Set on the eastern tip of Long Island, Gurney's is a Montauk institution, and the closest thing America has to a thalassotherapy spa. Gurney's is known for its spectacular views of the ocean, gorgeous 2,000-foot-long private sand beach, and famous neighbors such as Robert DeNiro and Ralph Lauren.
Gurney's public spaces and rooms have been updated in contemporary beach style, and all of its rooms, suites, and cottages have ocean views and private decks for sunning yourself. (Warning: Keep your clothes on if you're on the ground floor—there's a sidewalk!)
It's hard to make a bad choice at Gurney's. All 146 rooms at the property have ocean views, and even the lowest-tier standard rooms come with partial-view terraces, stocked mini-bars, and walk-in rain showers. For a serious upgrade, book one of the five beachfront cottages, all with direct ocean views, full kitchens, fireplaces, and plenty of privacy.
Water Sports and Activities
No judgment here if you spend an entire vacation lounging on an oceanfront, king-sized daybed at the 2,000-foot-long private sand beach. On a hot summer day, it's basically heaven. But if you're looking for something a touch more active, Gurney's offers a number of water sports and activities, including:
- Water Sport Rentals: Paddleboards, beater boards, boogie boards, and surfboards are all available for rent on-site, seasonally, thanks to a collaboration with Paddle Diva Water Sports.
- Surf Lessons: Sign up for semi-private surf lessons daily, run by CoreysWave (rates start at $100/hour in 2019). If you're in town on a Friday, join for a surf yoga session (10 a.m. to 11 a.m., through Labor Day).
- Seawater Pool: The 18-meter indoor pool is open year-round for lap swimming, lounging, or splashing around on a rainy day.
- Personal Training: Keep your fitness routine on track with on-site personal training sessions ($175/hour, available year-round).
- Fitness classes: Sign up for fitness classes year-round (complimentary for guests), or take advantage of the 24/7 gym.
Gurney's is a full-service resort, so you could happily spend an entire trip dining exclusively on property. You have a choice of several venues, open year-round.
- Tillie's: Snack on salads, sandwiches, and wraps at Tillie's, open for breakfast, lunch. and dinner (table service).
- Scarpetta Beach: The seaside outpost of this beloved Manhattan restaurant refocuses its menu on seafood, without abandoning its Italian roots. Think fresh crudi, grilled branzino, lump crab meat tagliatelle, and of course Scarpetta's famous spaghetti, perfect in its simplicity (tomato, basil, and house-made spaghetti noodles).
- Corso Coffee: Stock up on coffee, tea, pastries, and with a locally-focused selection of to-go items.
- The Fire Pit: Spend breezy beach nights at The Fire Pit, an outdoor bar with live music seasonally (and, of course, with fire pits). Note that seating is bottle service, reservation-only on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer.
- The Beach Club: Odds are you'll spend most of the day here, alternating between sandwiches, snacks, and cocktails, available for both sit-down and beachside service.
Thalassotherapy is the therapeutic use of seawater and marine products like algae, seaweed, and marine mud to promote health and wellness. It's most popular in France and Spain. The U.S. has just as much coastline, but the development of true thalassotherapy has been inhibited by a lack of tradition and regulations that require the addition of chlorine to swimming pools—even seawater pools where the water is changed daily.
Gurney's indoor seawater pool is the only one of its kind in America, filled with local ocean water that has been sand-filtered and warmed to a pleasant temperature. Floor-to-ceiling windows afford expansive ocean views, and in the summer, glass doors open onto an outdoor lounge deck. Alas for purists, they do have to add chlorine to comply with state laws, but add as little as possible.
Additional Spa Services
The thalassotherapy theme continues in the spa, which was built in 1978 and is dated but has some pluses. Where most spas just add powdered algae or minerals to their tap water, Gurney's can use real seawater in a modern hydrotherapy tub.
Detoxifying seaweed wraps are done with very pure, marine-based products from Spa Technologies, which harvests seaweed in Britanny, France. There are no parabens, artificial fragrances, or dyes in their products.
Gurney's 90-minute signature Marine Kur includes a seawater bath, exfoliation with seaweed toning gel followed by a Swiss shower, seaweed wrap and head massage followed by another Swiss shower, and an application of seaweed body lotion. It's done by "body therapists" who have many years of experience but aren't licensed for massage.
For Swedish, deep tissue massage, or hot stone massage, ask for Gene Hamilton. He's a massage veteran who has a passion for his work and extremely skilled hands. You can get a massage on the beach. Inhaling the fresh ocean air actually has thalassotherapy benefits.
Its Finnish-style rock sauna delivers dry heat, letting you enjoy high temperatures and deep physical benefits. As you loosen up, you can splash aromatherapy water on the heated rocks to raise the humidity temporarily and deliver moisture to the skin. Health perks of saunas include pain relief, improved circulation, and lower blood pressure.
Moist heat (120 degrees, 100 percent humidity) has been used for centuries to release impurities through perspiration. The heat and humidity of the eucalyptus-infused steam room open pores, and peripheral capillaries and lubricates the upper respiratory tract. After taking a steam, invigorate your body with an aquatic massage in the Swiss shower.
Its fitness center is open 24 hours a day for resort guests and members. It is outfitted with treadmills, circuit equipment, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and an array of weight-training equipment. Classes are complimentary for hotel guests, subject to availability. Personal training sessions are also offered.
Most people come to Gurney's resort spa from New York City to spend their time basking on the beach. But take some time to explore Montauk. It has lots of state parks with hiking trails, the famous Montauk Lighthouse, a charming downtown, and even horseback riding on the first cattle ranch in America.