Shou Sugi Ban House
Wellness-focused, intimate, restorative
337 Montauk Highway Water Mill 631-500-9049 www.shousugibanhouse.com
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At a Glance
The 13-room Shou Sugi Ban House is a Japanese-inspired destination spa in the Hamptons that offers packaged wellness retreats and is perfect for travelers looking to rest, reset and take a holistic approach to their health. The beautiful property will appeal to design lovers, too.
- The healthy, primarily plant-based cuisine from chef Mads Refslund, the co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen
- The proximity to NYC (without traffic, it’s an easy, two-hour drive)
- That the property offers multi-day retreats, but also half- and full-day spa programs for guests who just want to use the wellness facilities
Shou Sugi Ban House Review
A far cry from the sceney, rosé-filled resorts of Montauk, and a departure, still, from the cozy hotels of the rest of the Hamptons, Water Mill’s Shou Sugi Ban House is a retreat unlike any other. The 13-room wellness property, which is set on three acres right off of Montauk Highway, feels a world away from the crowds of the Hamptons: the zen retreat was inspired by Japan, where one of the owners lived, and it has much more in common with the country’s peaceful ryokans than a glitzy beach hotel.
Located next door to the acclaimed Parrish Art Museum, Shou Sugi Ban House will also appeal to art and design lovers with its meticulously planned grounds and interior design. The property itself has Japanese gardens, winding rock pathways and an eight-ton buddha sculpture from Bali, and the facilities and rooms feature a neutral color scheme and minimalist aesthetic. The rooms are centered around a small pool, and have floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek furnishings, gas fireplaces, indoor and outdoor showers and either a hinoki ofuro (Japanese soaking tubs) or regular bathtub. The bathrooms are stocked with products from Kyoto’s popular organic brand, Kotoshina, as well as dry brushes, which increase blood circulation and promote lymph drainage.
Shou Sugi Ban House offers multi-day retreats and half- or full-day spa access for locals wishing to use the facilities, and a visit here, for any length of time, is all about resetting—mentally, physically and emotionally. The daily schedule for a retreat is flexible, but might include a morning tea ceremony and meditation, a barre or HIIT class at the fitness pavilion, a massage and facial at the spa, afternoon yoga and a sound bath ceremony in the evening. Plus, you get to savor incredible meals, thanks to a culinary program that was designed by two-Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund, the co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen. The day begins with a delectable breakfast buffet (complete with miso soup, homemade ricotta, avocados, seed bread and oatmeal), and lunch and dinner change depending on what’s fresh. Enjoyed at a communal table next to the open kitchen, meals are primarily plant-based and incorporate produce from the on-property gardens. There is no alcohol on property, but guests can indulge in a small dessert after dinner.
In addition to the main building—a beautiful, soaring space where meals take place and there is a lounge area—Shou Sugi Ban House has a workout facility where classes are offered daily and a five–treatment room spa with an infrared sauna and hydrotherapy pools. Treatments here include anti-aging facials using Biologique Recherche products, chakra-balancing reiki sessions, massages and more. What really sets Shou Sugi Ban House apart, however, are the more holistic health experiences, like a post-dinner sound bath ritual, meditative guided beach walk, holotropic breathwork class and the grounding tea ceremonies, which happen every morning. It’s during these introspective moments that guests can focus on whatever brought them to Shou Sugi Ban House in the first place—and hone the skills and techniques needed to bring a piece of their newfound zen home.
Who Should Stay
Shou Sugi Ban House is great for solo travelers or couples looking to spend a few days focused on their health—including fitness and yoga classes, meditation, spa treatments and mostly plant-based meals—in a stunning setting.
- Emma Pierce