Shou Sugi Ban House: A Japanese-Inspired Wellness Retreat Brings Zen to the Hamptons
July 9, 2019 by Hidden Doorways
By: Allison Reiber DiLiegro
It’s easy to forget, with all the pop-ups and parties, that we started coming to the Hamptons to surround ourselves with nature. Shou Sugi Ban House, the newly-opened, Japanese-inspired destination spa, not only surrounds us with nature – it uses nature’s power to restore us.
Shou Sugi Ban House is the creation of Amy Cherry-Abitbol, a longtime Hamptons resident who spent years living in Japan. There, she came to appreciate the healing powers of nature and the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, or beauty in imperfection and transience. In this philosophy, beauty comes from simplicity and authenticity, as things are found in nature.
Natural beauty abounds at Shou Sugi Ban House. The property is set on three acres of land in Water Mill, alongside the Parrish Art Museum. The grounds were meant to be explored, with pathways that wind past reflective pools, Japanese gardens, a Buddha sculpture, a swimming pool and fountains. This sense of serenity extends to the 13 rooms, designed to nurture guests along their personal wellness journey. Guest Studios are minimalist, clean and clutter-free, with neutral colors, sleek woods, fireplaces, indoor and outdoor showers and soaking tubs.
Wellness journeys at Shou Sugi Ban House are holistic and highly personalized, blending physical, mental and spiritual elements. There are multi-day wellness retreats (with a two-night minimum), where days are spent with a morning tea ceremony, a beach walk, Yoga, lunch in the Main Barn, Yoga, a soak, wrap and body massage in the spa, dinner and meditation before bed. Locals are welcome for half-day and full-day Spa Rituals, which include a treatment and a hydrotherapy or thermal program.
Surely, it would be hard to leave after half a day. The hydrotherapy suite has plunge pools, a Watsu pool and a flotation tub. The thermal suite comes with an integrated infrared sauna, dry sauna, steam room, ice fountain and experience shower. There are indoor and outdoor relaxation lounges, a solarium deck and an aromatherapy blending bar. Movement classes, like Pilates, Yoga, breathwork and Tai Chi, are offered in an open-air pavilion.
Then there’s the cuisine. Designed in collaboration with Noma co-founder, Chef Mads Refslund, the menu alone is worth a trip. Meals are plant-focused and nutrient-dense, but never meant to be restrictive. Ingredients come from local organic suppliers and the property’s own gardens. Guests dine in the Main Barn, a beautiful light-filled space where conversation flows like wine at the communal dining table.
There’s no wine served at dinner, but conversation keeps going around the fire pit until guests trickle out to the meditation hall. The sound of singing bowls and the flick of the fire – so beautiful in their transience – are intoxicating enough.
Shou Sugi Ban House
337 Montauk Highway
Water Mill, NY 11976
Telephone: (631) 500-9049 ext 1