The Maidstone: Elegant Sophistication in East Hampton
EAST HAMPTON, NEW YORK, August 1, 2017 – The Maidstone is a gorgeous retreat for the senses that creates a refined, quintessentially upscale Hamptons experience in a beautifully restored luxurious colonial inn with one of the finest restaurants in East Hampton.
With 19 lovingly appointed rooms and 3 cottages spread across a bucolic property, The Maidstone is a stellar destination that has the style, panache, and elegance that underscores its opulent serenity in one of America’s most exclusive and desirable enclaves.
Having just undergone a full renovation, this historical structure, which dates back from the 18th century, brings a quiet sophistication and charm that immerses its guests in the soft glow of a summer afternoon in the Hamptons.
Owners Jenny and Jonathan Baker have added a special personal touch to the property, revamping the décor and menu to emphasize a comfortable environment of sublimely exquisite stylish delight.
The fabulous redesigned restaurant, The Living Room, has completely invigorated its menu and wine list, emphasizing an innovatively refined New American cuisine that focuses on farm to table ingredients, fresh abundant seafood from the surrounding area, and a clean approach to cooking and ingredients.
As part of the makeover of the hotel the hospitality firm Partners & Alchemy was brought in to help manage operations, and David Standridge of New York City’s Café Clover has taken the reins as the restaurants consulting chef, with wonderful results.
Seen from the road The Maidstone appears to be a clapboard country house, with white shingles adorning two adjoining colonial style buildings on the crest of a sweeping lawn, connected by a glass enclosed ground floor corridor.
The front porch is a portrait of quietude, white pillars surrounding a series of lounge chairs covered with soft furs, the perfect place for a gathering of friends to share a drink or watch the afternoon fade.
Through the front doors the atmosphere changes, with a modernist décor of flowing rooms opening onto the spacious ground floor bar area and a beautifully appointed lounge area in front of a fireplace.
The front desk is literally a desk in the front window where the attentive staff, casually dressed, greets each guest like a returning member of the family, a signature hallmark of the hotel that immediately creates an atmosphere of warmth.
The emphasis throughout the hotel is on elegant comfort and a personable seamless experience, eclectic moments of soft beauty surrounded by classic elements of grace and style.
The restaurant The Living Room is just beyond the bar area, a gorgeous room of soothing dark blue tones and hardwood floors with a series of white marble tables, the occasional couch, and powder blue banquets surrounded by windows that overlook the garden.
Just off the lounge area and down a few steps is a lovely sun room filled with natural light. A grand piano and sitting area lead to the back patio of the property, and a solarium stretches the length of the front of the hotel, which is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast each morning.
Each area of the ground floor flows into the next with a seamless conceptual presence, and the atmosphere is one of casual luxury, fine art photographs adorning the walls with artistic style.
The doorway to the back patio leads to a sprawling lawn and the 3 guest cottages, while tables and couches are spread out across the yard, in little nooks, or in the midst of a circular hedge, a wonderful location for outdoor cocktails or dinner.
In fact, at The Maidstone dinner is not exclusively reserved for The Living Room restaurant, but can be served in the lounge, the piano room, the solarium, or on the back patio.
This is both a conscious choice and a necessity, for as the weekend approaches and East Hampton overflows with visitors, The Maidstone is fast becoming the center of the action for a sophisticated crowd looking for atmosphere, fine dining, and that electric sense of indefinable presence.
This is turning a necessity into an asset, and fits with the style and philosophy of the new management team, to create a space where exploration of the moment is intimately defined by the intangible feel of the surroundings and its eclectic nature. They have succeeded magnificently.
Each of the 19 rooms at The Maidstone is named after a series of different eminent Scandinavians, from the painter Edvard Munch, to actress Birgit Nilssen, to explorer Thor Heyerdahl, to Olympic skater Sonja Henie.
Our gorgeous third floor room is named for author and adventuress Karen Blixen, best known for writing the epic book Out of Africa, which was based on her life story and later turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep.
The room is expansive and beautifully decorated, with a sumptuous king size bed, antique furnishings, tasteful golden palm frond wallpaper, and whimsical touches like zebra inspired carpeting and tribal wall mask decorations in keeping with the Out of Africa theme.
A large steamer trunk hides the safe and the mini-bar, and another steamer trunk is transformed into a chest of drawers. A luxurious pair of woven bamboo lounge chairs fills a sitting area next to the windows overlooking the back garden.
The bathroom is spacious and modern, with a large claw foot bathtub, enclosed shower, and a beautiful tiled floor and wooden shuttered windows with blooming flower boxes overlooking the front lawn.
Jonathan Baker’s exclusive line of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, Est. 1962, are in each bathroom of the hotel, as well as his high end essential oil bath products and scented candles.
Just a mile down the street is the East Hampton beach, one of the great oceanside locations on the planet, and guests of The Maidstone receive beach parking passes for their cars, or are free to use one of a half-dozen distinctive red bicycles parked in the lawn to ride to the beach, or into town.
