The Best Of The Hamptons 2011: Nightlife, Spas, Shopping, Dining and more

 Search no further for how to get to the go-to spots with ease and luxury.

Long Island’s East End beach towns are notorious for providing the elite with summers of sun-kissed skin, luxurious beaches, afternoons of shopping, evenings of fine dining and nights of lavish events and parties. Only a few hours from New York City but cosmopolitan nonetheless, the Hamptons serve as a summer oasis for New York’s haute, stylish and sophisticated. Comprised of chic, picturesque towns stretching along a serene 35-mile beach, each weekend throughout the summer brings a star-studded cast of vacationers from Westhampton to Amagansett. From outrageous estates to the hautest hotels, top rated chefs and shopping that could put the city to shame, here is this summer’s Hamptons haute list.

Getting There

The final minutes of what has been a grueling week of summer in the city tick by slowly. Finally, it’s time for another weekend of all things haute in the Hamptons. A relaxing rendezvous complete with a chilled glass of Rosé looms promisingly in your future. But first, you must battle the arduous standstill of traffic before the Hamptons can be reached. Search no further for how to get to the go-to spots with ease and luxury.

Flying high and cruising in style are the only way jetsetters will get to and from the Hamptons this summer. Associated Aircraft Group (888-235-9224) uses Sikorsky, air travel method of choice for such substantial figures such as the President and Fortune 100 company CEOs. Even England’s royal family flies AAG to travel safely and luxuriously to their destinations each year.

StndAir (855-786-3247) offers another exceptional way to soar quietly above city traffic. Leave it to hotelier André Balaz to launch this latest project of eight-passenger seaplanes available for charter service to destinations within 300 miles of New York City, including 45-minute flights from the East River to East Hampton on weekends.

For those with an affinity for luxury vehicles, or those who just want to kick back and enjoy the ride, Empire CLS Limo (800-451-5466) is the ultimate mode of travel. With an impressive collection of luxury vehicles, the Rolls Royce phantom is a perfect choice for those who really want to make a grand entrance.


Home to Coopers Beach, recently named the No. 1 beach in the U.S., and ten other gorgeous beaches to socialize with society’s finest, Southampton is one of the central towns out East offering vacationers and locals the best real estate, shopping and dining in the Hamptons.


Nello Summertimes (136 Main Street, 631-287-5500) is a one-stop haute spot, uniting the sophistication of fine dining with the vibrancy of a nightclub. The Hamptons offshoot of the chic Madison Avenue eatery, Nello, Nello Summertimes serves Northern Italian fare crafted by Executive Chef Luigi Casanova Wednesday through Sunday before transforming into a dance club on the weekends at 10 p.m. It’s about time. Tutto Il Giorno (56 Nugent Street, 631-377-3611) opens their second location after much success in Sag Harbor. For years, the Sag Harbor location has been a favorite haunt of celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Keith Richards and Calvin Klein. The new location has already drawn a wait list to rival that of its predecessor. Both spots are co-owned by chef Maurizio Marfoglia and Gabby Karan, daughter of legendary designer Donna Karan. With co-owner Karan responsible for the interior décor and Marfoglia designing the menu, regulars at the Sag Harbor spot can rest assured that the new location will not disappoint. Sant Ambroeus (30 Main Street, 631-283-1233) has been a Hamptons dining staple since opening in 1992. The eatery will reopen seven days a week this June with a brand-new look by designer Robert McKinley. Despite the vintage Italian-themed décor and photography by renowned artist Clifford Ross, Sant Ambroeus’ authentic and traditional Italian style cuisine remains untouched. With the arrival of the Capri comes the Hampton’s first permanent Nobu location, Nobu at the Capri (281 County Road; 631-488-4248). A slightly more relaxed version of its city counterpart but just as high in quality, Nobu at the Capri offers exquisite dishes exclusive to the Hamptons.


Cynthia Rowley at Capri (281 County Road, 39A, 631-504-6577) proves to be a one-stop shop for all things beach. The chic interior also makes for a perfect place to pick up contemporary art from Rowley’s Exhibition A. With a popular location in East Hampton, Intermix (64 Main Street; 631.283.8510) is regarded for its philosophy of mixing fashionable pieces in unexpected ways.

While shopping out east, the one piece that stands out is the Audemars Piguet Montauk Highway Watch. This exclusive piece pays homage to the original Long Island throughway that connected the city to the sea. It’s fitting that the watch is made exclusively for London Jewelers (47 Main Street, 631-287-4499,) one of Long Island’s oldest and most respected jewelry shops.


Those seeking a unique experience this summer should consider The Elm (230 Elm Street, 631-377-3900.) The recently renovated upscale restaurant/lounge caters to those with an interest in fashion, art and entertainment. For its 3rd consecutive year the stylish, revamped Axe Lounge (Dune) (1181 North Sea Road, 631-283-0808) offers world-class service to the Hamptons A-list crowd. South Pointe (125 Tuckahoe Road, 917-574-4112) geared toward the Hampton’s VIP crowd features table service, cabana beds and an outdoor patio area. The St. Tropez-inspired space coupled with vintage décor creates a sense of old world class.

East Hampton

With famous residents and a shopping scene to rival that of 5th Avenue, it is no wonder that East Hampton is where the rich go to play.


