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Hotel Highlights

  • Unobstructed ocean views in every room
  • Vibrant party atmosphere
  • Brilliant beach location

Overview

This boutique hotel in the Hamptons brings St Tropez to the shores of Shelter Island. Sunset Beach has a glamorous following of young movers and shakers – the who’s who of the Hamptons on an otherwise quietly residential offshore retreat. The elite come to party in this tastefully transformed Sixties motel, where gleaming glass doors and whitewashed private sun decks lead straight down to the ocean.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Sunset Beach with us:

Bottled water and a fresh fruit platter

Facilities

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Sunset Beach – Hamptons – United States

Need To Know

Rooms

20.

Check–out

11am. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $295.00, excluding tax at 11.63 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (from US$10).

Also

The hotel has a glorious Game Room which gets sun-drenched for most of the day – luxurious white-linen day-beds piled with paisley blue cushions and surrounded by hundreds of books.

At the hotel

In rooms: free WiFi and local calls, HDTV, DVD players, stereos with CD player, iPod docks, Kol Design bath products; complimentary cycle hire.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms are practically identical – the only thing that changes is the position of the bed and the view. If you’re after something quieter, go for one of the rooms on the top tier, further away from the restaurant. Or if you’re bringing kids, opt for a Deluxe King room so you have sofa beds ready. Each room has its own private sundeck with sunloungers, king- or queen-sized bed with cotton sheets, linen duvets and down pillows, and minibars stocking cookies from the local Tates Bake Shop, Havaianas and bottles of rosé and champagne. The broom-cupboard bathrooms are small and simple but soon to be improved – the hotel has plans to take out the very old-school kitchenettes secretly stored behind a door in each bedroom and replace with expanded bathrooms.

Poolside

No pool, but you can see the ocean.

Packing tips

Big glasses, small swimwear and the latest It-bag to transport it all. A small animal poking out will only do you in good stead. Some cosy cashmeres may be required for the chilly evenings.

Also

Minimum two-night stay required at weekends; three-night stay over Memorial Day, 4 July and Labor Day. Pets are allowed for $125 for each animal.

Children

Cots are free, and some rooms have their own pull-out couches ready. Hotel staff will babysit with a bit of notice, for $20 an hour.

Food & Drink

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Sunset Beach – Hamptons – United States

Hotel Restaurant

The Sunset Beach restaurant is a French-inspired bistro serving up New York strip steak, whole roasted branzino and bouillabaisse. For $25, the chef will prepare and cook any fishing fan’s catch of the day. The bistro has many parts and levels – the Sandbox is where to eat and tan at the same time, the mid deck is for casual dining in the shade and the ground floor is indoor (but open to the ocean) and decked out in white-wood, cushioned banquettes, French barstools and history-capturing photos of previous staff and customers on the walls.

Hotel Bar

The bar is part of the restaurant and has the same lively energy, backed up by a diverse DJ-performed set list, covering reggae, Indian and African beats. The crowd gathers to look attractive as they sip mixed-to-perfection mojitos long after the sun has set right in front of them.

Last orders

The restaurant closes at 10pm. The bar stays open until 1am – sometimes as late as 3am.

Room service

Everything on the restaurant menu is available until 10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Super casual (but effortlessly glam) – sitting sand-covered in your bikini as a long lunch becomes dinner is perfectly acceptable.

Top table

Top deck for lunch to get ocean views and ocean breeze at the same time. Dinner is best in the Sandbox, once it’s cooled off a little.

Local Guide

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Sunset Beach – Hamptons – United States
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel is activity central – they’ll organise biking, kayaking, volleyball, petanque, horse riding, sailing, jet skiing, tennis, golf, fishing – and straightforward beach lounging, of course. There are morning yoga classes during peak season, and more relaxation in the form of an in-room massage (around $150 an hour) and some shopping in the hotel’s very own designer boutique right on the doorstep. Or leave the island and take the seven-minute ferry ride across to the Hamptons’ other towns. Sag Harbor, Southampton and East Hampton are the main ones to tick off.

Local restaurants

Planet Bliss on North Ferry Road (+1 631 749 0053) is an intimate and welcoming bistro that cooks up local, organic ingredients to an Afro-Caribbean soundtrack. For the cheapest burger around (and other authentic diner fare), try Pat & Steve’s Family Restaurant (+1 631 749 1998). Book ahead for a table at Vine Street Café on South Ferry Road (+1 631 749 3210), an American bistro serving local seafood and produce.

+ Enlarge
Sedate Shelter Island

Sunset Beach

35 Shore Road, Shelter Island, Long Island, Hamptons, NY 11965, United States

Planes

The nearest airport is Islip MacArthur (+1 631 467 3210; www.macarthurairport.com), 50 miles from East Hampton.

Trains

The Long Island Rail Road (www.lirr.org) will take you from Manhattan’s Penn Station to Greenport, from where you can board a ferry to Shelter Island.

Automobiles

Coast down the Long Island Expressway (I–495) to Riverhead then continue on Route 25 to Greenport to board the ferry over to Shelter Island. You can also reach Greenport via the Hampton Jitney (www.hamptonjitney.com) from midtown.

Other

To get to Sunset Beach via your own boat, take the Long Island Sound to Peconic Bay and drop anchor in the cove to the left of the hotel. If you’re staying a little longer, moor at Coecles Marina or Dering Harbor. Shelter Island is linked to the South Fork by the South Ferry (www.southferry.com) and Greenport by the North Ferry (www.northferry.com).

