Hamptons, United States

Shou Sugi Ban House

Style

Out East meets Far East

Setting

Perched by the Parrish

Shou Sugi Ban House’s healing powers exert themselves almost instantly – daily stresses dissipate as you walk the pebbled pathways in the gardens, get steamy in the infrared sauna and take lungfuls of sea air on beach hikes. The back-to-nature philosophy extends to the kitchen, too: the hyper-seasonal, plant-based bounty is served at a communal table in the airy Main Barn and has a Nordic accent thanks to the chef, an alumni of Copenhagen’s Noma. And, with those evening meditations, stargazing sessions and soothing sound baths, we can practically guarantee the best night’s sleep of your life.

Smith Extra

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A Shou Sugi Ban House-branded baseball hat (one a person)

Facilities

Photos Shou Sugi Ban House facilities

Need to know

Rooms

13.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3:00pm.

Also

Shou Sugi Ban House is completely substance-free, so there’s no alcohol served on-site The retreat is purposely low-tech, too, so you won’t find a TV screen in your room (but there is super-fast WiFi throughout).

Please note

Due to updated Covid-19 safety procedures, the hotel is offering in-room and private dining. 

At the hotel

Outdoor saltwater pool, spa with hydrotherapy circuit, sauna, steam room and solarium deck, gym, yoga, Pilates and meditation studios, organic vegetable and herb gardens, orchard, tennis court, fire pit, on-site parking and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: gas fireplace, garden patio, underfloor heating, organic bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the 13 stand-alone, cedar-built studios is the same size, so you really can’t go wrong; the only main difference between rooms is the type of bath tub: some have wooden onsen-style tubs and others have more modern whirlpool baths. Inside, the aesthetic is minimal with wabi sabi influences and biscuit-coloured accents that pay homage to the golden dunes on the beaches nearby. Plenty of light streams through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and beauty sleep is practically assured thanks to organic mattresses and lighting system designed around Circadian rhythms.

Poolside

In the summer months, while away afternoons by the heated outdoor saltwater swimming pool, dotted with white parasols and cushioned sunloungers.

Spa

Inspired by the rolling ocean breakers just two miles away, water and hydrotherapy are the main themes at the impressive spa. There’s a watsu pool, hot and cold plunge pools, infrared and dry saunas, an aromatic steam room, a rooftop solarium deck and a relaxing lounge serving snacks and tea. The treatment menu runs the gamut from the traditional (youth-restoring facials, invigorating massages, reflexology, scrubs and wraps) to the alternative (reiki, crystals, sound journeys and shamanic healing). You can also take treatments in your room, if you prefer.

Packing tips

Lots of lycra for active mornings, sleek swimwear for the spa and luxe loungewear for cosy evenings in.

Also

All public areas and one bedroom are adapted for wheelchair users.

Children

Leave little Smiths at home this time – Shou Sugi Ban House is for ages 16 and up.

Sustainability efforts

Very – we hardly have space to list their Earth-friendly initiatives: all food is hyper-seasonal and either sourced from surrounding farms or grown on-site in the gardens. As well as using geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, reclaimed building materials, salvaged furniture, green cleaning products, locally-made soap and a fleet of electric Teslas for shuttling guests, they’ve also made an effort to hire as many staff as possible from the local area.

Food and Drink

Photos Shou Sugi Ban House food and drink

Top Table

There’s just the one shared table for all meals. If the weather’s particularly fine, it’s been known to move alfresco.

Dress Code

As you’d expect from a spa retreat, laidback loungewear (with a dash of luxe) reigns – so channel Naomi Campbell on a long-haul flight.

Hotel restaurant

All meals are served at a big wooden table in the Main Barn, but don’t let the minimalist aesthetic fool you – deprivation isn’t the done thing here. Under the guidance of Mads Refslund (he’s the co-founder of Copenhagen’s multi-starred Noma, possibly the most famous restaurant on the planet), the food blends Japanese umami flavours with the clean, bright tastes of the Nordics. The menu is pescatarian, and plant-rich, changing each day according to what’s in season. Lunch could be chilled udon noodles with mushrooms, simply grilled fish or a hearty rice bowl; for dinner, we had vegetarian risottos, oven-roasted monkfish skewers and panna cotta for dessert.

