ELLE Escapes: The Hamptons

Culture

The Hamptons is a vacation spot so mythologized—in film, in music, and in literature—that it’s tempting to think of the destination as an A-lister’s Neverland. And it’s true, like clockwork, the jet-set crowd flocks to Long Island’s East End every summer in search of sun and a good time, often in the form of rejuvenating wellness experiences or booze-soaked parties along the coast. But despite the luxuriousness that blankets (almost) every surface from Westhampton to Montauk, locals know the community charm extends far beyond what money can buy—or myth can capture.

With that in mind, we dipped our proverbial toes into the LI Sound with a ride out east in a 2022 Audi RS e-tron GT, a fully electric vehicle that combines the thrill of a lightning-fast race car with the quiet purr of…well, one of those yachts that Hamptonites seem to love so much. Cruising between numerous hamlets on the hunt for good food and better company, we found you needn’t be J.Lo or SJP to enjoy what the Hamps has on tap.

Whether you’re stopping by Little Ruby’s at Ruschmeyers for the prettiest avocado toast we’ve ever laid eyes on, strolling along East Hampton’s Main Street in pursuit of a chic find at the (newly opened) Rag & Bone or Balenciaga shops, or closing out the night with romantic dinner at Fauna in Westhampton Beach, there’s something for everyone here, from the uber-fancy scenester to the low-key diner. Despite decades of history in its stately architecture and beachside abodes, this particular group of towns knows a thing or two about never growing up. Ahead, everything we discovered along the way—including the best hotels, restaurants, and experiences the Hamptons has to offer.

elle escapes new york

Leah Romero

Parrish Art Museum

the exterior of the parrish art museum in the hamptons

Hufton+Crow

With nearly 125 years of history to its name, the Parrish Art Museum offers a thought-provoking array of primarily American art in all styles—and a chance to see up-and-coming creators exhibited alongside the greats. One of the few American museums that bathes its galleries in natural light, the Parrish’s building is its own masterpiece, inspired by the nearby barns in which local artists dream up their work. The property also doubles as an ever-changing backdrop to some of the Hamptons’ best events, including the museum’s splashy fundraising gala held every summer. See what’s on display here before your trip, but try your best to visit before July 24. You won’t want to miss the enchanting paintings, prints, and sculptures that comprise “Set It Off,” curated by collector Racquel Chevremont and artist Mickalene Thomas.

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

the bathhouse at gurneys seawater spa in the hamptons

Read McKendree

A beachside spa day doesn’t get more restorative than what Gurney’s has to offer at its 30,000-square-foot Seawater Spa, newly renovated by architect Ignacio Alonso. Featuring the only ocean-fed seawater pool in North America and multiple indoor-outdoor treatment suites overlooking the Atlantic, the spa was carefully curated with input from some of the nation’s top skin- and body-care experts. Products from celebrity-adored specialists including Dr. Dennis Gross are offered alongside bespoke facials and skincare treatments. (We highly recommend the 60-minute High Performance Facial, in particular.) Post-treatment, end your day in the spa’s bathhouse, outfitted with 104-degree caldarium and 50-degree frigidarium baths along with a sauna and eucalyptus-infused steam room.

Palm Tree Music Festival

an dj set from the palm tree festival in the hamptons

Mike Vitelli

No Hamptons summer is complete without an outdoor concert. Festival extravagance meets shoreside luxury for one day only during Palm Tree Music Festival’s third-ever immersive show at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach this Saturday, June 25. This year, headliner Kygo and additional performers Haywood Forester, Thomas Jack, Claptone, and Disclosure will usher in summer for 5,000 festival goers. Learn more about ticket packages here, including the highest-end $20,000 RV experience featuring a private cordoned off space for you and 19 guests—with beverage and food service included, of course.

elle escapes las vegas

Leah Romero

Sí Sí

a set table at the si si restaurant on the marina in the hamptons

Courtesy of Sí Sí

Sí Sí in East Hampton offers Mediterranean food as picturesque and sumptuous as its marina views, especially when the sun dips beneath the trees. Seafood is Sí Sí’s forte, with the spaghetti vongole and olive oil poached halibut as standout dishes. But don’t skimp on the appetizers: The charred octopus and the mezze dip—offering tzatziki, chickpea hummus, and baba ghanoush served with grilled seasonal vegetables and pita bread—are among the best in the area. (Both are best enjoyed with a cocktail, such as the jalapeño syrup-infused Spicy Affair.) Dessert is not to be missed either: The orange cheesecake with caramel sauce and passion fruit sorbet is a decadent finish to an evening spent eating, drinking, and snapping a few pics by the water.

Calissa

the interior of the restaurant calissa in the hamptons

Oleg March

An inconspicuous but delicious spot off Montauk Highway in Water Mill, Calissa considers itself “Mykonos in the Hamptons,” and the title is no misnomer. Whether on the patio or within Calissa’s cozy interior, executive chef Bob Abrams’s traditional Greek cuisine is only a forkful away. We suggest opting for the classics: For appetizers, order the heirloom tomato Greek salad, lamb keftedes, crispy calamari, and saganaki cheese; for dinner, grab a friend and share a whole fish. Whether it’s turbot, branzino, or red snapper, each one is simply prepared—grilled and drizzled in citrus, herbs and oil—but exploding with flavor. And don’t forget: No Greek extravaganza is complete without a finale of baklava. Stop by on a Thursday evening if you can; live music performances on the outdoor terrace will take place through mid-September from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M.