Reviews

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Sunset Beach – Hamptons – United States

Anonymous review

by Kate Thorman , Storytelling explorer

On the train out of New York City, Mr Smith and I watch urban sprawl give way to rolling farmland as we head to the summer haven that is the Hamptons. Neither of us has been deeper into Long Island than the eastern reaches of Queens and we only vaguely know where we’re going, so we feel exceptionally adventurous. At the end of the line, in the charming waterfront town of Greenport, we hop o…
Read more

Sunset Beach

Anonymous review by Kate Thorman, Storytelling explorer

On the train out of New York City, Mr Smith and I watch urban sprawl give way to rolling farmland as we head to the summer haven that is the Hamptons. Neither of us has been deeper into Long Island than the eastern reaches of Queens and we only vaguely know where we’re going, so we feel exceptionally adventurous.

At the end of the line, in the charming waterfront town of Greenport, we hop onto a ferry across the Long Island Sound that drops us on Shelter Island’s northern shore. A limited taxi service is available on the island, but, fortuitously, a friend has offered to pick us up when we pull into port.

A cinematic scene of twinkly string lights and French music wafting through the twilight marks our arrival at the Sunset Beach hotel – hotelier André Balazs knows how to set the mood. We’re led past the outdoor ping-pong tables and a pétanque court at this converted roadside motel to where a brisk young German woman quickly checks us in.

Up a stairwell, heavy with humidity, we step into the welcome air-conditioning of our spacious room. The beachy decor is simple and tasteful – white couch, sisal rug, orange cabinets, butterfly chair – and Mr Smith can’t get enough of the walk-in shower’s geometric red-and-white tiling, which he hopes is a hold-over from its 1980s motel days. I’m most excited about our huge deck – as, I discover, are our neighbors, on the other side of the fabric screens.

Famished, we leave further room exploration for after dinner in favor of the hotel’s French-inspired bistro. The hostess seats us on the top open-air deck, on the edge overlooking the water. I’m too pleased with our perch to mind that the verging-on-clubby music is coming from a speaker directly above Mr Smith’s head, which he turns away, to the amused approval of the French group next to us.

Eyes widening, Mr Smith glances at the limited beer list (the man loves his craft brews) and the menu’s prices – but I remind him that it’s his birthday and redirect his attention to more important things, like the nighttime view over the water and his charming dining companion. When his rotisserie chicken arrives, and he tries both my moules marinières and the superb albariño, he is restored to his normal, contented self. After polishing off the bottle of Spanish white, he suggests a nightcap at the bar, before learning that, at 11, it has just closed.

Not to worry – there are other late-night amusements. A game of pétanque fuelled by beers from the minibar awaits. Sure, it may be his birthday, but I beat him handily before we retire for the evening to our exceptional (in both size and comfort) bed.

Throwing open the curtains the next morning, I find – not to sound too much like a romance novel – that the striking blue colour of the water really is worthy of a dramatic gasp. We beeline for the beach (almost) front café and nab a window table for some mini croissants and yoghurt before Mr Smith has the beach concierge (well, that’s what I’m calling him, anyway – sounds more glamorous than ‘attendant’) set up an umbrella and loungers for us.

I’ll be straight: we are not normally beach vacation people. I burn easily, my British beau just can’t handle hot temperatures and we both tend to get bored just sitting around for ages… But Sunset Beach made proselytes of us in no time: hours passed happily as we sat reading under one of their signature bright orange umbrellas.

Afternoon arrives and the beach starts flaunting quite a cast of characters – Mr fits in better than I do, as I seem to be the only American there. Taking a break from the sun, our friend – the one with the wheels – drives us into town to stock up on beach-picnic provisions at the French-run Reddings Market. I proceed to fall in love with the vintage Americana shops and ornate Victorian homes of Shelter Island Heights.

Exhausted from those rays, we wrap up our afternoon with a nap – the more time spent in that divine bed, the better. When we stir, it’s time to don our best Euro-beach-chic, hit the airy waterfront bar for cocktails and time it right for a magnificent sunset over the Long Island Sound. A parade of fresh seafood – crispy calamari salad, tuna tartare and crab cakes – makes for a fine dinner.

Moonlit walks along the water are mandatory in these parts, as is a little ping-pong – if Mr Smith let me play until I beat him, we would have been there all night, but, instead, he suggests we fraternize with some tequila-loving locals who are enlivening the bar. Happily, just steps from our room, we raid the minibar for a midnight snack and crawl back into our decadent bed.

Beach time has been a treat, and there’s no denying we’ve enjoyed our spell on Shelter Island’s sands. But there’s no mad last-minute sun-basking for us. Instead, we enjoy a leisurely 30-minute stroll back to the ferry. As Mr Smith’s final birthday wish, today’s whiling-away will be done over a beer-tasting at the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, an acclaimed local outpost whose tasting room is next to the town’s historic jail. We sample the daily selection of six of their beers – I unexpectedly love the chocolatey Black Duck Porter, but Mr Smith, not surprisingly, can’t get enough of the Other Side IPA.

Settled on the Jitney back to the city, I realise I’m a little shocked we’ve never come out here before. So easy to get here – and how easy it would be to come back. As the bus attendant brings snacks around, I miss the friendly beach concierge even more…
 

 

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