Labyrinthine layout means reaching some rooms can be a hassle
Some rooms' ocean views marred by the parking lot
Despite renovations, some wear and tear shows through
Older property that can still experience minor maintenance issues
Many feel that the fine-dining restaurant is overpriced
Spa open to locals as well as guests (pro for some)
The 109-room, upscale Gurney's Montauk stands out among Hamptons hotels, quite literally: It's one of the largest resorts in the area, and it also has the best beachfront location. No other Montauk resort compares in terms of features, and no Hamptons resort can match its truly terrific, and massive, stretch of sand. The free spa facilities (including an indoor pool and Roman bath) are also a highlight. Ongoing renovations have made (most of) the rooms contemporary and attractive, and many have stunning ocean views from private verandas. The elegant fine-dining restaurant also has views of the water. Just note that there have been some minor growing pains as this older property -- once a time-share resort popular with local Long Islanders -- transitions to a Hamptons hot spot.
A big beachfront resort with lots of stairs and endless ocean views
Gurney's Montauk is a Hamptons mainstay: The structure dates all the way back to 1926, a fact attested to by its attractively weatherbeaten wood exterior. It was managed by the Monte family from the 1950s until 2013, and in the years prior to the sale, the resort was looking a bit long in the tooth and experiencing maintenance issues (it even appeared on an episode of Travel Channel's "Hotel Impossible.") The sale marked the beginning of a new phase for Gurney's: one that will change it from a local favorite to a sleek, pricey Hamptons hot spot. The transition hasn't been drama-free, and the resort's longtime time-share owners were strong-armed into surrendering their shares post-sale.
Still, most guests will agree that the changes have been for the better. Rooms have been renovated, and the much-needed upgrades are ongoing. But the resort's biggest draws -- the ones that have made Gurney's popular for so long -- are unchanged: namely, the absolutely fantastic stretch of beach, and the endless ocean views enjoyed from just about every point on the property. Some of the flaws have (so far) remained as well: The lack of elevators, and the property's labyrinthine layout, which means guests may have to climb multiple staircases and traverse multiple hallways or decks to reach some rooms. (It's also a trek from reception and the restaurant down to the beach or spa.)
Despite upgrades, this is an older building, and it still shows in places, such as the outdated drop ceiling tiles in some of the common spaces.
Gurney's is located off Old Montauk Highway, a two-lane road parallel to the ocean lined with luxurious beach houses. It’s a pleasant five-minute drive to the village of Montauk. A car is necessary to explore the area, and parking is free in the resort's lots.
Five-minute drive to Montauk’s shops and restaurants
Contemporary rooms, many with private verandas and terrific ocean views
All of the rooms at Gurney's have at least a partial ocean view. Some rooms overlook the parking lot and then the water, and views from lower floors are, understandably, not quite as sweeping. But in upper-floor units without obstructions, the views are truly excellent. Many units have private verandas or terraces. The downside to staying in the upper-level rooms, however, is the location; the hotel's layout means that heading back to the room from the beach for a snack or bathroom break is no small feat, and can involve climbing multiple flights of stairs and traversing multiple hallways. Those who want quick access to the sand should consider the beachfront cottages, though there are only a few so they book up quickly.
Decor in the regular (not Premium) units is contemporary if not quite stylish, with quality white linens, green and light wood furniture, and wall-to-wall carpets (not ideal for guests tracking in sand). Premium units are more upscale, with wood floors and newer furniture. Most units have wet bars and coffeemakers; Premium Oceanfront units have minibars, while the rest have mini-fridges or small kitchenettes. Some room types have sofa beds. Bathrooms are modern, with shower/tub combos and granite countertops (except for Premium units, which are sleeker and have walk-in showers). The toiletries are high-quality (they're also used in the spa).
A gorgeous beachfront, an indoor pool, a full-service spa, and several restaurants
The Gurney's most impressive feature is its beachfront, which is absolutely massive. It's not private, which means guests can wander for miles in either direction. But the resort does have its own loungers, as well as a beach bar with cocktails and comfort food. Outdoor showers are on hand for rinsing off sandy feet (recommended, as most of the rooms have carpeting). The waves can get rough, ideal for surfing and bodyboarding, but less ideal for young or less experienced swimmers. A lifeguard is on duty during the day and flags are used to indicate safety levels.
The full-service spa is also a highlight, and guests have free access to its facilities, which include a big indoor pool, steam rooms, Roman baths. There are dedicated sections for men and women (only the pool is coed). The spa is open to non-guests as well, so facilities can sometimes get crowded. It also means the check-in process for guests to use the facilities (which aren't free for non-guests) is a bit of a hassle.
The main restaurant, Seaward Grill, has ocean views and a seafood focus. (Those who like to fish can even bring their catch for the chef to prepare.) It's pricey but very popular, so reservations are recommended. In the mornings, a massive buffet spread is offered at the Ocean Cafe, and a la carte options are also available. Pastries and other to-go items are available at The Market, a counter near the lobby.
Pricey (and not particularly private) beach weddings
Gurney's is an incredibly popular wedding venue, as it is one of the only places in the Hamptons where couples can get married right on the sand. Just take note that other guests will be able to observe the ceremony from the public spaces and rooms. Customizable packages can include a cocktail hour, unlimited top-shelf liquor, a four-course dinner, and a wedding cake.
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