Concluding our trip across the pond for the Thanksgiving holidays, Georgina Wilson-Powell escapes the thrum of the city to the New England retreat so synonymous with America’s high society, the Hamptons…
For my first ever visit to the Hamptons, an impressive colonial hotel was what I wanted. I imagined rich WASPS, sozzled Upper East Side matriarchs, fresh lobster and long suffering townspeople. And while Topping Rose House and the quaint town of Bridgehampton didn’t quite deliver, it was pretty close.
The 19th century colonial style house has been a hotel since the 30s but was recently renovated to include an uber-modernist rectangle complex, tucked behind the main house, idyllically called the ‘cottages’. ‘Cottages’ didn’t seem to do the addition justice as it felt more Berlin than Bridgehampton, but nevertheless it worked (and is also home to a high tech fitness area and spa). A sleek and minimalist outside pool area helped to make the transition between centuries more seamless.
The main house though had the quintessential wrap around veranda with plenty of space for sitting (with cocktail in hand) in the summer, while there were fire pits in the garden for cooler evenings. In winter, the house has two open fire places to snuggle round.
Once unpacked we set off on free to borrow bikes to explore a local vineyard – there are a few in the area close enough to cycle to, or you can borrow the hotel’s Lexus if you’re not going to have a tipple. Woffler Estate vineyard is incredibly pretty and has a Napa Valley feel, it’s a great place to try the grapes (on another veranda) and pick up a few bottles. Once back to Topping Rose House, our large ground floor cottage’s private garden came into its own, where we sat and watched a seemingly endless parade of squirrels.
The heart of the hotel is its restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Taking inspiration from a country barn, the large, airy space has plenty of room for hotel guests and town-folk alike. The seasonal menu makes the most of nearby produce from neighbouring farms as well as the hotel’s own farm, which provides herbs and vegetables. There’s also a strong seafood element (the lobster risotto in particular is a stand out), a fair mix of local, American and European wine in the cellar and the cocktail list has both long and strong options.
While the hotel’s only a short walk from the town’s Main Street, it’s also not that far from the busier but charming town and beach at Sag Harbour (about 15 minutes in a car) – think white picket fences and columned mansions and you’ll be there.
And the characters? Let’s just say we found some. From the Hermes scarved, navy blazered grandmothers drinking lunchtime wine in a pizza restaurant to a rather expressive bored housewife trying to remodel her house over a breakfast meeting with her interior designer, Topping Rose House is an ideal base to explore a surreal slice of upper class America.
Topping Rose House, One Bridgehampton – Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. Cottage twin room from £257 per night. For more information, visit www.toppingrosehouse.com.