The Palm (94 Main Street, 631-324-0411) is the place to be seen in the Hamptons. The iconic steakhouse operates a menu featuring satisfying dishes that reflect the best of its Italian-American heritage from prime aged steaks to jumbo Nova Scotia lobsters. A seat at Nick & Toni’s (136 North Main Street; 631-324-3550) is widely recognized as one of the most sought-after spots in the Hamptons. The restaurant’s Executive Chef Joe Realmuto and Head Chef John Baron alter the menu seasonally often using produce grown in Nick & Toni’s own organic garden.


Ralph Lauren (31-33 Main St., 631-324-1222) is renowned for its sophistication in conjunction with rustic Americana. Upon entering through a whitewashed covered porch, you are welcomed into a world filled with warm spaces decorated with eclectic artifacts and vintage pieces, creating a soothing backdrop for the quintessential Ralph Lauren shopping experience. Scoop Beach (51 Newtown Lane; 631-329-6800) offers men and women a highly anticipated selection of the season’s best fashion items. As its surname suggests, the East Hampton offshoot of the iconic boutique features a more beachy selection than its parent store in NYC. Now with a second location in Manhattan, Blue & Cream (60 On the Circle; 631-329-1392) originated in East Hampton as a Men’s and Women’s clothing store which has garnered a lot of media attention for its merchandise and celebrity clientele. This summer, East Hampton welcomes Lacoste (48 Main Street, 631-324-7333.) The store features vibrant colors and classic silhouettes and a new laid-back, yet sophisticated location. The new store will carry Lacoste’s signature chic and energetic fashions as well as a full array of the brand’s ever-popular accessories.


Prominent fitness instructors from around the world make Summer Kicks (5 Railroad Avenue, 631-324-5333) the longest running fitness studio in the Eastern US. Well-known instructor Bob Harper, author and trainer on The Biggest Loser, leads the pack in helping clients improve their lives.


The EMM Group does it again with SL East (44 Three Mile Harbor Road; 212-627-1235), where guests can expect a variety of special events of the same high quality as its Manhattan counterpart, SL. Featuring a menu executed by Chefs Robert Hesse and Seth Levine and operated by nightlife veterans, Georgica Restaurant & Lounge (108 Wainscott Stone Road; 631-537-6255) has become an East End staple by redefining Hamptons dining and socializing.


With vineyards, cornfields and massive farmhouse-style homes, one may regard Bridgehampton as a slightly more down-to-earth town. However the haute spot hosts the famed Bridgehampton Polo Challenge and the Hampton Classic Horse Show has developed its reputation for its haute home furnishings and antiques.


The menu at Almond Restaurant’s (1970 Montauk Highway, 631-537-5665) new location is comprised of many bistro favorites with an emphasis on seafood and locally farmed produce. A seat here is hard to come by, but well worth the wait.


New Yorkers head to Soul Cycle (264 Butter Lane; 631-537-3630) to relieve stress. Soul Cycle unites mental strength with music for a full-body cycling workout. High-end fitness studio Physique57’s (264 Butter Lane, 631-537-5722) new expansions now offer a more innovative workout program designed to create a lean body.


Once known as the sleepy beach town of the Hamptons, Montauk has fast becoming the East Coast’s premier surfing town. Those who have the skills and know where to look can be found enjoying the break at Turtle Cove, or kicking back at the famous Surf Lodge, where summer leisure is high-class.


With locations in almost every Hamptons haute spot Calypso St. Barth (99 The Plaza, 631-668-4999) provides exactly the type of clothing shoppers need for a summer weekend on Long Island’s South Fork. Comprised of lightweight and pastel fabrics, Calypso’s spring collection consistently impresses.

Water Mill

Those fortunate enough to discover this gem of a town with its stunning and sparsely populated beaches quickly realize that it is the perfect spot for a quiet beach vacation. Most of the shops and restaurants have been open for years, giving the town a classic feel.


Fresh seafood is a summer staple and Suki Zuki (688 Montauk Highway; 631-726-4600) is just the eatery to satisfy your cravings. Assemble at the bar and sample sakes, or indulge in the namesake’s Suki Zuki Roll or their famous Tuna Sandwich.

Sag Harbor

Quaint and one-of-a-kind, Sag Harbor is sprinkled with unique boutiques and cafés with a casual yet elegant feel. Sag Harbor lacks the rowdy nightlife culture of other Hamptons towns, but its old New England quality and small business culture make it an exquisitely charming town.


Page (63 Main Street; 631-725-1810) combines old-world atmosphere and eclectic, organic cuisine at this Sag Harbor café. Executive Chef Jessie Flores uses his affection for Spanish, Asian, and French cuisine to create a menu full of flavorful, healthy dishes.


In Balance Pilates Studio (34 W. Water Street, 631-725-8282) offers revitalizing work-outs to its multi-level clientele. The studio offers instruction spanning all forms of Pilates workouts to improve clients’ strength and stability.


Bond No. 9 (45 Main Street in the American Hotel, 631-725-7647) opens its newest perfumerie. Inside you will find the entire Bond No. 9 eau de parfum collection and more luxurious beauty products. Those seeking a local scent will love the two Long Island beach fragrances—Hamptons and Montauk—rich with marine notes. A Sag Harbor scent is in the works.