Montauk: The Less Trendy Sister Hamlet to the Hamptons

By Richard Levy

Where does a travel writer go now that it’s safe to travel again? One of my favorite destinations is Montauk. If you drive any further than Montauk on Long Island, you’ll drop into the Atlantic.

The fall is the very best time to be there. Weekenders are gone. There’s no frustrating traffic, the weather’s absolutely delightful and the water is still nice and warm from the summer’s sun. It’s like a picturesque New England village, not trendy like the Hamptons.

The charming hamlet of Montauk has captivating shops and amazing restaurants. You can ride horses on the beach, play golf on an award-winning course, go fishing on a party boat, play tennis or turn your engines off on one of their lovely beaches.

Visit the historic national landmark Montauk Lighthouse, authorized by the Second Congress and President George Washington in 1792.

My favorite spot for seafood is Inlet Seafood Restaurant. Nestled on the bay, it’s a temple of seafood, where every table has sunset water views. Order their fried whole sea bass in a tangy sauce, seared scallops over sweet potato and Swiss chard or their OMG! crispy whole cauliflower tempura covered with a delicious sauce.

When planning a Montauk escape, unequivocally the hotel you must splurge for is Gurney’s Resort & Seawater Spa. It’s the ultimate, luxury beach and palace of the rich and famous. At Gurney’s, you’ll be pampered endlessly by their attentive, professional staff. Gurney’s powdery sand beach is one of the most renowned in the country with sexy cabanas to escape to like on the Cote d’Azur. There’s a wellness spa with two classes every day.

Gurney’s renowned Scarpetta Restaurant has been declared the “best in the Hamptons.” Every mouthwatering dish is more impressively prepared and presented than the next. Order their melt-in-your-mouth yellowtail sashimi, their seared sea scallops and delicate fluke crudi with a splash of ocean.

The entrees that blew me away was the lobster Tagliolini Nero, squid ink pasta with chunks of delectable lobster, perfectly grilled branzino and the lamb ragu cavatelli, which was more delicious than any in Italy. This mecca of gourmet delights deserves to be a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Be spontaneous and book your decadent getaway at Gurney’s now.

If you can’t get into Gurney’s, check out their sensational sister hotel Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina. It’s smaller and more affordable, 117 lovely rooms and suites facing the gorgeous harbor. It’s Showfish restaurant has some of the freshest seafood dishes in Montauk.

There’s another spectacular hotel I love that’s the antithesis of the chic Gurney’s; it’s the historic Montauk Manor. Built by a Florida billionaire in 1927, it was the favorite Montauk escape of New York’s high society with formal balls and socialite events.

Today Montauk Manor is still an impressive mansion and now they have 140 luxury condominium apartments you can rent by the weekend or week. There’s a large heated outdoor and indoor pool, fitness room, day spa, tennis courts and delightful restaurant. Their shuttle takes you into town, to the beach or restaurants and pick you up, so you can leave your car at the hotel.

Given the fact Montauk Manor is a gorgeous mansion and former getaway for the rich and famous, it’s surprisingly affordable. You’re going to love its old-world tranquil and gracious atmosphere.

You can drive to Montauk, take the Long Island Rail Road or the Hampton Jitney. Just because the traditional summer season is soon ending, there’s no reason to fret. The very best time to visit magnificent Montauk is the fall. You’ll have the lovely beaches and wonderful restaurants all to yourself.

Gurney’s Resort & Seawater Spa: 631-668-2345; Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina: 631- 668-3100; Montauk Manor: 631-668-4400. Inlet Seafood Restaurant: 631-668-4272; Hampton Jitney: 631-283-4600.

Hastings-on-Hudson resident Richard Levy is a former advertising “Mad Man” creative director and now a travel writer. He’s also an inventor of innovative new products and is writing and illustrating a new children’s book. You can contact him at


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