Hamptons mainstay Gurney's is reborn and expanding

At Gurney's Star Island Resort's Showfish restaurant, the catch is brought in from the dock outside daily.

MONTAUK, N.Y. -- Anyone familiar with the original Gurney's Inn, for decades a rundown timeshare here on the Hamptons' easternmost point, would find it hard to imagine what the property has become.

Now called Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, the 146-room property, which sits on 2,000 square feet of private beach, has been almost completely renovated over several phases since 2013. The upcoming revitalization of its spa is the last part of the refurbishment.

Gurney's is now among the Hamptons' trendiest and most sought-after properties, boasting what George Filopoulos of Metrovest Equities, one of the two principals that purchased the resort six years ago, said is among the highest RevPARs in the country and year-round occupancy of 70% in an area where very few hotels bother to stay open all year. Its summer occupancy approaches 95%.

Last year, Virtuoso made Gurney's the first Montauk resort in its luxury hotel portfolio. 

With success has come growth: In Rhode Island, a former Hyatt Regency on Goat Island became Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina in 2017. This summer, the 107-room, 232-slip Gurney's Star Island Resort & Marina opened six miles from the original Gurney's (which the staff here affectionately refers to as "the OG") in what had been the Montauk Yacht Club. 

The next phase of Gurney's expansion could be outside the Northeast, possibly in a warmer, year-round destination or even the mountains.

A tale of two Gurney's

"It's no secret that our guests in the winter spend a lot of time in South Florida, that a lot of them do ski," Filopoulos said. "We're not exactly sure what the blueprint is, but the pillars will involve an expansion that is measured so that we don't disappoint ourselves or our market."

Right now, the three properties offer varied Northeast coastal getaways. The 357-room Newport property may be two states away by land, but it is only 30 nautical miles from Montauk, and guests can move between the resorts via yacht or helicopter.

Star Island's marina location, with yachts lit up in their slips at night and a grassy lawn abutted by tennis courts, gives it a totally different feel than the nearby beach- and spa-centric Gurney's Montauk. What the original property has in beachfront and cabanas, Star Island has in pools, with three of them. 

Complimentary shuttles enable guests at each Montauk resort to enjoy the others' amenities and eateries, such as an outpost of LDV Hospitality's Scarpetta at the OG, and Showfish, the Star Island restaurant where the catch is brought in from the nearby dock daily and most produce comes from farms within 20 miles. While each Gurney's has its own personality, similar design, bedding and furnishings carry through in the rooms. 

Filopoulos said he believes that once the OG's signature seawater spa is renovated, more luxury travel advisors will work with the brand, which he welcomes. 

"It's a great guest for us," he said of Virtuoso clients. "We're really excited when we see those reservations come through."

A weekend at Gurney's 

On a sunny weekend in July, many guests at both Gurney's in Montauk were enjoying what is now a two-for-one resort experience. 

A free shuttle between the properties enables guests at the OG to experience the marina-centered Star Island, and make use of amenities like the pool and tennis courts, as well as a kids club partnered with Cornell to offer an educational marine program; a Van Leeuwen ice cream parlor, serving scoops of the "Weekend at Gurney's" flavor; and complimentary activities including sunset cruises, stand-up paddleboard and yoga on the Great Lawn. 

It's worth sampling each resort's main restaurant. Star Island's Showfish impresses with its seafood, prepared by Hamptons native chef Jeremy Blutstein. A lobster aquarium and nine-foot seafood display are stocked daily with the local catch and a glossary on the menu tells guests which farms provide what ingredients for each dish. I'm still intrigued by the description of a particular mushroom forager: "A super secret classified location in Catskill, NY."   

Star Island guests can enjoy the Hamptons scene at the OG's Beach Club, complete with private daybeds and a bustling beach bar. Daybed rates start at $1,500 on weekends ($2,000 on holiday weekends) for resort guests. For non-resort guests, daybed rates start at $2,000 on weekends ($2,500 on holiday weekends).

The 30,000 square-foot Seawater Spa offers an ocean-fed seawater pool that Gurney's says is the only pool of its kind in North America. Scarpetta's only Hamptons location offers some of the best ocean views you can get on the East End, and this summer began offering brunch.

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