The Reform Club: Your New Home Away From Home
Get to know one of the Hamptons’ most luxe resort destinations through the lens of Chase Lerner.
When traveling and staying in a hotel, how often are you greeted with the term “Welcome home?” It’s that simple yet comforting detail that really sums up The Reform Club. This special place, nestled in the picturesque town of Amagansett on five acres of beautiful land, is the one Hamptons hotel you need to know about when planning your perfect getaway this summer. The small but mighty luxury accommodation property isn’t one to be overlooked—as the gorgeous hotel is made up of a collection of multiple cozy cottages that are masterfully designed to the T. From the perfectly Instagram-able marble bathrooms to the plush gardens for those intimate summer nights, to the excellent selection of art pieces scattered throughout every single room from art veterans and newcomers alike, The Reform Club is the breath of fresh air that we all need after what has a been a tumultuous COVID experience. With the sweeping lawns and the sandy roads of the town as our path to uncovering a true seaside haven, we’re met with The Reform Club’s Chase Lerner, who speaks to V about expanding the ultimate summer backyard into the Hamptons’ latest hot spot for creativity and tranquility.
Kevin Ponce: Tell me a little bit about the property itself—what’s the story of how the hotel came to be?
Chase Lerner: Back in the nineties, it was a boarding house and was owned by a family at that time. When my dad originally moved out here, he would always drive by the property and be like ‘Oh my God, I love this. If you ever decide to sell, call me!”. [Then, the owner] was in her late eighties or nineties and was like “I’m ready”. So he purchased the property and rebuilt everything you see. It was conceived over a two-year period of wanting to build something that was going to attract the community and differentiate it from other hotels in the area. It doesn’t feel like the typical structure of a hotel where it’s like you’re in someone else’s space, this is much more about feeling at home. We talked to so many different local artists and architects and had mood boards of what we wanted this place to really feel like.
KP: Is there a backstory for the name “The Reform Club”? It’s definitely not your average name for a hotel.
CL: The Reform Club is actually a members club in London. It’s an old institution that was created as a home for creative minds and artists, as a way for them to kind of be creative together, but also have a safe spot. Much of the East End like Montauk and Sag Harbor has so many artists and much of the art you see in our rooms are from local artists. There are so many of these artists who were with us in thinking about what we want this place to feel and look like, and using that as a way to create The Reform Club as a safe place for creative people. From the other hotels that have more typical management groups, we’re much more of a family-run business that just loves the East End and wants to contribute to this area.
KP: You know, the lovely woman who brought me to my room—the last thing she said to me was “Welcome home” and I was taken aback because I thought that was so comforting to hear.
CL: I think that’s really what we try to feel like too. Our general manager has been here since day one and she’s really taught me so much in the past year about how to make people really feel like this is their home. That’s why we have customers that have been coming since 2009.
KP: How much has the property grown since your family took ownership?
CL: The property has changed a lot. In the past 10 years, we’ve added significantly and we were at about two acres prior and now we’re five acres, including the new apple orchard. We’ve really tried to continue to expand the space, but have it feel like it always did.
KP: So which part of the property was here originally and what was built?
CL: Everything was just rebuilt but the windmill was never touched. The windmill has always been there and we’re on Windmill Lane! We actually just had the old family that originally owned [the property] come stay with us and they were so happy that we kept their grandmother’s tradition of making it feel like a home for everyone.
KP: That’s amazing! Tell me about the design process for all the houses—was there a certain aesthetic you were keeping to?
CL: My dad designed the entire thing. Every little detail that he had in his head really came to life. All those details are things that he contributed with local architects and artists as [they thought] ‘How do we make this place super unique’. We’d have guests come and ask ‘Who was the builder? Who was the architect? Who was the interior designer? We want this for our home’ because it does feel like a home.
KP: Everything flows quite nicely. It’s like you’re right at home, especially with the artwork, which you guys have a lot of here.
CL: We have so much art from all different types of artists. We have local artists such as Dan Rizzie, who has been fundamental to the whole hotel—he even designed our logo. Then you have a lot of women artists such as Judit Reigl, who has this gorgeous painting in suite six. Then you have Tommy May, who’s an incredible new artist in suite seven so you have this combination from older to newer artists.
KP: Now that summer is here and we’re all slowly coming back to normal, how has COVID affected The Reform Club and how has it been bouncing back after that sort of lull?
CL: We were almost built for COVID in a way because we have so much space. From day one, we wanted the guests to feel a sense of privacy, which is why you have separate entrances for all the accommodations and separate outdoor spaces. Many times, we’ll have a full house and people will ask us, ‘is anyone else here?’ So with COVID and the [notion] of social distancing has always been our core belief, even though it wasn’t called social distancing. It was about having privacy, but also having these communal areas that you can enjoy together, but you have plenty of space, so we were very lucky.
KP: With many hotels in the area, how does The Reform Club differentiate itself from the others?
CL: It really is more focused on the guest experience. Unlike some of the hotels I’ve been to, we’re much more focused on a concierge service. So it’s less about a set agenda but it’s much more about what you want to experience while you’re here and how we work with you to create that. Whether it’s private dining [experiences] in your room or in the orchard, or a hike in Montauk, tennis, horseback riding, learning how to cook in our kitchen, there are so many activities that [can let us] get to know our guests and understand what they want, then create that experience because we’re so small and have the ability to do that. So it’s much more of a curated concierge experience, rather than something cookie cutter.
KP: Now that The Reform Club is pushing through with lots of events in the works, what can we expect to see? Where do you hope to see the hotel going in the next few years?
CL: I really want it to continue to expand, with the way it is. We’ve created such a safe place here that I hope we can get more of the community involved through our summer programming. In the fall, we’re really excited about this apple orchard so this will become more of a staple in the community. Traditionally, we’ve always been open year-round, but [I want to] create programming that includes year-round activities for the whole community. We have so many people that live out here full time and way more now that COVID happened. We have all this space so how do we include the community in what we’re doing and make it feel like a big family?
Here’s what coming up at The Reform Club:
Elyse Walker Pop Up (August 23-30)
Skyting Yoga (Saturdays at 11:30 am and Sundays at 10:30 am beginning May 8 through September 30)
The Daily Pop Up with Etro (June 26)
Solid and Striped Pop Up (Memorial Day Weekend)
The Agdal Method (Saturdays at 10:30 am and Sundays at 10:30 am from May 29 through September 30)
Loops Masks (Offered in-rooms for guests)
Material Good Pop Up (August 11-14)
Goodnight Sonny Pop Up (Mid-August)
JAJA X Culinistas Pop Up (Dates Coming Soon)
Welcome baskets for guests include: