Art, architecture, design, and refinement. Hamptons is already known for carrying all these concepts, but in the last decade, the region has had an eclectic and peculiar new place: The Maidstone Hotel.
A Piece of Sweden in the Hamptons
After ten years of success, The Maidstone Hotel, the Hamptons’ most exclusive boutique hotel, has become synonymous with an unaffected refinement. When we think of Swedish design, a certain image comes to mind: neutral tones, standardized furniture, and absolutely zero mixings of colors. The Maidstone Hotel exists to show that Sweden has much more to offer from a decorative standpoint than we may have previously imagined.
Jenny Ljungberg and Jonathan Baker have handpicked all of the furnishings and colors featured in the hotel. The eclectic locale is equal parts quirky and extravagant and contains 19 individually designed rooms, with three independent cottages, all serving as a backdrop for innumerable events and a parade of high style.
Known in Hollywood for his cinematic productions, Baker is what one might call a multi-tasker. From his work in film to the development of a line of aromatherapy products, wherever the entrepreneur goes, success follows in his wake. The demand for a hotel began in 2008 when the couple began looking at spaces to open a business in New York. Their search would lead them to find a property for sale that would eventually become the Maidstone.
Constructed more than 150 years ago, the houses are on top of foundations that date back to the 17th century. In the 1920s, the space functioned as an inn called The Maidstone Arms, closed years ago. After purchasing the hotel, Baker and Ljungberg turned the space into a coveted destination in East Hampton. Searching for discrete refinement, celebrities like Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, James Franco, and Will Smith, set up dinners on the property.
When the Maidstone was built, the principal objective was to make a hotel that had the feel of a home – literally, since the couple spends so much of their time on the property, dividing their time between houses in New York and Los Angeles. Known as the Maidstone House, their lodgings are connected to the hotel and the individual cottages.
Another location, called The Residence, was created as a space for yoga retreats, conferences, and poker nights. Baker’s idea was to transplant the glamor of Hollywood to the Hamptons. Judging from the numerous celebrities who regularly visit, one can safely say that he has succeeded.
The Swede Carl Waldekranz, the founder of the e-commerce platform Tictail, is a frequent guest of the Maidstone. Waldekranz proposed putting products from all over the world on the property (valued at $22 million USD), with a majority of the goods coming from Sweden.
The first time he visited the hotel, this businessman with roots in New York noted that he and Baker had more in common than he’d imagined. From this visit sprang the desire to create a store with all the Swiss products that are featured in the hotel. Now, just outside the entrance to The Maidstone, you can purchase curated Tictail products such as backpacks, raincoats, sandals and eco-friendly lotions.
A preoccupation with nature is one of the hotel’s founding premises. Electric car chargers, recycling, and towel changes only when necessary are some of the steps the hotel has taken to go green. Over the last decade, the owners have developed employee training that stresses ecological conservation. Plastic bottles have given way to glass bottles, and a system of water filtration was instituted in addition to replacing common cleaning products for organic ones.
To avoid food-waste, the hotel restaurant only serves slow food portions. Led by head chef Ron Phillip, the restaurant has two menus: one for seafood, and one more traditional menu that serves barbecue and other snacks. In addition to the organic food, all of the food and drink is bought from local providers. Like all good appreciators of the arts, the Baker couple spares no effort in finding artworks that connect with the local spirit. On the walls of the hotel, works are exhibited for a period of up to six months, at which point they are swapped out for other pieces.
The hotel most frequently exhibits lesser-known European artists, but it has an impressive permanent collection that features works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. To lend the space a personal touch, collections from the couple themselves are scattered throughout the premises.
The Maidstone’s list of amenities is extensive and includes the Jonathan Baker 1962 line, created by the entrepreneur himself. This line of organic oils comprises the hotel’s signature scent. Each oil has 11 different components like lavender, rose, lemongrass, and more, and sell for $100. If you want to try one out before you take it home, you can request some samples.
The opportunity to hire a beach guide is another highlight of the Maidstone experience. The service includes a champagne picnic on the beach and the installation of chairs and a parasol. The children can enjoy eight types of games, including ping pong, cornhole, and a massive Jenga set. From infants to adults, no one will want to miss out on this paradise in East Hampton.
Photos: Courtesy The Maidstone Hotel