It may be pricey, but this intimate hideaway is a long-standing favorite. Foremost is its proximity to the beach, even if that means navigating the well-tended lawns and pathways that crisscross the vast oceanfront property. The main hotel building, which is no longer used for guest accommodations, is starting to look its age and stands solemnly at the top of the hill. Luckily the dozen or so cottages that house rooms and suites are the complete opposite: cozy and delightful.
YOU SHOULD KNOW This hotel is situated on a hill and getting from place to place requires a fair bit of walking. There is a shuttle service, but the wait can be inconvenient.
The 50 acres of lush grounds are dotted with accommodations of every type, from intimate garden-view rooms to luxurious private cottages. Decor varies widely but all are beautifully appointed, with comfortable bedding and vaulted ceilings.
When choosing a room, consider what's more important to you: proximity to the main hotel building and the pool, spa, and fitness center, or proximity to the beach.
Spacious and built for relaxation. Bathrooms feature large vanities, separate bathtubs, and walk-in showers.
Old nautical maps and potted palms blend with an island-inspired palette of blue and yellow furniture and carpeting. While the sophisticated lobby is more for show, the nearby library and recreation lounge--complete with a pool table and TV--is a comfortable place to hang out.
The rather oddly shaped, oversized pool has a deep end for swimming and a shallow wading area that's great for kids. Plenty of lawn chairs and matching umbrellas provide privacy and shade while out on the sundeck. The best part is that the area is often uncrowded, with many guests choosing to spend their time down at the pristine white sand beach instead.
The spa is truly one-of-a-kind, created as a private sanctuary for the ultimate in pampering. After your treatment, relax in an enormous granite soaking tub then retire to your private balcony to admire panoramic ocean views.
The gym is a tad sparse, but at least there's clean towels, water, and healthy snacks. If you fancy a run--and want to get out of the heat!--the view from the treadmills is pretty inspiring.
They aren't cheap, but the resort's four restaurants have something for everyone. Try a decadent soufflé at Café Lido or experience alfresco dining at its finest at Mickey's Bistro, right on the beach.
The easiest way to get around is to drive yourself; rent a one- or two-seater moped from Elbow Beach Cycles, conveniently located right on the property. Otherwise, there are bus stops at the entrance to the hotel and usually plenty of taxis in the area.
Offering the freshest local catch with an outstanding bird's eye view of Fairmont Southampton's private pink sand beach, The Ocean Club (14-minute drive) is a seafood lover's dream. Try the Bermuda-style rock fish with bananas and roasted almonds. Another favorite for casual alfresco dining is Rustico (14-minute drive), located in Flatts Village. The Italian restaurant is a bit out of the way, but their thin-crust pizza makes it well worth the trip.
Crafted with fresh fruit juices, homemade liqueurs, and locally sourced ingredients, the libations at Devil's Isle (9-minute) are as flavorful as they are irresistible. The friendly café can get quite lively as young professions flock to the bar after work for tapas and wine. Also popular for happy hour is Red Steakhouse & Bar (9-minute drive). Share canapés and cocktails in the comfort of Front Street's largest and chicest outdoor patio.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Ranked among the top luxury hotels worldwide, this property boasts an ideal beachfront location and unique cottage-style accommodations. Private terraces, sweeping ocean views, gourmet restaurants, and a private pink sand beach--it's no wonder the price tag is borderline extravagant. Nevertheless, if you can swing it, sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for the ultimate island experience.