Montauk Travel Guide
Some of us at HotelChatter appreciate the summer months. We think 90-degree heat in July is appropriate and that’s why beach houses were created. So, when we received news about actual availability in Long Island’s busy Hamptons region, we were intrigued. How could this be? Usually you'd have to have booked months in advance to get decent digs at this time of year.
We know some folks are itching to escape city-life at some point this summer, but think it might be too late to grab a beachy-keen place. Well, in some high falutin’ Hamptons sections you might be SOL, but in the low-key Montauk area? You’re in luck!
Millionaire’s Row, just 15 miles away from East Hampton, is comprised of eight cottages from studios to two-bedroom units in Fort Pond Bay, fronting Block Island Sound in Long Island’s East End. The cozy quarters are run by a local resident who wanted to make the area a bit more affordable for those seeking a quiet vacation filled with fishing, beach bumming, and sunset soaking. But, if you do want all that “Hamptons Hype”, you can get to the parties via a quick cab ride, no problem.
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If you love The Surf Lodge in Montauk, then you've probably already spent a night at its new sister hotel nearby, Ruschmeyer's, a three-acre summer camp-inspired hotel featuring clean and crisp guestrooms, an open-air beer garden, a sand-filled pool, a restaurant from the Orchard Street chefs and a boogie-down bar called the Electric Eel. Oh and staffers decked out in J. Crew shirts, Madewell dresses and Toms shoes.
Today, Women's Wear Daily published an article about all the favorite summer weekend retreats of major NYC magazine editors. From Lucky's Brandon Holley to Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey, the timely piece covers exactly which motels, beaches, and eateries the taste-makers choose for themselves and their families.
Like the East Deck, a 1950s beachfront motel located in Ditch Plains, East Hampton. Rooms go for $200 a night (perhaps a little steeper than your standard $80/night Best Western, but this is The Hamptons, after all), with a 3-night minimum during peak season.
We hear Montauk has been jumpin' this summer (much to some longtimers' dismay), and after seeing pictures of the Bing Summer Music Series at Solé East, we sure as hell wish we'd been out there every weekend.
Call us fussy but we're not really muddy music festival types. We prefer to wear flip flops over Wellies, and we'd like to kick said flip flops off as we lounge on a big cushion and gaze at Pete Yorn as he strums his guitar in an intimate show like this one.
Sadly, we missed his performance at Solé East on July 4th weekend, as well as Rufus Wainwright and Jenny & Johnny (below).
It's almost Memorial Day—have you booked your Hamptons share house yet? Nope, neither have we. And truth be told, we're not too hot on the idea of sharing a beach house with a Jitney-full of summer Hamptonites. Which is why we love Montauk, and why word that a longtime area motel has been renovated is music to our sunburned ears. Why, hello there, Panoramic View Resort.
What you're looking at here is panoramic view from one of the Panoramic View studios—the resort is a mix of beach homes (residences you can buy) and beach units for rent. It's located near the Hither Hills park, a short trek out of town, not far from Montauk mainstay, Gurney's Inn.
Where do you go once you've made a name for yourself putting hotels in previously dubious areas or buildings and making them the hippest spots in Manhattan? Why, it's obvious: The Hamptons. Or in the case of Sean MacPherson, he of The Bowery, The Jane, and The Maritime Hotel fame, you head to Montauk.
That's where our favorite J.Crew modeling, Gossip Girl-cameo-ing hotelier just bought his latest property, The Crow's Nest Restaurant and Inn. (A word of warning before you click on the website—prepare for the sounds of seagulls and breaking waves.)
Solé East has mastered the ability to have that unique quality of being an "all play and no work" and an "all work and no play" destination thanks to their gift of free universal WiFi to guests.
The swanky, Euro-chic Montauk property has a strong wireless connection in the bungalow rooms and cabana suites, out by the heated pool, along the two rows of over-sized outdoor beds, in Backyard Restaurant everywhere! Dare we say it: it's almost too much. We need to detach from the Mac. Yes, it is an amazing convenience, but after an 11am to 2pm outdoor work session we learned the hard way that laptop tan lines on the upper thighs are not a sexy look.
