I’ve always felt the Hamptons was missing something. A place this naturally beautiful lends itself to a wellness center and retreat, but I’ve never known of one until now. The new, beautiful, serene Shou Sugi Ban House has opened its doors this summer, including chic, minimalist rooms to stay overnight or daily treatments for a relaxing, rejuvenating afternoon. They have a gourmet chef on board serving up healthy, seasonal farm-fresh cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner at their communal dining tables. The yoga room gets light from all angles, and has a beautiful fire pit outside where the sound baths take place. The spa has everything from Biologique Recherche facials and massages to plunge pools and salt water baths. The indoor/outdoor gym provides various workouts throughout the day, and the sound therapy and tea room are exceptional. I could go on and on, but the point is, make sure you remember self-care this Fall, and book a day for YOU!
How many years have you been in business in the Hamptons?
We just opened Shou Sugi Ban House in May 2019, but my family and I have lived in the Hamptons for over two decades. Many aspects of the House are authentically informed by the Hamptons locale and its natural resources.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
After many years working as a corporate attorney, I was looking for a new opportunity. I recognized the need for a destination like this in the Hamptons – which offers a perfect setting for this experience, surrounded by the healing powers of the ocean, beaches, open skies and sprawling farms.
In 2014, I attended a program entitled “New Paths” at Harvard Business School for women seeking to change careers and explore new opportunities. I evaluated many different directions and was fortunate to find the ideal project in which to combine my interests in health, wellness and design with the help and support of a close friend from law school, my co-founder, Kathleen Kapnick. When the property became available, we were able to seize the opportunity.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I am coming from outside the wellness industry, and so I have approached this with a fresh perspective and am relying heavily on my own intuition to do what feels right.
I have focused on integrating my own experiences and research into wellness, nutrition, longevity science, and global healing modalities, as well as my appreciation for design and sustainability, to bring them all together in a unique way.
What do you feel gives you longevity in an area with so many options?
Shou Sugi Ban House is a special place and what we are offering is unlike any other location in the area. We have created a unique wellness experience through our lens, which is inherently different than other destinations. We offer intimate yet comprehensive programming which allows for meaningful connections with fellow guests and our resident experts, as well as visiting teachers and revered practitioners.
I believe that our multi-pronged approach of offering wellness programming, alongside a world class culinary program designed by Chef Mads Refslund, and our substantial healing arts modalities, within a beautifully-designed sustainable environment, creates an experience which sets us apart.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
We conceived Shou Sugi Ban House as a serene destination for those looking to step away from their everyday – whether that is for physical rejuvenation, a healing experience, a transformative journey, self-exploration, or simply for relaxation – and we can provide the opportunity for them to do that.
To complement our unique offering, we will have an extensive group of visiting expert practitioners and leaders spanning various philosophies and concentrations from across the globe.
What is your favorite part of your job?
We just opened in May, but it has been very gratifying to see people respond so positively to our programming and to see actual shifts and transformations come to some clients, even over the course of just a few hours or days. Others leave feeling that they have learned something new or are inspired to make small changes to their daily lifestyles, by incorporating meditation or yoga, or re-evaluating their sleep habits.
I have also enjoyed building this team and bringing together such a fantastic and unique group of individuals – almost all female – who truly make magic together.
What is your favorite secret Hamptons spot?
I spend a lot of time on my boat and I try to sleep on the boat when I can. I love the experience of waking up and starting my day on the water.
How do you benefit mamas?
We’ve created a sanctuary, where our guests can reset and reconnect to a simple appreciation for their natural surroundings. Our extensive spa menu and healing arts offering allows each guest to customize their experience and make it a true escape focused on self-care – which is so important for each us, and especially mothers, who do so much for their families and community.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
I’ve had many guests simply thank me for building and creating this experience here in the Hamptons. Every individual’s interaction is personal and unique, so it’s helpful to hear their feedback and use it to inform our team and continue to deepen our offering.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
I’d like to acknowledge two amazing women: Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, the Nobel Prize winning author of The Telomere Effect; and our local Hamptons hero and art historian, Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum. Elizabeth’s book, research and discoveries on how specific lifestyle habits and actions can slow aging and disease, inspired my interest and journey into the wellness field. Terrie, who has been so supportive of our project, has realized ambitious goals for the museum under her tenure and has turned the Parrish into a cultural destination.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I have always believed that it is important to teach your children and your family to be self-sufficient. That saves time.