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Where To Stay In Montauk

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There’s a lot of talk these days in Montauk, the village at the tip of the East End’s South Fork, about Old Montauk versus New. It was always the anti-Hamptons, a place where fishermen, surfers and loners came to kick back, take in the sea air and ride killer waves. In recent years, however, it has become cool with certain New York crowds: the fashion flock, the gallery denizens, the Brooklyn scenesters. With them have come glammed-up motels, chic shops and the kind of restaurants never previously seen east of the Hamptons. For visitors this isn’t a bad thing; and for all the change that the old timers rue, Montauk  still feels less ‘done’ than the Hamptons. But now you can get a good cocktail and a perfect rocket salad, and dance the night aways

Where to stay

The Surf Ladge

In certain circles, it is a point of debate whether the Surf Lodge, which opened in 2008, reflected the emergence of New Montauk or created it. Whatever your position, it remains one of the hottest places in town, and is a great introduction to the sexy, beach-casual aesthetic of Montauk. Housed in a couple of nondescript motel buildings on Fort Pond, the property is a tribute to surf culture. You will find a bar of Mr Zogs Sex Wax (‘the best for your stick’) on your bed, along with a copy of The Surfer’s Journal magazine; old surf flicks play all day on a movie screen in the lobby, and surfboards are stored in the rafters above the bar. Bright colours abound, along with cane, rattan, driftwood and coral; rooms are simple but comfortable, dominated by big white beds facing the water. The Surf Lodge could probably get away with just being pretty, but in fact it’s a thoughtfully run hotel, with a proper restaurant, good DJs playing in the bar bicycle rentals and, of course, surfing lessons.

Description: In certain circles, it is a point of debate whether the Surf Lodge, which opened in 2008, reflected the emergence of New Montauk or created it.

In certain circles, it is a point of debate whether the Surf Lodge, which opened in 2008, reflected the emergence of New Montauk or created it.

The Crow’s Nest Inn & Restaurant

Description: The Crow’s Nest Inn & Restaurant

The hotel impresario Sean MacPherson (of Manhattan’s Jane and Bowery hotels) quietly opened this inn and restaurant last yea, and it quickly became the place of choice for those looking for a more low-key hideaway than a Surf Lodge. Rooms are in typical old motel building and have earthy colors with a vaguely African feel: slip-covered sofas, printed textiles, woven rugs. If hanging out on a chaise on a wide lawn overlooking Lake Montauk sounds like your idea of fun, this is the place for you.

Ruschmeyer’s

The people behind the Surf Lodge also created last year’s big hit, Ruschmeyer’s. The formula is the same – cool design, an excellent restaurant and bar, fun things to do – but this time you’re away from the water, in the woods, and the theme is ‘summer camp for grown-ups’. The rooms, which are simply done, with rattan bedsteads, rope hammock seats and wooden bureaus painted olive green, resemble posh barracks. They are arranged in little wooden bungalows around a glen festooned with Japanese lanterns. The restaurant has a fine many designed by the team behind Manhattan’s ‘locavore’ favorite the Fat Radish, and the bar is a tented fantasy called the Electric Eel. Both were last summer’s hottest tickets, drawing celebrities by the carload, as well as late-night revelers from the Hamptons. But the beautiful thing about Ruschmeyer’s is that despite the hype and the crowd it still delivers simple pleasures: sipping cocktail at a picnic table while a cellist plays Bach before dinner, playing a game of a table tennis or bocce at the outdoor bar afterwards. And, come morning, as a guest you have the place practically to yourself, to take a yoga class on the lawn, or just sit for a while in the teepee.

Description: The people behind the Surf Lodge also created last year’s big hit, Ruschmeyer’s

The people behind the Surf Lodge also created last year’s big hit, Ruschmeyer’s

Motauk Yacht Cllub

Description: Motauk Yacht Cllub

If you’re more of a full-service hotel person, the rejuvenated yacht club provides and alternative to the motel/boutique hotels popular in this area. The club has 107 rooms but, owing to their generous size and crisp nautical décor – ship models, lots of navy and white, campaign desks – it manages to be genuinely comfortable without trying too hard.

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