If you’ve been going to the Hamptons for a while, you’ve probably been lamenting how much it’s changed. The traffic, the crowds—did we mention the traffic? It’s been decades since the favorite New Yorker’s getaway has actually been a place where you can actually get away. But this summer, there’s a new way to retreat from it all. We’re not suggesting you skip the South Fork spectacle altogether—that would be social suicide!—but we do recommend you check into the Shou Sugi Ban House to recharge.
The new wellness resort opens on May 16 right in the middle of it all, on Montauk Highway and just a stone’s throw from the Parrish Art Museum, but it may as well be 6,000 miles away in Osaka or Kyoto. Owner Amy Cherry-Abitbol, a Hamptons resident for more than two decades, has transformed an old barn into what can only be described as a cross between a Japanese ryokan and California’s famous wellness resort, The Ranch Malibu, only it’s right there in the middle of Southampton’s Water Mill.
However healthy the Hamptons may seem—all those fitness studio pop-ups and gluten-free bakeries have to be good for something, right?—Cherry-Abitbol recognized that a truly healthful experience was actually quite hard to come by in the land of beach parties and rosé. “There is currently no singular place in the Hamptons that serves the needs of those seeking to fully explore integrative health and holistic living,” she says. “Our intent at Shou Sugi Ban House is to provide an intimate setting to experience the intersection of the scientific, the spiritual and the intellectual in a serene and considered setting.
To that end, the resort has a meditation hall, tea lounge and acres of gardens that are unequivocally Japanese-inspired (as is the retreat’s name, which refers to an ancient technique of burning wood to make it more resilient). Shou Sugi Ban’s methods will make you more resilient, too: Its four-, five- and seven-day retreats combine fitness and meditation with sheer relaxation. Everything is personalized, from the food prepared for you in the organic demonstration kitchen to the Biologique Recherche therapies offered in your suite or at the five-treatment-room spa. There’s also an infrared sauna and hydrotherapy pools. It’s just enough Zen to get you ready for another swarming Hamptons summer of traffic, crowds—and, with some luck, a little bit of R and R.