January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Though its name might end up causing the occasional “who’s on first”–style confusion, you’ve got to give A Room at the Beach credit for getting right to the point. Strictly speaking it’s ten rooms, in what they’re calling a “luxury motel” in Bridgehampton, on Long Island. It sounds like a contradiction, but boutique-hotel fans know how it works: a creative partnership (in this case “a team of dedicated maniacs”) takes over a classic motel whose potential has been overlooked, and turns it into the sort of place travelers go out of their way to visit.
This one is considerably more luxurious than most. The Hamptons aren’t a budget destination, after all, and there’s an audience here for things like Frette linens and robes, rainfall showers, Nespresso machines, and minibar items sourced from the upscale L & W Market (which happens to share its ownership with the hotel). Many of the furnishings and fixtures are custom-made, and the suites feature heated floors and stunning spa tubs.
Montauk may be where most of the action is in today’s Long Island boutique-hotel scene, but we get the feeling that suits Journey East Hampton just fine. This is a hotel that’s less about chasing the next nightlife hot spot and more about providing an elegant escape for a clientele that’s more interested in a proper, private getaway — one that’s as cozy as it is stylish, and one where the experience is tailored to the guest, thanks to some thoughtfully personalized service.
Journey’s small scale certainly helps. With just 22 rooms, it’s not the sort of place where you can get lost in the shuffle. The smallest room is large enough to contain a king bed, while the suites and cottages are an upgrade in both size and comfort. All are contemporary in aspect, though designed in a style that pays homage to classic Hamptons aesthetics, from the navy-and-neutrals color scheme to the touchable organic materials.
This is the end. At least, that’s what the locals call Montauk, found at the farthest reaches of the Hamptons and Long Island itself. This isn’t the gold-plated Hamptons of reality television — it’s a small town with a proud history and a not insignificant population of year-round locals, known for its relaxed lifestyle and unbeatable surfing. In recent years the high-end shops and hotels (and yes, a bit of the crowds) have found their way to The End, but Gurney’s has held court here for 90 years, and it excels at combining the best of old Montauk and new.
As is the case in Montauk generally, the beach is the the main draw at Gurney’s. And you don’t have to worry about fighting for a spot to lay down your towel, because Gurney’s guests have private access to 2,000 feet of Atlantic sand and surf. Soak it up: no other resort out here has oceanfront property. The Beach Club on the premises makes it easy to relax, with king-sized daybeds, beach chairs, and all the warm-weather cocktails you need. And if you prefer to swim in a pool instead of an ocean, Gurney’s indoor pool — the only one of its kind on the continent — uses local seawater that’s sand-filtered and warmed to the perfect temperature.
Though in parts of Manhattan it may feel like we’re living the Great Gatsby era all over again, at the far end of Long Island, at least one thing has changed: drenching yourself in champagne in the Hamptons is out, and the low-maintenance, less polished glamour of Montauk is increasingly on the ascendant. With a central downtown location that’s just a block from the beach, the Montauk Beach House is a very fine introduction to the charms of this laid-back yet in-demand destination.
With 33 rooms, the Montauk Beach House is a touch more than a beach house, strictly speaking — though the vintage-inspired décor and the loft-like guest-room layouts do their part to create a residential vibe. What luxurious touches you’ll find aren’t ostentatious, but carefully measured, the tactile comforts perfectly in balance with the homespun feel of the design. It’s all about the social spaces; stylish daybeds surround a pair of pools, and lounge seating scatters across the lawn. And the hotel’s size creates the critical mass for just the right amount of revelry — there’s always something going on, from group fitness sessions to pool parties with the occasional low-key DJ accompaniment.
Long Island contains multitudes, from Brooklyn and Queens (technically) to the Hamptons, and beyond. The relatively sleepy North Fork certainly qualifies as beyond — Greenport, once a fishing village, is now an upscale haven for travelers from the city, and the heart of the Long Island wine country. It’s also, as you’ll have noticed, home to the Menhaden, a stylish and self-assured 16-room boutique hotel, set right on Front Street, at one end of Greenport’s compact main drag.
The look is almost totally monochrome, with a bit of hardwood and some carefully curated plant life serving as accents. Furnishings come from Restoration Hardware, and the bathrooms are lavish and modern, with walk-in showers and in some cases deep soaking tubs. And space is plentiful, both in-room and outside — there’s a charming rooftop deck, the highest point in town, and each floor has a galley stocked with drinks and snacks.
If you’re on the lookout for an escape from New York City that doesn’t require a rental car, the following boutique hotels in Long Island are accessible by Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) — keep in mind that some will require a short car service from the train station. You can always contact our Travel Specialists for assistance planning specific routes.
Sound View Greenport
A Room at the Beach
Long Island is all about the water, and there’s no shortage of hotels that provide access, whether beachfront or a short shuttle, car, or walk away. Here’s a sample.
Journey East Hampton
The Montauk Beach House
Several of the best New York boutique hotels in Long Island feature a pool:
Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina
Hero Beach Club
For anyone with a pet by their side, you have plenty of choices among the best New York boutique hotels in Long Island. Here’s a sample of those that welcome pets (charges and certain restrictions may apply):
Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina
The Roundtree, Amagansett
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