Tutto il Giorno

wine and cheese paired with olives at the restaurant tutto il giorno in the hamptons

Eric Striffler

Tutto il Giorno boasts some of the Hamptons’ best Italian entrées (order the gnocchi for lunch and the linguine for dinner), but it’s the restaurant’s masterful little touches that ensure more than the main course is destined for daydreaming. From the two types of complimentary bread—a house flatbread drizzled with Sicilian olive oil followed by more traditional, fresh-out-of-the-oven rolls—that kick off the experience, to the desserts—including an exceptional tiramisu—that end it, every bite is worth savoring. A lovely bonus: If you opt for Tutto’s airy, sun-lit Sag Harbor location, you’ll discover a retail component. Eye-catching Urban Zen merchandise fills the room…and will no doubt tempt you to take a piece (or two) back home with you.

elle escapes new york

Leah Romero

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

families drinking and playing alongside grape vineyards at wolffer estate in the hamptons

Courtesy of Wölffer Estate

A beloved Sagaponack staple since its founding in 1988, the Wölffer Estate Vineyard is a portrait of languid luxury, with its rustic-modern tasting room overlooking verdant rows of glistening grapes. Order a charcuterie board and a glass of its signature Summer in a Bottle rosé for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or swing by the charming Wine Stand on Thursday through Sunday evenings to grab a bottle to-go. If you have time to spare, reserve a few hours to watch the sun sink down over the stables and grapes. Maybe even stick around for dessert, too—smooth-as-silk brandy and bon-bons are a testament to the old adage, “Life is short; eat dessert first.”

Sunset Harbor

sushi and a cocktail sit on a platter overlooking a marina at sunset harbor restaurant in the hamptons

Courtesy of Sunset Harbor

One of the newest dining establishments out east, the waterfront Sunset Harbor is an exercise in creative synergy, from family-style sharing plates (don’t miss the shrimp scampi) to mouth-watering sushi rolls. But the cocktail menu alone is worth exploring as a group, preferably from a table overlooking the boats sailing in from the bay. (A pitcher of rum punch provided our table with more than its fair share of entertainment.)

The Surf Lodge

a set table overlooks the ocean at the surf lodge in montauk

Max Burkhalter

The now-legendary Surf Lodge in Montauk started out as a humble Irish dive bar, but has since emerged as a staple of Hamptons nightlife. That’s largely due to its ongoing outdoor concert series, buzzy celebrity- and brand-hosted parties, sought-after hotel suites, fashion pop-ups (its now-open Beach Collective features an assortment of global brands from Serpui to Alexandre Birman), and ever-flowing decanters. The Lodge’s extensive cocktail list includes a mai tai, a negroni, an Aperol spritz, and a ginger mint lemonade made with Belvedere vodka. Plan your visit in advance—space is almost always limited—but, if you can snag one, get a table by the water and make sure to put on your dancing shoes.

elle escapes las vegas

Leah Romero

EHP Resort & Marina

a guest room at ehp resort and marina in the hamptons

Matthew Hillman

Tucked away along East Hampton’s Three Mile Harbor, the nine-acre EHP Resort & Marina offers a peaceful, secluded retreat from the buzziness outside its walls. Formerly known as East Hampton Point, the property underwent a multi-million dollar renovation before reopening in 2021, and the attention to detail shows. Studios, suites, and standalone cottages alike are tastefully lavish, outfitted in modern coastal décor and immaculate landscaping—you’ll literally wake up to the sound of bees buzzing around the lavender just outside your window—and equipped with private patios and working fireplaces. The perks of staying on a marina go well beyond the good night’s sleep and gorgeous views: Tennis lessons are available at the resort’s private court, and the nearby Shagwong Boat Club offers yacht tours. Busy day ahead? Sneak a croissant and City of Saints coffee from the on-site Italian bakery, appropriately named Buongiorno.

Topping Rose House

the exterior of the traditional topping rose house in the hamptons

Mark Sagliocco

Arguably one of the most sophisticated stays in an already ritzy locale, the tony Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton takes a renovated 19th-century mansion and spins it into a portrait of modern magnificence. Guests can select from colorful studios, in-house suites, or entire cottages overlooking Topping Rose Farm and the heated outdoor pool, next to which visitors can enjoy seasonal cocktail service. Craving bubbly? Veuve Clicquot announced a takeover of the hotel this summer. Bikes and beach equipment are also available, and a complimentary BMW is always waiting to shuttle you anywhere within a 5-mile radius if you’ve had a little too much to drink. That’s luxury, friends.

Marram

a lavish guest room at marram in the hamptons

Read McKendree

A recent addition to the Montauk resort roster, the 96-room Marram is one of the more natural, earthy offerings along the water, but don’t mistake its grounded aesthetic for a thoughtless approach. The hotel is bursting with mindful choices, from its mid-century modern-meets-Southwestern decor to its new South American café, Mostrador Marram, which offers a master class in the art of paella-making. “Barefoot luxury” is the property’s motto, proving indulgence doesn’t necessarily need to mingle with excess to have the desired impact. Bonus: Rooms are screen-free to avoid any television-prompted stress, so book an oceanfront King suite and graciously watch the tide roll in as you sip your morning coffee.

elle escapes beauty rome

Courtesy

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