The Hamptons are a thing you know, a New York craze. Putting together the perfect Hamptons itinerary is demanding — the near equivalent of shopping for the perfect little black dress or learning French. Just as I was beginning to get the hang of the New York nightlife scene, the Hamptons have opened their summery doors to reveal a standard of living that isn’t all rest and relaxation.
Life in the Hamptons is punctuated by days filled with serious power brunching, barbecues, and shopping, with nights overtaken by vital party- hopping. With the exclusive social networking site Hamptons Undercover launching on Tuesday, July 22, via a sunset soirée at Highbar and hosted by the ultimate Hamptonite, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, I thought it best to do some undercover work myself. Here, we badger three distinct Hampton insiders, social reveler Susan Shin, Hampton enthusiast Tatiana Platt, and neophyte Rachelle Hruska for their essential guide to the Hamptons.
Our distinguished panel:
Susan Shin, The Marketing Guru: Shin is the founder of Shin Advisors, a consultancy that specializes in luxury lifestyle branding. She throws the best parties and she really, really likes Tanqueray.
Tatiana Platt, The Guru: An internet entrepreneur and overall Hamptons hostess, Platt is the founder of the wildly popular Fame Game. She has endless charisma.
Rachelle Hruska, The Novice: Hruska is the founder and editor-in-chief of Guest of a Guest. She hails from small-town Nebraska, but has been quick to uncover all that is clandestine in New York and the Hamptons.
The best thing about the Hamptons?
Susan Shin: The beach and the relaxed lifestyle. Tatiana Platt: The beaches! Rachelle Hruska: The ocean and seafood — two things I didn’t have growing up in Nebraska that I will never ever tire of.
Favorite place to have brunch?
Shin: Babette’s. Everything is healthy but doesn’t taste like it! I love the Cobb salad which includes a blue potato corn salad that you can’t get anywhere else, as well as crispy turkey bacon. Platt: Babette’s in East Hampton. Hruska: At the house I’m at with friends, or Hamptons Coffee for Convenience. I actually prefer not to spend that much time on eating during the days (if it’s nice weather), unlike in the city where I would do three- to four-hour brunches on the weekend. I want to get outdoors, bike rides, get sandy.
Favorite late-night spot/club?
Shin: Nello Summertimes. Platt: Under the stars. Hruska: I heart the Surf Lodge and any private party with good stories being exchanged. I try and keep my nights low-key.
Shin: La Fondita in Amagansett, where you can sit by the pond on the grass drinking watermelon juice with fresh tacos. And Roberts; great food, no scene. Platt: Red Bar (best duck!). Nello Summertimes in Southampton. Hruska: Tutto il Giorno in Sag Harbor.
Best beach-style bar?
Shin: Sunset Beach of course! The best way to get there is by boat and then wade the rest of the way in. Platt: Sunset Beach. Hruska: Again I’d have to go with Surf Lodge. It’s a hike but its so worth it; they have always made me feel like I’m at home with my best friends (and I conveniently always end up running into friends there anyway).
Best way to head out east?
Shin: By helicopter would be best, or drive in Thursday and leave Monday at odd hours. Platt: With my husband (renowned architect Campion Platt) before traffic. Hruska: Well now obviously I would love to chopper it out here for a quick trip with exciting views. Unfortunately, I have to settle for the Jitney. Hands down the best option. The luxury liner makes you pay for tickets in advance, which I don’t like, and it doesn’t offer wireless. The Jitney does for free! I like taking the Jitney on Mondays back to city and Thursdays out. I don’t have much of a problem with traffic, and though I like driving, it’s good to reduce your carbon footprint (and cheaper anyway!)
Best under-$20 cheap thrill or amusement?
Shin: What’s under $20 these days? Platt: Candy Kitchen vanilla malt milkshakes for the family. Hruska: Paddle-boarding on the lake behind Surf Lodge. Ask for lessons from Zack.
Who throws the best parties?
Shin: ME? Platt: Robert Wilson. Hruska: Go to anywhere the Australians are going. They throw the best parties. At their house, at friend’s bars, really anywhere they are.
Where do you stay?
Shin: My house. Platt: My house in Watermill. Hruska: We have been staying at a friend’s beautiful house in Bridgehampton (right behind the polo fields). Though for a bit we will be true guests of guests, figuring it out as we go.
Favorite place to shop?
Shin: So many — Intermix, Scoop, Loaves and Fishes, Homenature. Platt: Mecox Gardens. Hruska: Blue and Cream, King Kullens, and Farmstands.
Best summer trend you’ll find poolside or at the beach?
Shin: Mixing iced tea with Navan is a poolside refresher, beaded Havianas, Mont Blanc silver rings (very St. Tropez meets the Hamptons). Platt: Surfer chic. Hruska: I will say that I hope it will be my new fishing-lure belts that Dan Honan helped me design for ACRIA (Aids community research initiative of America). We took some neon fly-fishing line and made a thick belt out of it, complete with the brightest lures we could find for a one of a kind fashion statement that got rave reviews. I want to make more of them using gold lures and try to start a new trend that my father (an avid fisherman) would die for.
What’s on your summer play list?
Shin: Ne-Yo. Platt: Carla Bruni. Hruska: I have become obsessed with Hilltop Hoods after hearing it on Claire Willet’s (editor of Guest of a Guest’s Hampton’s site) playlist.
Hamptons pet peeve?
Shin: Traffic and party crashers. Platt: Route 27. Hruska: People in Land Rovers, people that take themselves too seriously (happens every where but have seen a higher percentage out here). I really hate cars that don’t slow down for bikes; they scare me. Drunk drivers.
Who makes the best summer cocktail?
Shin: Tanqueray. No Ten’s Ten Lavender Orchid Martini. The Navan Chai Martini. (Yummy!). Platt: I don’t know? Hruska: The bartender at Turtle Crossing. He is one of the best bartenders I have met … very accommodating.
Best way to spend a summer afternoon?
Shin: Lazing on the beach, playing tennis and taking a cool shower before barbecuing. Platt: At the beach! Hruska: Bottle of rosé, sand in your toes, and a good read. I am currently reading Ava Gardner’s biography.
Photos courtesy of Patrick McMullan and Guest of a Guest.