One of these days, some ambitious innkeeper or traveler—anyone—should write an anti-bed and breakfast manifesto. It’s time to decry the quaintness, kitsch, high stodge quotient, riotous paint jobs, and lack of privacy that has come to define such places. One notable exception is on the North Fork, where a group of novice hoteliers—seven young people in their twenties and thirties—have changed the style rules. Last January, they opened Lin Beach House in a mock-Victorian mansion at the eastern edge of Greenport.
The freshly-minted hipster bolt-hole is a brilliant example of a trend you might denominate ‘Brooklyn country living.’ Which is to say that the 18,000 square-foot structure with its fourteen bathrooms and fourteen foot high ceilings isn’t just grand but whimsically grand. There’s an elaborate crystal chandelier and a curving wooden staircase and—is that a tray with wine glasses on top of a throw pillow in the center of the marble floor? It is, and for whatever the reason, the visual enigma works. The rest of the décor is an inspired mix of vintage and Balinese boho with nods to Seventies modern from the giltwood mirrors to the brass cocktail carts in the guest rooms.
Project director Paul Monahan, a food and beverage ideas man whose vitae includes a stint at Morgans Hotel Group, sums up what he calls the hotel’s “beachy ethos”: “It’s an escape from the real world,” he says. You won’t ever see a television set here.” Another welcome reform: The team has done away with the surveillance element that is built into the B and B experience in favor of so-called “invisible service.” There’s no reception desk, no hovering gatekeeper. Arriving guests are shown to one of five second-floor suites, given the key code, and left blissfully alone. The guest rooms have big south and west-facing windows, respectively, and fourteen foot high ceilings, and most have their own balconies and fluffy sheepskin throws. In the bathrooms are antique claw foot tubs and fancy amenities.
But the heart of the place is communal, and at night, the downstairs bar is where everyone wants to be. One recent winter evening, Monahan loaned out the kitchen to a chef-friend who was preparing what he called Elk Wellington. Each of the upholstered sitting alcoves in the cozy bar room were aglow with big candles in outsize glass jars. As part of the property’s business model, there’s no permanent kitchen staff: Monahan invites visiting chefs and bartenders to use the space as a test laboratory where they can try out something new. (Get ready for pop-ups.) The drinks menu—for now, there is no food—changes every day, depending on the inclination of whoever is behind the bar. Also in the pipeline is a cold-press coffee bar that will serve as a gathering place for guests and people in the community. In this way, the team plans to make the Beach House into a creative nexus, a hub for artists, writers, designers and other makers.
“We like to think we’re changing the conservative vibe of a B and B and hope to attract people who might otherwise go to Montauk,” says Monahan. “We have so many friends who work in creative fields and could really benefit from a quiet space. We’re telling people: If you have a big project and you need two weeks of isolation, book a room and we’ll treat you like one of us.”
Lin Beach House, 455 Route 25, Greenport. Rooms from $350 a night. Open year-round.