Ahh, The Hamptons. The hamlet at the very end of Long Island is always in the media and on the travel list of the chic jet-set for a good reason: it really is incredibly beautiful and relaxing. But like any place that gets a little too popular, it can start to lose a bit of its natural character during peak season, which is why my favorite time to visit is actually the fall. So with foliage in full bloom and the weather still considered warm, I headed out for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation (and of course, an obligatory visit to the beach).
My favorite town in the collective “Hamptons” is East Hampton, with its charming town center, pristine beach, good restaurants, easy access to wineries, and overall calm atmosphere. It’s not as rowdy as its neighbor to the west, Southampton, and still more refined than its sea-side neighbor to the east, Montauk–but within easy distance to either town so you can still party or surf to your heart’s content. My idea of a good time in the Hamptons however, involves neither activity–I am getting away after all–so I prefer to eat, drink, and be cozy.
Luckily, I was staying at c/o The Maidstone,, a quaint Scandinavian lifestyle hotel right in the heart of East Hampton. With a restaurant serving some of the finest Scandinavian food I’ve ever tasted, a cozy lounge with cocktails that rival the best in Manhattan, and Hastens luxury beds in every room, the hotel immediately met all my Hampton vacation requirements and more.
Walking into The Maidstone is a bit like walking into a dream house–one with a large full bar in the middle of the living room and colorful, eclectic decor that looks amazing, but that I would be too shy to set up in my own abode. The property opens right into The Living Room, the hotel’s restaurant, which features both a fireside lounge and formal dining area. The decoration is a mix of antique and modern Swedish furnishings with rotating artwork–when I was there, Patrick McMullen’s party pics of the rich and famous graced the walls. But the real draw here is the food–modern Nordic-inpsired cuisine created by Chef Mathias Brogie. A devotee of the Slow Food movement, Brogie cooks with sustainable, local ingredients–some from her own garden. The menu features a few classic Swedish dishes such as meatballs with gravy and lingonberry, and Biff Rydberg, a traditional Swedish beef dish cooked with potatoes, onion and egg alongside some modern American dishes such as Crispy Duck Breast (a staple in the Hamptons) and a variety of game and grilled fish. Food is hearty and delicious and the varied drink menu encourages constant sampling of new cocktails. It’s well past midnight before I leave the table.
Luckily, the guestrooms are not far. Located on the upper levels of the house, the hotel features 19 unique rooms, each inspired by a Scandinavian celebrities such as Alfred Nobel, Thor Heyerdahl, Edvard Munch, and Astrid Lindgren and are decorated with the same colorful free spirit as the public areas. Rooms are classified into four categories: divine, magnificent, fabulous or cozy. All rooms feature Hästens handcrafted luxury beds aka the most comfortable beds ever, dressed with Hästens down pillows & comforters, a full mini bar, Bodum French Press, Sony Playstation 3 (with DVD player), complimentary organic coffee from Hampton Coffee, complimentary high quality tea from Plain T, Stelle Audio towers, flat TV and free Wi-Fi. “Fabulous” category rooms and above also feature freestanding soaking tubs complete with Malin and Goetz bath amenities. I spent most of my time alternating between sprawling out on the bed soaking it up in the bubble bath. Not a bad way to unwind.
If you ever start feeling a little too relaxed, however, activity is never far away. The hotel has a fleet of Kronan bikes, which guests can take out for a ride to the beach or a spin around town. The town, while low key, offers a wide varieties to please even the most discerning city slicker. Shopaholics will be treated to some of the best shopping anywhere right in the town center, art enthusiasts and collections can gallery hop, wine aficionados will find world class wineries including Wolffer Estates within easy distance, and those who just like to spend time outdoors can bike to their hearts content on wide, picturesque streets lined with beautiful estates.
To book your own trip to the Hamptons check out careofhotels.com/maidstone.