The Hamptons was once mostly farmland, its landscape defined not by rows and rows of mega-mansions, but herbs, vegetables, or wheat. That origin is on full display at The Roundtree, a new boutique hotel whose rolling lawn flows right into the corn crops of Amagansett’s Balsam Farm.
“New” is a tough word, because The Roundtree’s structures date back to the 17th and 18th centuries—right next door is the Nathaniel Baker House, which, built in 1682, is the oldest house in town. But now, the property is renovated, modernized, and ready to operate in the COVID era: every room has a slick white Upang sterilizer, employees greet you with crisp white masks, and furniture is upholstered with washable fabric.
Set right off of Main Street, The Roundtree is also not your typical see-and-be-seen Hamptons resort. There’s no bar or restaurant (although they do offer delicious chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon), no trendy cabanas, no central lobby ripe for mingling. Instead, check in takes place at a small clapboard house, behind an even smaller desk. Your room number will be no higher than 16.A woodclad bedroom.Photo: Courtesy of The Roundtree.
Instead, the main draw is The Roundtree’s set of charming cottages, ranging in size from studio to three-bedroom, framed by leafy bushes and flanked by pleasant purple flower pots. Although the hotel just opened on June 3, several guests have already posted up for weeks in the picturesque abodes. (They’re part of a growing trend—due to the pandemic, hotels across America have seen an uptick in long-term stays.)One of The Roundtree's Cottages.Photo: Getty Images
It’s easy to see why they don’t want to leave. When designing The Roundtree, owner Sylvia Wong says she “wanted to create a second home for people.” Which means that everything is, essentially, laid-back and comfy: the rooms have hardwood floors, beechwood dressers, fireplaces, modern art and the fluffiest of white duvets. When you come back from the beach, the staff offers to launder your wet bathing suit, which was a no-brainer for Wong: “[When] I have a guest staying in my home, that's what I would do,” she says, shrugging. Oh, did we mention the wifi is fantastic? It was a priority of hers: “I want to be able to sit out under the tree, then do my work,” Wong says.
Every morning, the hotel serves complimentary breakfast outside their brown-shingled barn: warm pain au chocolat, fresh fruit, granola with yogurt and honey, coffee from nearby Jack’s Stir Brew. Guests meander in wearing workout gear, swimsuits, and even in one case, a bathrobe. The great lawn, which comprises much of the property's 13 acres, is a bonafide work-play space: on a Thursday afternoon, sunbathers lounged on pristine white recliners, while an AirPod-clad businessman took a conference call underneath a shady tree. Meanwhile, a teen laid across a bench, doing math homework with her classmates on FaceTime. In front of a cottage, a thirty-something sat shirtless in front of makeshift outdoor desk, typing furiously on a laptop. Come nightfall, dressed in their Hamptons best, everyone gravitated towards the lawn, carrying cocktails crafted with liquor from the nearby bottle shop, or takeout dinner. (The hotel will set up a table for you, if you wish.) For the children, the s’mores station by the fire pit was the place to be.The rolling, perfect-for-rosé lawn at The Roundtree.Photo: Courtesy of The Roundtree.
For off-property activities, The Roundtree has a fleet of sky-blue cruiser bikes, so getting to a beach (a mere mile away) or taking a trip to East Hampton town, is a cinch on a sunny day. Yet there’s much to do within walking distance—a delicious meal at Woelffer Kitchen (order the Soppressata pizza with honey) is minutes away by foot, as is Rosie’s Cafe, alongside a few charming mom-and-pop boutiques.A stroll through The Roundtree's grounds.Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
A stay at The Roundtree means you’ll get to know your neighbors, since there’s so few of you. Perhaps you’re just drinking rose, or, since The Roundtree allows pets, your dog will inevitably run up to greet another on its rolling green grounds. Then you’ll start chatting (six feet apart, of course), and soon enough, you’re waving to them at breakfast or giving them a nod as you both dive into yet another Zoom call. Everything is so laid back, so friendly, that it adds to the atmosphere. As part of my due diligence, one night I asked several guests what they thought of the property. “It’s my favorite place I’ve ever stayed out here,” one said, summing up the general consensus.