Room Number: Where to Stay During the Hamptons Film Festival
In her new column for The Hollywood Reporter, travel expert Melissa Schwartz of Destination Happiness picks the best room just far enough away from the festival crowd.
Welcome to Room Number, a new column by travel expert Melissa Schwartz of Destination Happiness, whose client roster ranges from WME agent superstars to Wall Street titans. In her columns, she'll reveal her favorite room in a different location on the entertainment industry travel circuit.
It would be too easy to say that the most expensive or the biggest room in each destination would be chosen to be our special “Room Number,” and those qualities won't necessarily do the trick. My pick may have a matchless view from its windows, a configuration unique in the property, special amenities singular to that room, outrageous fixtures to pore over, or it may be nestled behind a secret garden. Bottom line: It has to elicit an excited “Wow!” when you first cross that threshold and behold the wonderment of the room.
This week’s stop: the Hamptons, where the Hamptons International Film Festival kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend at theaters in Southampton, East Hampton, Montauk and Sag Harbor.
For your own private oasis in the Hamptons, try Cottage 1 at The Inn at Windmill Lane (23 Windmill Lane) in Amagansett, N.Y. This is very likely totally different than any hotel you have visited in the Hamptons. It really feels like a quiet, homey sanctuary far away from the madding Hamptons crowd; its zealous fans won’t even tweet about it so as to protect their secret treasure from the masses! With its seven suites and three cottages (daily rates for Cottage 1 range from $1,050 winter midweek, to $2,100 during the summer months; other rates range from $375 to $800), The Inn is tucked behind high hedges and set just far enough off the main road that it’s hardly even known by the locals and private enough for paparazzi-dodging celebs like Tyra Banks and Stevie Nicks. You approach The Inn across its hidden pebbled parking area, then stroll down its meandering, masterfully laid cobblestone path to be warmly greeted at the lovely little gatehouse by innkeeper Erin Harris, who acts more like a discreet charge d’affaires in a private mansion, ready to address (and deliver on) your every desire to ensure an enchanting stay.
The freestanding 1,666-square-foot triplex Cottage 1 has three lavishly appointed marble mosaic-tiled bathrooms with the solid nickel fixtures from Urban Archeology, highlighted by the master with its magnificent his-and-hers shower with rainfall heads fit for a king and queen. You can curl up in the soaring cathedral-ceiling living room with the sun splashing through the towering clerestory windows, relax to music piped throughout the cottage with its digital sound system and be warmed by its three crackling wood-burning fireplaces. Or spend a rainy day wrestling with one of the custom handmade Stave Puzzles, the Rolls Royce of puzzles as they are meticulously handcrafted and polished cherry-backed wooden puzzles that are totally unique to The Inn, as they mimic the artwork in each room. Or retreat to your own personal exercise room with a steam room and rain shower. If you feel a bit too confined in your plush Duxiana king-size bed, you can always snuggle into the cedar daybed on your private bluestone covered patio, curling up in front of its own fireplace to toast s’mores. With the cottage’s very private grounds, you can feel free to sunbathe in whatever state of dress (or undress) you please; no staffer will ever enter until they see you leave the property. This is the kind of place that is custom-tailored for luxurious, languid, peaceful living, savoring the delightful sea breezes wafting in from the ocean less than a mile away.
The Inn is in the final stages of completing a brand-new freestanding four-bedroom house, to be known as the 21 House; we were lucky enough to score an exclusive private tour with Harris. With its four bedrooms, fully equipped chef’s kitchen and all the other luxury finishes and touches of the other cottages, it will feature a glassed-in fireplace in the master bathroom's king-and-queen shower enclosure itself. Think of it as a private luxury home with all the benefits of a lavish hotel.
If you'd like to venture out from your cottage of delights, here are five not-to-be-missed Hamptons treats:
1. The Crows Nest Hotel and Restaurant, Montauk (4 Old West Lake Dr.)
Owned by Sean MacPherson of the New York Bowery Hotel, this melange of tiki, Polynesia, bamboo, teak, and South Africa decor notes, all mixed together with vintage hipster, is one of the key hot spots on the East End with a busy Friday and Saturday night scene. It’s located on lovely Lake Montauk with beautiful beach sunsets, fun seating around the fire pit and an intriguing mix of locals, beautiful people and hipsters. The very in-demand spot takes no reservations, so be prepared to wait for a table.
2. Dave’s Grille, Montauk (468 W. Lake Dr.)
This Hamptons East End institution is one of the best restaurants in the area, with their over-the-top seafood; make sure you order Dave’s Cioppino and stuffed lobster, and don’t miss the “chocolate bag” dessert. They rely on a rather unique (some would say annoying!) reservation system: You can only start calling after 4:15 p.m. for that evening’s dining slots; you may need to call 30 to 40 times before you get through, so obviously lots of people want in, because it’s worth the effort. Don't give up -- keep dialing.
3. The Cuddy, Sag Harbor (29 Main St.)
Don’t miss this four-month-old American gastropub/watering hole, with its hand-built, woodsy, cozy, laid-back atmosphere and well-curated jazz-rock music mix. Mixologist Derek is very inventive; Michelle at the bar is delightful. Derek created the Gentleman’s Favor cocktail, their take on an Old-Fashioned, crafted from Michter’s rye, Carpano Antica, old-fashioned bitters, incredible homemade cherries, and black tea syrup. Like no other concoction, it must be imbibed to be appreciated! Another special treat is the in-house bourbon-barrel-aged Brazilian cachaca rum; it's sweet, smoky and totally original.
4. Race Lane Restaurant, East Hampton (31 Race Lane)
Feel free to lounge in the indoor and outdoor dining areas, with the “hot bar, cool fireplace” as the locals affectionately say. Executive chef Nimesh Maharjan grew up in Nepal, started as a dishwasher in Nantucket, then ultimately trained under acclaimed chef Todd English before taking over exec chef duties at Race Lane. Many believe they offer the area's best burger, constructed from American Wagyu beef with foie gras, red onion jam, spiced bacon, aged cheddar, all topped off with a fried egg.
5. Topping Rose House, Bridgehampton (One Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Turnpike)
The restaurant is helmed by famed chef Tom Colicchio, showcasing farm-to-table produce from the hotel’s own one-acre organic farm, together with an array of quality ingredients from local farms, ranches and day-boat fishermen. After a sumptuous meal, don’t miss the awesome brioche doughnuts, topped with their very own brown butter maple glaze.
E-mail Melissa Schwartz: [email protected]