The East Hampton Art House Bed & Breakfast Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This elegant B&B in East Hampton is exactly what its name suggests: a house full of art. It was designed and decorated by the owners, Michael and Rosalind, who combine mutual talents in art and hospitality. There are only four rooms for rent, but there are all the amenities of a larger property, including endless communal spaces, an outdoor pool, and fitness center. Although big in scope, the Art House retains all of the personalized charm of staying with friends. Its intimacy, its location within walking distance of a private beach, and its handsome rooms (complete with extras such as fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs), make this our top pick for romance in the Hamptons.
Panoramic View Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This sprawling resort tucked away on scenic Old Montauk Highway takes the word "panoramic" seriously: Every room comes with a direct ocean view and private patio or balcony. The 10-acre site is situated on a hillside and includes pretty walkways, an outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and -- most significantly -- access to 1,000 feet of private beach. Rooms are large, bright, and lovely (think: wood beams, fireplaces, white wood walls), and amenities are plentiful -- but you'll need a car to get to restaurants and nightlife. Though more stylish rooms can be found elsewhere (bathrooms and kitchens here could use some updating), Panoramic View gets the edge for romance due to its beachfront location.
The Mill House Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This historic home turned bed and breakfast in East Hampton is meticulously maintained and decorated. Although it's just a short walk from the village center, it remains a hidden gem that stays open year-round. The owners, Gary and Sylvia, have included their personal touches in the 10 rooms and suites, right down to the stuffed Gordon Setters on each bed and photography on the walls. The location is not directly on the beach and rooms come at a high price, but the top-notch breakfast and easy walk to restaurants and shops make it a stand-out option.
C/O The Maidstone Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This historic yet chic property in the center of East Hampton appeals to the stylish Hamptonite crowd with 16 rooms and suites, plus three cottages decorated in Scandinavian design. Owned by a Swedish entrepreneur with 20 hotels around the world, this one is just steps from the village and a bike ride to the beach (with free beach cruiser loaners available). The pretty front porch, trendy restaurant, and distinct amenities (such as doggie menus and yoga classes in the Buddha garden) make this a popular choice for well-heeled couples.
Sole East Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This American Tudor-style hotel in Montauk is a summer hot spot that maintains an essence of “cool” without pretension. The 61 rooms and suites have a surf-chic vibe and appeal to the Manhattan set with amenities such as high-quality linens and Aveda products. Though not directly on the beach, expansive grounds include lawn games, daybeds, hammocks and an organic restaurant and bar. The outdoor pool -- with live music on weekends -- is popular; the party scene may be a downside for couples in search of romance, but the stylish rooms and location close to the beach (a three-minute bike ride away) help compensate.
Ocean Dunes Resort & Residences Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This condo beach property isn't in the same category of luxury as the other picks on this list, but its private Amagansett beachfront makes it a worthy mid-range romantic pick. This two-story, motel-style building has 32 units available to the public only six months out of the year, and is surrounded by flower boxes and green lawn. Property high points include the outdoor pool, private beach access, and location within walking distance of the hamlet of Amagansett. All units come with a kitchen, though they range in modernity and decor (with some pushing the dated-and-dowdy limits, and others crossing the line of colorful contemporary).