When trying to gauge whether a stay at the Surf Lodge in Montauk is worth the effort, the first thing you have to figure out is whether you want to head to Montauk at all.
About 112 miles from midtown Manhattan, the three-hour drive to Montauk will take you across all of Long Island, passing through locales such as Southampton, grazing Sag Harbor and even waving to folks as you pass by Fire Island.
If it’s a high-end vacation with tons of shopping opportunities and real estate porn that you’re after, then you’re likely going to want to stop a few hours into your drive and set up camp in East Hampton.
But if it’s a more subtle cool that you’re craving, defined by high-priced but casual-feeling outings, Montauk is the place to be during summer weekends in New York. Think of it as the equivalent of living in Manhattan versus Brooklyn: although both are part of this grand city of ours, each borough caters to slightly different characters.
One fact mostly rings true across all of Eastern Long Island: when looking for lodgings, options include motels, Airbnbs or very expensive hotels, which is the category that the likes of the Surf Lodge and Gurneys in Montauk belong to.
Straight off the bat, the price of an average room during the summer season at the Surf Lodge seems pretty daunting: it’ll cost you about $800 to stay there a single night. The prohibitive pricing probably has to do with the fact that the destination is more of a sunset-to-night hangout spot than it is a hotel with traditional offerings.
You won’t have access to the beach here and there is no pool on premise, so after enjoying the very good complimentary breakfast (the croissant could be one of the best on Long Island), you’ll have to figure out how to spend the majority of your day. Perhaps, you can walk around the town a mere 15 minutes away or drive to one of the many public beaches in the area (if you do so, be prepared: there are no beds or umbrellas for rent seemingly anywhere around).
During the day, the restaurant on premise is serviced by renowned Australian café Two Hands and the food is top-notch. At night, the space transforms into a see-and-be-seen, who's-who that reminds of the sorts of clubs that defined '90s Manhattan. Whether that’s a positive or a negative is up to you, but a few things are certain: the dinner menu is on-point, offering delicious fresh fare alongside classics that taste even better when consumed overlooking Fort Pond, and the hotel’s summer music lineup turns the destination into the sort of romantic experience that defined the summers of our youth.
Past acts have included Shallou, Bea Miller, Zedd and Chelsea Cutler, all taking over an intimate stage that feels like a private concert. Wyclef Jean is scheduled to close out the season on September 17.
Needless to say, after spending the late afternoon sipping on cocktails while at a concert, the idea of driving anywhere to rest your head for a bit seems daunting—which is when the Surf Lodge’s spacious rooms complete with complimentary beauty products come in handy, despite their pretty high cost (worry not: the sound of revelers right outside your door doesn't carry inside the rooms). But it’s summer and you only live once, after all. Why not splurge a bit?