You might not think of getting away to the Hamptons in winter, but we know just the spot.
By Heather Bryce
C/O The Maidstone, is the crown jewel in the string of inn/restaurants owned by Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg, most of which are located in her native land. Certainly it has pride of place in East Hampton, often cited as “the prettiest village in America,” not least because of its swan-studded pond over which the Maidstone presides. With the best views in town, the majestic white-clapboard abode overlooks a rustic windmill, ancient graveyard and an enclave of historic shingled houses beyond.
The welcoming ambience of the Scandinavian-themed lodgings begin on the front porch where a Swedish version of Adirondack chairs, bedecked with sheepskins, await chilled guests, and continues inside where a crackling fire in the bar area warms the cashmere-clad Hamptonites lounging on a cozy duo of facing sofas.
“I wanted to create a Scandinavian lifestyle hotel where it was a given that you could sit in cozy lounge chairs, at any time of the day or night, work on your computer, sip on a glass of champagne, hear music that you like on the speakers while watching photo art on the walls in the company of your dog, or kid, or lover,” says Ms. Ljungberg, whose title reads CEO & Proud Owner c/o Hotels.
There’s also a chic lounge decorated in an offbeat Swedish style, with a whimsical assortment of colorful couches and chairs – think pink, purple, green – accented with bursts of bright botanically patterned pillows. “We purposely spent a lot of money bringing in decor that people hadn´t seen before, took notice of, and have opinions about,” said Ms. Lundjberg.
The inn boasts 19 rooms, including three stylish cottages, the décor of each inspired by a well-known Scandinavian personality. The Thor Heyerdahl room, for example, named for the Norwegian scientist who sailed across the Pacific in his self-built raft, the Kon-Tiki, sports a sail-like hanging over the bed and a claw-foot tub, the better from which to splash your partner. Next door, in the Roald Amundsen room, dedicated to the explorer who led a 1911 expedition to the South Pole, an antique “spark” hangs on a wall. Resembling a sled you can stand on, it was (and sometimes still is) used like a giant ice skate to transport people on frozen ponds. The Josef Frank room celebrates the bold textile patterns of the renowned architect and designer.
All rooms are equipped with house-branded clogs and a bottle of wine from nearby Wolffer Estate Vineyard. “We like to support local business,” says pony-tailed Par Boner, who manages the establishment along with his lovely wife, Sophie Hindmarsh.
This summer some of the notables to be found at the establishment were Katie Holmes and her daughter, who stayed a couple of nights, Bill Clinton, who had dinner with friends, Stevie Nicks, and Meryl Streep.
With rooms $313-$795 off-season, which make the hotel a fabulous winter retreat, it is also one of the Hamptons’ summer hotspots ($490-$1375 in-season) with its outdoor yoga and kitchen garden from which many of the restaurant’s vegetables are sourced.
If you’re visiting Sweden, you’ll want to stay at the ℅ Häringe Palace, 30 minutes south of Stockholm. Alas, Ms. Ljungberg is selling her other four properties as they don’t “fit the lifestyle brand that we embody.” A plan for a new hotel in Manhattan is in the works, but that may take a few years. Meanwhile, whenever you visit c/o The Maidstone, feel free to bring Fido — remember it’s a dog-friendly hotel.
207 Main Street, East Hampton, NY