Picture courtesy of iStock Photo
An established beach retreat for smart New Yorkers, the Hamptons’ pick-and-mix of characterful towns offer properties as luxurious as your yacht perfect for those seeking an East Coast bolthole. The Hamptons are as much a social scene as a summer destination. People buy properties here not just for somewhere to unwind between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, but as somewhere to don expensive linen shirts and hit VIP beach parties. Each village has its own unique seaside vibe: smart, pared back, bookish. The old whaling port of Sag Harbor is known for its arts scene and trendy restaurants, Southampton hosts the financiers, and Montauk is a popular party town with millennials.
The flight from New York takes just 35 minutes. Helicopter operator Blade, a sort of Uber for Wall Street types, operates weekend flights from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Useful for quick trips to your beach pad.
All property images courtesy of Alamy/Jake Rajs
During America’s Gilded Age, the late 19th century era of excess popularised by Mark Twain, a new industrial elite built mansions to suit their wealthy lifestyles. Eminent architects began to design enormous houses that mimicked the castles of Europe, replete with grand marble staircases, high vaulted ceilings and white and gold Rococo panelling.
With the sinking of the Titanic and later the 1929 Stock Market crash, such ostentatious design fell out of favour, but many of the mansions remain, monuments to an emboldened era. One such house at 92 Coopers Neck Lane in Southampton is currently on the market at $32.5 million. The 1890s house was purchased in the early 1900s by Thomas Morrison Carnegie Jr, nephew of the great steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and owned by the family until the 1950s. One can imagine the summer parties that must have been held at that time, pre-Prohibition cocktails in the hands of Vanderbilt heiresses and Hollywood stars such as Gary Cooper, who owned a property nearby.
This particular 1,115m² property was one of the original “summer cottages” for which the Hamptons are famous, built with plenty of bedrooms for guests and staff, says the agent, Molly Ferrer of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Southampton has long been popular with New York’s finance set and the current owners are no exception. New Yorkers often have lots of friends in this Hamptons village and it’s a great place for them to spend the summer, especially in a house like this, which is so well-suited to entertaining.”
The shingle-style house, set on 1.9 hectares and a short walk from the beach, is owned by investment banker Roberto de Guardiola of De Guardiola Advisors, and his wife Joanne, an interior designer. The couple bought the property in 1994 and have carried out extensive renovations, including the restoration of original custom decorative plaster mouldings such as the cove ceiling in the living room.
The three-storey house has 11 bedrooms, two of which are in a separate guest apartment in the north wing of the house with a separate entrance. A 139.3 square metre stable, now used for entertaining, has been completely uprooted and moved closer to the main house, and there is also a heated pool and a tennis court.
The De Guardiolas are moving partly because they spend an increasing amount of time on their yacht, Highlander. The 49.45 metre boat, which they bought from the late entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes, has hosted a guest list the Carnegies would have approved of, including Ronald Reagan, Mick Jagger and Liz Taylor. Most Southampton residents moor their yachts at the protected port in nearby Sag Harbor, at the private Sag Harbor Yacht Club or one of the two public marinas, which can accommodate boats of more than 30 metres. Few dock at their home although a few waterfront properties with yacht moorings do exist.
Unsurprisingly, Southampton is not cheap. Coopers Neck Lane was recently ranked number eight on the 15 most expensive streets in the US, according to online real estate site Zillow. With a median home value of $11.87 million, it was the only road in New York State to make the list.
For these sorts of prices you will be in walking distance of some of the finest food and drinking scenes in New York State and arguably the country. Try Tutto Il Giorno, an Italian restaurant, which has rustic seafood dishes and outposts in Southampton and Sag Harbor. The American Hotel Restaurant in Sag Harbor is great for celebrity spotting. There are also plenty of laid-back beach bars, including Bay Kitchen Bar in East Hampton, with its daily happy hour special featuring $1 oysters and $5 glasses of rosé, or Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Café in Montauk, which has firepits and serves up s’mores (that’s a sort of chocolate marshmallow sandwich to you non-Americans). Montauk is about a 30-minute drive from Sag Harbor and about 40 minutes from Southampton.
On the market with Sotheby’s International Realty. +631 513 9895, sothebyshomes.com.