Back in September, I had lunch with Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg. She’s the smart, classy and fascinating creative director and proud owner of the lifestyle hotel c/o the Maidstone—the ONLY lifestyle hotel in chic East Hampton, New York. Originally from Sweden, her vision for c/o the Maidstone is one I wish more hotels and inns would adopt—”Scandinavian Cozy.” It’s all about relaxing, eating well and feeling at home. We’re talking over sized couches and fire places begging you to take it easy and kick back with some wine, hot tea and snacks while you sit and chat or sit and read or sit with your eyes closed and do nothing. It’s like you’re a guest at someone’s very inviting home. In fact, when I arrived, the onsite managers Sophie and Pär Bonér greeted me with the warmth of a long lost relative coming to stay. They took such amazing care of me all weekend and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Now, I know, when you think of the Hamptons, you think of wild parties, high end restaurants filled with celebrities or crazy mansions that you can rent out to share with 50 of your closest friends. But c/o the Maidstone is the perfect way to escape that scene and really get centered in a quiet setting. It’s why stars like Katie Holmes, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Susan Sarandon, Kelly Bensimon, Tiffani Thiessen and Alec Baldwin have chosen it for their stays. And if the crowded summer scene isn’t your thing, do like I did and come out for a fall getaway. It’s a romantic and charming way to bring in the crisp fall weather among the changing leaves.
Here’s everything you need to know about planning the perfect fall getaway to East Hampton while staying at c/o Maidstone.
One of the things that impressed me the most about the c/o the Maidstone is ALL 19 rooms are DIFFERENT. They’re divided into four categories: divine, magnificent, fabulous or cozy and all are inspired by a Scandinavian celebrity. We got to stay in the “Fabulous” Alvar & Aino Aalto Room. They were a Finnish couple who were modern architects. The room was sleek and yellow with straight lines. But the best part? The bed. It was honestly one of the most comfortable mattresses I have EVER slept on. They’re Haastan beds and it’s an amazing company that have been supplying mattresses to the Swedish royal court since 1952—so you know they have to be heavenly. Not to mention the bathroom was chock full of Malin+Goetz products that smell amazing—their Cilantro scented conditioner is the best thing that ever happened to my hair. The room was also filled with little treats including a basket of local grown cherry tomatoes for a healthy snack.
The Common Areas
The first thing you see before you even enter the inn is a row of rocking chairs on the front porch. I collapsed in one immediately before walking inside. It was like being transported back in time. Inside the “Cozy Lounge” are fire places, couches and a full service bar. You can flip through magazines, art books or request an iPod to chill out with. The walls are always curated with different art from the nearby Eric Firestone gallery. I was in heaven because hanging on the walls were framed photos from legendary photographer Patrick McMullan taken in the ’80s. We’re talking iconic shots of Madonna, Courtney Love and more. Outside you can sit, play ping pong by SPiN New York or tucked away under the tress is the tranquil Buddha Garden where we did yoga on Sunday morning. There is nothing like opening up your eyes after Shavasana with the sun peeking out and birds flying overhead.
The Food and Drinks
Let me just say that when I go away for the weekend, I want to make sure I get to eat and eat well. Calories don’t count when you’re relaxing, right? Right. But at the c/o the Maidstone, there are options for everyone—from the picky to the healthy—in their restaurant The Living Room. Led by Chef de Cuisine Mathias Brogie, the food served is part of the “Slow Food” movement which is all about serving a meal that pleases your senses and is served in the cleanest and most environmentally responsible way possible. From brunch to dinner, the Scandinavian inspired menu will make you happy. The Köttbullar (AKA Swedish meatballs) made my taste buds burst with glee Every morning, a spread of light bites for breakfast is put out and it includes smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Every afternoon? Tea and scones are at your disposal. But the best is the drinks at the bar that you can sit and sip in the Cozy Lounge for hours. The Cucumber Ginger Mint Martini might change your life.
There’s so much to do right around the c/o the Maidstone that’s in walking distance OR you can borrow one of their special Kronan bicycles (and helmets) to ride into town. Kronan bikes were originally made for the Swedish army and brought over to the c/o the Maidstone just for their guests. You can ride deeper into East Hampton to check out the Eric Firestone gallery for yourself or go shopping. You can also bike to the beach or just take the scenic route and check out the changing leaves and beautiful homes nearby.
One other amazing activity is to head over to the Wölffer Estate and Vineyard for a tour and wine tasting. The c/o the Maidstone and Wölffer Estate have a special relationship as they work closely together to keep local wines rotating on The Living Room’s menu. We had an amazing day at Wölffer Estate where we were given a tour by winemaker Roman Roth. To say he is passionate about wine making is an understatement. We saw the whole process from the grapes growing in the lush vineyard to having the opportunity to taste some very sweet grape juice as it was fermenting to the final amazing product. Merlots and Chardonnays are their specialties—and I may or may not have brought home a bottle (or two).
Here’s my husband Nathanael and I after a fabulous afternoon at Wölffer Estate. In fact, we had smiles this big the entire weekend in East Hampton and especially at the c/o the Maidstone.
What’s the one thing you are most excited to experience at the c/o the Maidstone? Leave us a comment or tweet @OKMagazine!