s most recognized maître d’ Tasim has continued on with Mezzaluna following the lamented closing of Gordon’s.

Phao Thai Kitchen
29 Main Street
Sag Harbor

Like a favorite old boyfriend who moves back to town, after a seven-year sabbatical Phao Restaurant is back. Moving in next to its sister sushi restaurant Sen in the former Sen Spice Lounge space, Phao Thai Kitchen is heating up Main Street in Sag Harbor. If your palate is set to mild, traditional favorites like chicken satay and pad thai are crowd pleasers, or should you prefer to sizzle, go for the tongue-tingling drunken noodles. Chef Deena Chafetz capitalizes on her local seafood connections to headline her creations. Cool down arrives in the form of signature exotic cocktails perfect for summer, like the cucumber mojito, or a choice from the extensive beer and sake list. The space is dark and intimate with an Asian feel that is a welcome ethnic counterpoint for the Hamptons. Co-owner Jeff Resnick likens it to a small club one might find in St. Barths. As the moon rises and the mid-summer Saturday night partygoers get ready for dreams, the tables clear and the restaurant transforms into a chill dance lounge with DJ.

Georgica Restaurant and Lounge
108 Wainscott Stone Rd.

There is hallowed ground, and in the Hamptons there is also hallowed water. Georgica Pond has been graced by many a mogul resident, and now Georgica Restaurant and Lounge is setting its own stylish lily pad on this pond, launching in the space formerly occupied by Saracen. The classic Tudor exterior opens to an updated, spacious, bright interior with bar, restaurant including a covered porch with a view of the pond, and chill-out lounge upstairs with a private chef’s table. Fresh off of the hit Gordon Ramsay show Hell’s Kitchen, Chefs Robert Hesse of Q Restaurant in Quogue and Seth Levine, who trained at the Lorenzo de Medici Culinary School in Florence, combine skills to offer Modern American comfort food like truffle lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and local watermelon and heirloom tomato salad. Georgica also offers a killer weekend brunch and late night menu with fresh brick-oven pizzas, served alongside signature sangria and specialty drinks made from fresh juice mixers. Matt Levine (of the Eldridge and Levant East), who is overseeing the evening’s late night entertainment, sets the space’s lively tone.

Sunset Beach
35 Shore Rd.
Shelter Island

While we recommend Sunset Beach as a relaxing resort to escape the typical Hamptons madness, if you can’t resist the urge to stay in the heart of the action, you must at least spend an afternoon, which rolls into the evening, enjoying the restaurant at Andre Balazs’ Shelter Island hotel. Preferring the island’s low-key nature to more thriving East End enclaves, international high profilers have quietly been buying on the island for years, and frequenting this beachside hot spot where no less than three languages are often heard over espresso and Limoncello. Bathing beauties who had to swim from the yacht and lunch with a wet bikini in years past will be glad to know that this season a launch will shuttle them to shore, also accommodating hotel guests arriving via seaplane.

The al fresco French restaurant skips the heavy in favor of crisp flavors. A crostini served with a fava, mint, basil purée; shaved local asparagus salad; and whole roasted Branzino with white wine and thyme are menu favorites. Inspired by Provence, the light, fragrant Andre Balazs Reserve Sunset Beach Rosé wine perfectly complements many menu items, and serves a second purpose beyond libation: filtering the setting sun through the chilled glass to bathe diners in a flattering pink hue. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner until midnight, the restaurant hosts everyone from beach-goers in sarongs to black-tie revelers post-benefit. Patou, described as the soul of Sunset Beach, brings his favorite music from around the tropical world to set the vibe, turning it up after dinner for those looking to dance under the stars. Just make sure you don’t miss the last ferry to the mainland.

c/o The Maidstone
207 Main St.
East Hampton

Hip arrives in the Hamptons via Stockholm. The eco-friendly Scandinavian lifestyle c/o Hotels have expanded to the historic Maidstone Arms in East Hampton Village, respecting the grande dame’s traditional façade while transforming the interior into a mix of vibrant colors and contemporary comforts. Proud owner Jenny Ljungberg collaborated with designer Nadia Tolstoy to create “Scandinavian cozy,” a curated mix of antiques and modern pieces, taking the lead from colorful vintage Josef Frank fabrics and furniture design.

Any time of day, the lounge welcomes guests to relax and enjoy an antioxidant smoothie or a glass of organic Champagne. “I made a personal choice to value how I live,” says Jenny, “and I plan to live a long time.” That motto is reflected in the onsite yoga classes, meditation garden, organic linens, and aromatherapy found in each room. The new Living Room restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is a partnership of slow food pioneer Executive Chef James Carpenter and Swedish Sous Chef Bjorn Eriksson. The menu features local organic produce, meat, and seafood prepared with a Scandinavian twist. Take, for example, Toast Pelle Janzon, a grass-fed beef carpaccio named after a Swedish opera star; or Toast Skagen, baby shrimp mixed with chopped dill dressing on a toasted brioche. The wine list mirrors the menu with the best local wines as well as international vintages. Wine club members have the added benefit of keeping their own stash on site to be served when they visit. A world traveler, Jenny aims to spread “the art of appreciation,” introducing her guests to the best of the Hamptons, Sweden, and the rest of the globe.

Day & Night Restaurant and Beach Club
281 County Rd. 39A

Dynamic duo Derek and Daniel Koch of Merkato 55 have turned back the clock to start the daytime vibe at the newly opened Day & Night Restaurant and Beach Club next to the Pink Elephant Nightclub in Southampton. Poolside at the Capri Hotel, local and international DJ’s spin tunes in this super sexy sandbox where everyone wants to play. Guests lounge in private cabanas or gather at tables on the deck to enjoy a menu that morphs from light summer salads to twin grass-fed Day & Night burgers to an extensive raw bar. Signature summer cocktails are infused with fresh peach, cucumber, and wild Hamptons strawberries, and the energy, like the Champagne, is brimming over the top. At this new sunny hot spot, 2 p.m. is the new 2.a.m. where revelers can have brunch then stretch out on a day bed or stand up and samba. The handsome double-D team of Derek and Daniel lend their personal touch, raising the bar on summer Hamptons’ fun.