I Visited One of Montauk's Hottest Hotels — and I Finally Understand the Hype

It's one of the most popular spots near the Hamptons for a reason.

Front entrance of The Surf Lodge
Photo: Courtesy of The Surf Lodge

Montauk's hottest club is… The Surf Lodge. One of the easternmost destinations on Long Island, save for Montauk's historic lighthouse, the Surf Lodge has long been a destination for Hamptons partygoers, and it's easy to see why. The outdoor bar with a view of Montauk's Fort Pond and an always stylish crowd is the place to be on any weekend evening during the summer. But beyond the parties, which are, without a doubt, reason enough to visit the property, the Surf Lodge has a quieter side, which offers a variety of unique art, design, and cuisine that make it a must-visit spot for your next Hamptons getaway.

On a recent weekend trip to the Surf Lodge, one of the first things I saw when I stepped into the property's colorful, airy lobby was striking artwork from Rajni Jacques, the global head of beauty and fashion at Snap Inc. Her paintings, many of which are New York-inspired, adorn the lobby, making the space feel just as much like a museum as a place to pick up your room key (although the hotel opts for the modern approach of keypad entry to each of its rooms). She even created a custom painted surfboards commissioned by Lightbox Jewelry to be displayed at the hotel. You'll also find art from Brandon Boyd, lead singer of the band Incubus, in the lobby, and, for most of the summer, as a backdrop to the property's outdoor stage. Later this season, actor Norman Reedus will showcase his photography at the property.

Rajni Jacques
Artist Rajni Jacques and a custom painted surfboard at The Surf Lodge. Courtesy of the Surf Lodge

You also won't be able to miss the gift shop, which has been home to a bevy of stylish and luxury brand pop-up shops throughout the summer. When I visited, Tombolo leisurewear had made its temporary home at the gift shop, featuring a variety of beach-ready menswear, including Hawaiian-style shirts, terry cloth shorts, and swim trunks. Loveshack Fancy, Marc Jacobs, Lightbox Jewelry, and more brands have also partnered up with the Surf Lodge and secured the coveted gift shop space, providing guests with a place to shop for beach-ready apparel and accessories.

As far as dining goes, you won't want to leave the hotel for some of your best vacation meals. Right now, Michelin-starred Chef Paul Liebrandt is doing a culinary residence at the Surf Lodge, offering a gourmet three-course meal featuring a mix of seafood and vegan options. And to balance out the delicious meals and nightlife, you can enjoy a curated wellness series at the Surf Lodge this summer in partnership Lightbox Jewelry, with classes like the Agdal Method with supermodel Nina Agdal, TORCH'D with Isaac Boots, S10 Training with Stephen Cheuk, and Damn Good Yoga with Sarrah Strimel hosted throughout the summer.

Surf Lodge outdoor bar
The outdoor bar and stage at the Surf Lodge, featuring art from Brandon Boyd. Courtesy of the Surf Lodge

Music is also a key part of the Surf Lodge's identity. The property's outdoor bar features a stage that's hosted artists like Remi Wolf, Jack Wesley Rogers, and Cautious Clay this summer alone. After dark, you'll find DJs from around the world dropping in for a set, solidifying the property's identity as an institution of East End nightlife.

As Travel + Leisure previously reported, the property's beauty mini bar, available for all weekend guests, is unmatched. With products like chlorophyll and ionic mineral drops from Sakara and SPF 45 Primer from Chantecaille, all housed in a stylish, sustainable Paravel cosmetic bag, you won't want to miss this luxe amenity if you stay on the weekend.

In between your gourmet meals and stylish nightlife, guests at the Surf Lodge can also enjoy a fleet of Polestar electric cars to use at their leisure, making exploring all that Montauk has to offer easier (and more environmentally friendly) than ever.

The Surf Lodge is an enigma of a Hamptons-area hotel. On the one hand, it's a glamorous spot to see and be seen, with luxurious amenities and celebrity guests. But at the same time, it's an unassuming beach shack-style abode, just off Montauk Highway. Whatever you're looking for, whether that's a sunset concert, a Michelin-starred meal, or a nap in a hammock overlooking Fort Pond, you can find it at the Surf Lodge. And with several weeks of summer left, it's not too late to book a stay.

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