East Hampton is one of the jewels of the Hamptons, a collection of townships on the tip of Long Island that have become havens for the rich and famous over the decades, and whose reputation for glamour and style, as well as the occasional party, is firmly entrenched.
From South Hampton, to Bridgehampton, to East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk, and even to the reaches of Sag Harbor and Shelter Island, the Hamptons defines a playground for the well to do that continues unabated, with East Hampton and The Maidstone transcendently at the center of it all.
Dinner at The Living Room is a glorious affair, the room glowing with the soft summer light of the setting sun, the sense of expectation rising as we settle into a powder blue settee next to the window.
An opening round of pink champagne sets the stage for a wonderful meal. Our hostess Emily, the bartender Katie, and our server Diego are brilliantly efficient, seamless in their knowledge and presentation, and service is impeccable.
Chef Kevin Timmons executes David Standridge’s vision of New American cuisine with style and panache, while bringing his own persona and touches to a lovingly reinvented menu.
Fresh chilled Cherrystone clams and East Coast oysters is a sensational raw bar platter, and the Gulf shrimp cocktail is particularly tasty with large, meaty, tender prawns that melt in your mouth.
Lump crab cake with watercress is a fabulous taste treat, with big chunks of sumptuous crab held together with a minimum of extra ingredients in a tangy tartar sauce under a bed of fresh watercress.
Seared Montauk fluke with avocado and summer corn is a specialty of the house, tender and flaky, beautifully cooked, as is the whole grilled sea bass, both sourced daily from nearby Montauk Harbor.
Black linguine with bountiful portions of peekytoe crab is a crowning achievement, filled with savory flavor in a rich sauce, the perfect climax to a sensational meal.
Save room for the delicious fresh peach or blackberry pie, and prepare to be amazed at the extraordinary Macha tea donuts, savory beignets made with Japanese green tea that are salaciously delightful.
The bar and lounge area at The Maidstone is hopping as dinner comes to a close, friends gathering for an after dinner drink on the couches near the piano, taking in the night air on the back patio, before slipping upstairs for a romantic rendezvous at the end of another exceptional day in East Hampton.
While in the Hamptons be sure to also visit:
Nick and Toni’s www.nickandtonis.com @nickandtonis – This legendary restaurant in East Hampton is known as much for Chef Joseph Realmuto’s sensational Italian menu as it is as a gathering place for the glitterati, all set in a series of comfortable rooms reminiscent of a Tuscan farmhouse.
Featuring fresh organic ingredients, stand out dishes include a fabulous day boat scallop crudo with cucumber, avocado and citrus, and a scintillating house made pea and mascarpone ravioli in an organic carrot bullion.
Wood grilled yellow fin tuna is fantastic, and marinated lamb chops, locally sourced, with summer succotash is a culinary joy. Dinners are greatly enhanced with a series of customized wine parings from talented Sommelier Julie Berger, or choose your favorite Grand Cru from their extensive wine list.
The American Hotel www.theamericanhotel.com @americanhotelsh – Owner extraordinaire Ted Conklin continues to delight and enthrall at this Sag Harbor cultural landmark restaurant and hotel, open in its current incarnation as the vortex of the universe since 1972, but originally built in 1845 when Sag Harbor was a whaling town.
With an extraordinary 30,000 bottle wine list regularly recognized by Wine Spectator magazine, and an exceptional restaurant with a focus on classic French cuisine, The American Hotel has a charm and presence that cannot be replicated.
Chef Jonathan Parker creates a fabulous culinary adventure, from the Long Island Peking Duck a la Montmorency, to sweetbreads a la Grenobloise, to brace of quail with wild rice, to the usual array of exceptional fresh local seafood, including blue claw crab cakes a la Moutarde.
A casual haven for literary giants, musicians, celebrities, firemen, locals, and Ted’s collective array of friends, everyone has a story from across the decades of unforgettable nights at its classic bar, around the piano, or on its magical front porch.
Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center www.stonybrook.edu/pkhouse/ – Jackson Pollock was one of the giants of post war abstract expressionism and the home and property just outside of East Hampton that he shared with Lee Krasner has been perfectly preserved since his death in 1956.
At the center of the experience is the small barn where he created his extraordinary artistic masterpieces and perfected the technique widely but incorrectly referred to as drip paintings.
The floorboards of the studio look like a Jackson Pollock painting, and the sense of presence at being within the historic confines at the center of his mythical creative universe is awe inspiring.
Longhouse Reserve www.longhouse.org @LongHouseEH – Longhouse Reserve is a 16 acre sculpture garden just outside of East Hampton with a variety of scenic environments spread across the property featuring the works of Buckminster Fuller, William de Kooning, Yoko Ono, Sui Jianguo and many other artists.
Founder Jack Lenor Larson, internationally known author and collector, has created an exceptional artistic legacy across the sprawling property, where the gardens present designed landscape as an art form and provide the background for profoundly beautiful sculpture installations.
Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles. @JoelBerliner
All photos by Alison Reynolds: @BigAlPeoplesPal
Find more of their articles at: www.commdiginews.com/author/joel_berliner/