Topping Rose House Inn is just finishing its first season in the Hamptons. We checked in to check it out.
BRIDGEHAMPTON, New York – I've spent the majority of the past 12 summers in the Hamptons, specifically in Bridgehampton. Which you might think would make me an authority on the area, given how my job is to, you know, travel and explore the world. But the truth is I rarely leave the Bridgehampton village of Sagaponack, a hamlet filled with equal parts mega mansions and potato fields. (The place I stay falls somewhere in between the two.) In all those years, I've eaten at restaurants a grand total of 20 times. What can I say? I tend to limit my movements between the backyard and the beach.
But a new hotel and restaurant is just finishing its first summer season in Bridgehampton, one worth paying attention to for so many reasons. Topping Rose House is located on a busy corner of Main Street, in the 1842 Greek revival mansion originally owned by local judge Abraham Topping Rose. You'll see photos of him just outside reception. He was a stern-looking dude, but it's sweet that he remains a presence in his home, which has withstood its share of architectural trials in the past 160 years (see: those old photos) and is now thriving again after a thoughtful restoration and modernization by Roger Ferris and Partners.
The inn is celebrated chef Tom Colicchio's first foray as a hotelier, and food is a major part of the experience here. Major. A one-acre on-site farm provides much of the produce served in the dining room. (You're welcome to go have a look around.) It's a local joke that the Hamptons isn't known for its restaurants, but Topping Rose House is a meal worth driving from New York City to eat, from starter radishes with butter through brioche doughnuts so good they made this doughnut-hater ask for seconds. Tom isn't here every night (though I bumped into him when I was checking in), but chef de cuisine Ty Kotz is doing incredible work with local ingredients. Don't skip the pasta course: My husband declared the lasagna with ricotta and Long Island mushrooms the best he'd ever eaten, and he spends a lot of time in Italy. If you're lucky, sommelier Jessica Koenig will take care of you. A former Del Posto chef who traded knives for bottle openers, she's charming, welcoming, and has a knack for suggesting the perfect bottle.
There are 22 rooms: seven in the main house and fourteen in the new cottage buildings. I stayed in the main house, which feels more traditional and charming. (There's something about a window seat...) Cottage rooms are more modern and private, with garden or rooftop access. Rooms are stocked with local snacks like North Fork potato chips and Mast Brothers chocolate, many of them free of charge. Nothing good in the Hamtons comes cheap: Rate start at $950/night ($600/night starting in November), and there's a two-night minimum on weekends. The inn has a spa and a gym, but they're underground, so I didn't want to spend much time there. The outdoor pool is located between the buildings alongside the restored barn and event space, but the ocean is a mile away and I'd rather swim there.
The entire property is filled with incredible artwork curated by Christine Wächter from Winston Wächter Fine Art — pieces by Eric Fischl, David Salle, Vik Muniz, and Rena Bass Forman, among others. I was taken by a series of whimsical food prints by Christopher Boffoli that showed miniature people exploring fortune cookies, figs, and watermelons. You can see a sampling online.
Hotels usually take a while to work out their kinks. Not this place. General manager Pradeep Raman, who is truly lovely, has worked at the Wynn in Las Vegas, the Avalon in Beverly Hills, and Peninsula Hong Kong. He's brought that legacy of style and service with him, and Topping Rose House is already a very tight operation. I can't wait to come back.