Hotel bar

There’s no alcohol served on-site, but you can pull up a stool in the tea lounge and toast to your health with a turmeric elixir or heady blend of chamomile and ginger.

Last orders

Breakfast is from 8am to 10am. Lunch is served daily from 1pm; dinner from 7pm.

Room service

Since communal dining and set meal times are an essential part of life at Shou Sugi Ban, room service isn’t available (so, stash healthy snacks – or contraband Cadbury’s – in your suitcase in case hunger strikes after hours).

Location

Photos Shou Sugi Ban House location
Address
Shou Sugi Ban House
337 Montauk Hwy
Water Mill
11976
United States

Shou Sugi Ban House’s lushly landscaped acres are between the villages of Water Mill and Southampton on the tip of Long Island, just two miles from the shoreline.

Planes

Most flights touch down at JFK or LaGuardia airports, both about a two-hour drive away (though it can take a lot longer in summer and weekend traffic); the hotel can arrange private transfers from either airport for $350 each way in a sedan or $450 in an SUV.

Trains

Southampton station is just two miles from the hotel – the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) journey from NYC’s Penn Station takes just under three hours.

Automobiles

If you plan on exploring the rest of the Hamptons, a car will come in handy – you’ll get the best rate if you rent one at the airport. Bus options along the Long Island Expressway include the Hampton Luxury Liner and the Hampton Jitney.

Other

In a hurry? Blade (flyblade.com) helicopter services are available for either private charter or shared flights from Manhattan (prices start from $795 a person each way for a shared flight).

Worth getting out of bed for

From morning to night, there’s a tempting schedule of self-care activities on offer. After breakfast in the main barn (the spoiling spread is a real highlight of any stay here), join a class in the Movement pavilion, a partially open-air structure that lets the fresh air and sea breezes in. You can choose from strength training, yoga of all varieties, Pilates and much more. If you prefer to go solo, there’s personal training on offer and, naturally, the gym is equipped with every bell and whistle for sculpting and toning: TRX, balance balls and ballet barres, to name but a few.  

After a stroll through the vegetable and herb gardens and the cherry orchard, you can see how the produce is being put to use by joining a culinary workshop in the demonstration kitchen. Work up an appetite for dinner by joining a daily guided beach hike or devise nature walks of your own in the many public conservation areas nearby.

For a dose of culture, the Herzog and de Meuron-designed Parrish Art Museum is right on your doorstep. The giant barns sit on 14 acres of meadow and, inside, the permanent collection is home to more than 3,000 works by artists who lived, worked and were inspired by the East End, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Cindy Sherman.

Reviews

Photos Shou Sugi Ban House reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this serene spa break in Southampton and unpacked their cashmere robes and Ayurvedic supplements, a full account of their healing holiday will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Shou Sugi Ban House in the Hamptons…

Shou sugi ban is an ancient Japanese technique for charring wood to make it more durable. And, after just a few hours at Shou Sugi Ban House, a next-level wellness retreat near Southampton, you’ll also be feeling impervious to stress, thanks to its white-and-wood palette and soul-soothing spa treatments. All the sculpting, stretching and toning you could dream of is on offer in the gym and movement studios, but if you prefer to take it easier, we suggest spending an entire day in the heavenly house spa, hopping from hydrotherapy pool to aromatherapy sauna and back again. You’ll gather with fellow guests in the Main Barn for every meal – the menu puts an emphasis on local farms and produce grown right here in the gardens. And, though most people come here to escape the outside world for a while, the hotel will happily ferry you to the beach, the Parrish Art Museum and other nearby Hamptons hotspots in their fleet of wing-doored Teslas.