I can never think of the Southampton Inn
without remembering Palm Beach philanthropist Gail Worth's yearly call: "I've taken a room for the summer at the Southampton Inn
: Come meet me by the pool!" More than an invitation to swim, it was an opportunity to see, be seen and be served. We would prop ourselves on a lounge, order a cocktail, and punctuate our chat with dips in the pool. No wonder Joe Biden
, Nancy Pelosi
, Damien Lewis, Aretha Franklin
, Pink Floyd, Flavor Flav, Rudy and Judy Giuliani are among the long list of luminaries who have parked their personas there at one point or another.
We were thinking of all that, as we walked into the Southampton Inn's Memorial Weekend picnic, organized by Norah Lawlor. Despite their bold faced clientele, high powered glitz is not owner Dede Gotthelf Moan
's creed. The Inn is about discretion, accessibility and low key Hamptons living. "It's our 20th year," Dede told us. "And it's still an unpretentious, immaculately clean, lovely, gardened country inn in a beautiful location in the downtown of Southampton Village
, which has 376 years of wonderful history. The rooms are always renovated every winter as was the library last year."
The onsite restaurant this year is Claude's, sourced from local Peconic farms including the Milk Pail
and Quail Hill - and even more locally - from the Southampton Inn's own garden.
"They serve an array of salads, starters, sizzles and sweets from an amazing chef from Brent Newsom
Caterers, which has been catering our weddings and other events for years" said Dede. "Claude's is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, to the public. We serve breakfast in the garden and the courtyard as well, and lunch on the pool from 12 to 7 p.m. There's always plenty of parking. Nothing on the menu is over $20 and I think that's really important."
Dede likes the calamari in cornmeal, the smoked salmon pinwheel starter and the egg, tuna and chicken salad trio. "It's the country. It's the beach," she added. "It's beautiful light and wonderful flowers, gardens and recreational activities. It doesn't have to be so incredibly expensive."
Across the street, Dede has rented out 10,000 square feet to health and wellness facilities. So, with access to pilates, zumba, yoga, cold sculpting, massage and a hair salon steps away, guests can turn their vacation into a luxurious spa experience.
The Southampton Inn provides buses to the beach, towels and chairs once you get there; and concierge services that include getting tickets to charity events and other activities that tourists aren't necessarily privy to. "We're trying to bring the world into our Southampton community," Dede said, "to enjoy all the things I grew up with when I had my summers here."
Southampton Inn is located at 91 Hill Street in Southampton. For more information, visit www.southamptoninn.com.