It seems every Hamptons local has a story about the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays. Whether it’s a memory of a relative who got married there way back when or a wild night partying at the “CPI” in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early aughts, the hotel has been ever-present on the East End.
With its CPI days in the distant rear-view, Canoe Place Inn & Cottages reopened this past summer, restored to a majestic beauty. At once luxe and inviting, high-end but accessible, the new and much-improved Canoe Place Inn stands tall and proud, ready to be explored any time of year.
“We love the property itself,” says co-owner Mitchell Rechler, who purchased it 18 years ago. Initially, he’d planned to knock the aging building down, but the property, which was rebuilt in 1920 after a fire, was beloved by the community. Instead, Rechler Equity Partners, the family-owned commercial real estate company, decided to renovate and renew it. “The history is both literally and figuratively the foundation of what the Canoe Place Inn is all about,” he says. “That being said, we wanted to contemporize it to a degree that honors all the different eras that it’s lived through.”
Rechler Equity worked with Main Street Hospitality and Brooklyn-based design firm Workstead to retain the charm of the old Canoe Place Inn while making a modern, luxury hospitality experience for guests.
“It’s very much how things change and how things stay the same,” says Sarah Eustis of Main Street Hospitality. “It’s a delicate balance. From the very beginning, we realized this was more than a hotel. It was more than a restaurant. It’s a gathering place that has so many memories embedded in the ground and in the building and in the aura around it that it needed to be treated with a lot of delicacy and sophistication in how we launched it.”
The Canoe Place Inn & Cottages comprises 20 rooms and five multi-room cottages.
“The concept for this place is ‘Garden by the Sea,’” says General Manager Mario Arakelian, pointing to the white and green motif throughout the property. Here’s our southforker tour of the new digs.
The main entrance to the hotel faces Montauk Highway and immediately pays homage to the building’s history, with the low, white ceiling kept from the 1920s building. A few feet in, the hotel gives way to a bright, wide-open space with high ceilings and the walls covered by an ever-changing selection of modern art curated by Echler. There are nods to the original Canoe Place Inn in the front desk as well, which uses wood from the original building.
One of the highlights of the first floor, the library room features a piece of Canoe Place history.
“This is where the old inn used to welcome guests,” says Arakelian. “The fireplace is from the original building. When the inn burnt down in 1920, this and another fireplace were the only surviving pieces. Albert Einstein sat in this room,” notes Arakelian.
Also on display are old photos, visually drawing out the hotel’s history.
The outdoor lounge
A stunning outdoor patio with a full bar and heated pool serves as an extension to the restaurant, Good Ground Tavern. In the cooler months, fire pits are set up on Fridays for s’mores, hot chocolate and more adult-centric beverages. For summer 2023, the hotel plans to have cabanas set up.
The full-service spa is the first hotel spa run by Naomi Watts’s Onda Beauty, offering massages, beauty treatments and products by Costa Brazil, which are also found in the hotel rooms. Canoe Place Inn is Onda’s first hospitality partnership.
The spa suite
Also known as the Bridal Suite, the first-floor suite is close to the Onda spa and has a door leading outside to the great lawn, an excellent spot for weddings and other large parties.
The second-floor rooms
Rooms on the second floor are ideal for families, with ample space and terrace views. Minibars have local East End items, like snacks from North Fork Potato Chips and spirits from Matchbook Distilling.
The third-floor rooms
The beautiful, gabled third floor rooms are open-concept. “We see a lot more of these rooms getting booked [in the off-season],” says Arakelian.
The events space
The ballroom, with generous natural lighting, is ideal for weddings, corporate events and other large gatherings.
The cottages range from 1-4 bedrooms. “Whenever one of these is rented to a guest, we perform a [special] check-in,” says Arakelian. “We meet the guests at the cottage and are in touch with them through a messaging system. It removes the hustle of stopping at the front desk.”
The cottages have kitchenettes, convection ovens and a refrigerator. The hotel curates a small shopping list for guests, which is stocked upon arrival.
The Good Ground Tavern
The restaurant at Canoe Place Inn is open to the public, and has been curated by food and beverage partner, Silver Street Hospitality, to be at once sophisticated and welcoming. Dishes are Mediterranean-influenced thanks to the chef, Ülfet Ralph, with a focus on local ingredients. The wines on offer veer toward French, Italian and Spanish selections, available by both the bottle and the glass.
“It’s casual elegance,” said Meaghan Levy, head of food and beverage. “It’s honest, straightforward food. You can have a really wonderful dining experience that’s not pretentious.”
Events at Canoe Place Inn & Cottages
Front Row at Canoe Place is a Thursday night event series featuring lecturers and special events, like a recent discussion by music historian Alan Light about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”