Summer is officially upon us: the Montauk Surf Lodge will be opening for business starting on May 15th. The Hamptons hotspot has been accepting rezzies since April 15th, and it's looking like rooms are going for about $275 and up.
The hotel, which opened last year from the nightlife group MCM Hospitality (the peeps behind CAIN), was not without its share of issues last summer: locals did not enjoy the fact that it existed. The place got lots of hip-and-trendy clubby visitors on the weekends, and guests were illegally parking in the streets and pissing off locals. Also, Montauk is supposedly all about the anti-Hamptons vibe, and the Surf Lodge has been a celeb magnet and locals feared the presence of the Surf Lodge was going to turn the whole place into another snooty destination. Hopefully everyone has a better attitude this year.
It was hella tough to get a rezzie at this hotel last summer partly because it was super popular, and partly because they couldn't get their shiz together and had no online reservation system and their phones went perpetually un-answered. But it appears the online reservation system appears to be working this year, so have at it.
Last week's shocking news that investor Bernie Madoff was running the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, in which losses totaled about $50 billion, is still sending aftershocks throughout communities around the world. And the Beachcomber Resort Hotel in Montauk is just one of many affected. While the Beachcomber did not invest with Madoff the hotel was the site of the Madoff company's huge Fourth of July Parties each year. The East Hampton Star reports:
According to a longtime employee of the hotel, who asked to remain anonymous, Mr. Madoff would rent the entire hotel for "anybody from the mail room up to the top executive," and was diligent about checking in to make sure "his people" were well cared for. The weekend typically included a dinner at the Montauk Yacht Club followed by a catered bash on the beach across from the Beachcomber the following day.
"He was a wonderful man," said the hotel employee, who was surprised to hear of the allegations. "He took care of everything. He was very generous to his employees and everybody spoke very highly of him."
How heartwarming it is to hear how generous he was with someone else's money. Hopefully the Beachcomber can find a new Fourth of July party host. Rates in the peak summer season start around $255 a night. The rooms are spacious but the decor is a little outdated. Not quite fit for a billionaire, even a fake one.
[Photo: Telegraph UK]
But it looks so peaceful on the inside...
There's so much drama at the SLM--Surf Lodge in Montauk and it's kinda hard being a hotel owner managing all of the tension. But the Surf Lodge's co-owner/partner Steven Kamali is trying to bring some peace to the table. He tells us exclusively:
The Surf Lodge has successfully been attracting an incredible number of families within the local Montauk community....
Unfortunately as with any new business in a small town, there will always be a small minority of people that are not comfortable with the increased attention being brought to the area.
But we are confident that with time they will come realize the benefits of our presence.
According to a report in the NY Post yesterday, the Surf Lodge has come under the ire of locals who are annoyed by the illegal parking and New York City attitude. But guests are still flocking there. The hotel, which only has 32 rooms and features a restaurant helmed by Top Chef hotness Sam Talbot, is fully booked for the month of August.
Have you stayed at the Surf Lodge? Let us know how it went.
All eyes are on Montauk this summer, thanks largely to the freaky-as-all-hell Montauk Monster that washed up on shore and has since sent the whole nation into a frenzy about mutated animals. [Ed. Note: Also, it helped Gawker meet its monthly traffic goal.]
But aside from the monster on the beach, hideous creatures are also spending some time about town, according to the Montauk locals.
Today's NY Post had a sassy little item about the "everyone hates the Montauk Surf Lodge" situation that's been a-brewin':
Someone made up a bumper sticker reading, "Mistake by the lake! Dodge the Lodge!" And some of the partners have been called choice words and even been re fused service at local eateries and bars. Brazilian co-owner Jayma Cardosa, known for her temper ament, has been standing up to the bullies by threatening to keep the place open year-round.
It's the classic case of David and Goliath, reincarnated in the town of Montauk and The Surf Lodge. An article in this weekend's New York Times details how the "proudly low-key" town where "middle-class families could afford hotel rooms," is fighting the Manhattanization of its streets and shores. And it's almost as nasty as Christie Brinkley's divorce case.
Every chance it gets, Montauk has attempted to knock The Surf Lodge down a notch, the Times says, issuing a violation for putting up an outdoor movie screen without a permit, putting its hair salon and clothing boutique on notice for not being allowed under its building permit and erecting no-parking signs in the area.