There is no way around it. Hands down, the Hamptons, a collection of resort towns on the south fork of Long Island, is known as one of the wealthiest and popular vacation spots in the East Coast. It has cemented its reputation as tony villages with the best beaches, top restaurants and plenty of shops to go to after swimming in your infinity pool. To many, the Hamptons, conveniently located two hours away from New York City is heaven. If you want a vibrant lifestyle, there are many nightclubs to go to. If you want tranquility, the lack of bustling highways allows you to relax on your deck and read a book.
The Hamptons, it must be said, is only for the elite, an oasis where the homes are over a million dollars. This is where many wealthy New Yorkers spend their weekends. But the Hamptons is not the only town for weekend getaways. Around the world there are many equivalents, In San Francisco, Sonoma/Napa Valley, is a quaint destination spot for the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley. It is the best California wine country in the world, and its reputation is, like the Hamptons, that of an exclusive place where the affluent flock to in order to get away. If you are lucky enough to have about 3 or 4 million, you may be able to buy a weekend house here on a one-acre property. But be forewarned that the average home here can start at $6 million. It is in these towns that brokers around the world want to associate their own listings with the area.
Every affluent city around the world also have nearby retreats that serve as an equivalent to the Hamptons. For example, In Paris, it’s not the South of France where the wealthy visit. It’s a town called Dinard on the northern coast of Brittany, where international billionaires go on vacation. Its reputation hasn’t always been an exclusive place; only since the 90s and the 2000s that it became high end, and is now known as a charming idyllic village. Unlike the Hamptons, where each street is lined with enormous estates, Dinard has seaside villas, that are comparable but smaller in size.
The area has been a vacation destination for more than a century, but it’s only in the past 10 or 15 years that it’s become much more high-end. Here, homes range around 1 million.
THE HAMPTONS ABROUD
For Germans, it’s a town called Kitzbühel, across the border from Austria. As Michaela Keszler of Douglas Elliman said, Kitzbühe is the “Hamptons of Munich.” In fact, the town is similar in another way, a weekend getaway where you pack your car with supplies, perishables and your kids on Friday night and brace yourself for the one and a half hours in traffic, only to return Sunday night where there’s even more traffic from the elite returning home from Kitzbühe. The Hamptons is similar; if you are coming from New York City you also sit in traffic, albeit for a longer time, which is around two hours and more. Of course, most of the elite don’t take to the road or ride the Hampton Jitney. They get to the traffic-clogged Hamptons by way of helicopter or plane.
In Hamburg, it’s Sylt, an island on the North Sea. For celebrities in LA, they make their way to a town called Ojal. For Milan’s super rich, its Lake Garda. For Toronto’s elite, the go-to place is Muskoka, a region known for its picture-perfect lakes. For Brazilians, its Sao Sebastiao, where white-sands are close to mansions.
THE HAMPTONS REPUTATION
So what is the real appeal of the Hamptons? Why do other vacation spots want to emulate the golden life, a place synonymous with wealth and leisure? According to Michaela Keszler, a Southampton-based real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, succinctly explained the appeal. The Hamptons are not only very “high-end, but also very low key.” She added that those who come here “can have a big social life if they want, but turn around and be very private and quiet, too.” That’s the major appeal. That’s the life that many places here and abroad try to emulate: the picturesque beaches, the gorgeous sand, the high-end restaurants and elite retail stores, the gourmet shops, and the beauty and brightness of the skies that are so blue that they look as if someone had painted them.