Choosing an affordable place to stay in the Hamptons for the solo traveler is a challenge. First and foremost, the Hamptons is one of the toniest vacation spots in the country. Consequently, everywhere is pricey. On top of cost, being able to find somewhere to stay is not easy. There are relatively few lodging options to be found. After an extensive search, I booked a reservation for my week long trip at A Butler’s Manor based on the information gotten from their website.
Two factors sealed the deal. First, the price, $325 per night in the shoulder season, which was not too inexpensive and thus still affordable for the Hamptons. Second, the owner of the bed and breakfast had been a butler for many years prior. I was sold by the thought of butler service.
After a wonderful night’s sleep coming off a grueling eighteen-hour drive from Charleston, I began to feel the specialness of A Butler’s Manor. I was seated for breakfast at a formal dining room table that was beautifully set with fine china, crystal and the butler’s “thought of the day.” Never in all of my travels had I experienced this nice, thought-provoking touch. Two other couples joined me and we shared various personal pleasantries all while getting to know and being served by Chris and Kimberly Allen, the ultra-cheery proprietors.
Breakfast was superb. Fresh fruit, banana stuffed French toast and sausage garnished with flowers was the presentation of the day. They asked how I liked my coffee and I told them extra strong. “No problem,” they said as they brewed a special pot for me each day. As we lingered and conversed with Chris and Kim, we found out Kim was also an author. She had written five books: one about Chris’ life as a butler, three psychological thrillers and a cookbook showcasing all of the fabulous breakfast dishes she serves at the bed and breakfast.
A Butler’s Manor offers five different bedroom choices, each sentimentally named after one of the former estates where Chris had been a butler. I selected the tastefully decorated Goose Creek room that included antique furniture, a wonderful bed with a Sealy Posturepedic pillow top mattress covered with luxurious, comfortable sheets, and an ample bath. In addition to this Goose Creek room video you can view all of the other room choices by doing a YouTube search for “A Butler’s Manor”. This is a great decision making feature to help you select which room you would like to stay in.
The manor house is lovely, but what really steals the show is Chris’ English garden. It is truly a labor of love. “I am a bit of a garden nut,” he told me. He shared he works in his garden daily and it shows. I am not a gardener and thus, do not know the names of all of the wonderful plants and shrubs he lovingly cares for but the feeling you get in Chris’ garden is this is the “real thing.”
Fountains, garden sculpture, hedges, flowing and non-flowering scrubs, roses and more fill the backyard. His glorious cherry blossom tree was in full bloom when I was there. Chris’s garden had formal and non- formal elements in it that created such a comfortable feel. I’ll never forget watching him working in his garden. He told me it was his daily therapy. My thought to this comment was it gives his guests therapy!
An added amenity that A Butler’s Manor offers is a large salt-water pool. Most of the B&B’s I’ve stayed in do not have swimming pools and the ones that do usually have chlorinated pools. According to Chris, a saltwater pool leaves your skin feeling nice and soft not dried out like what happens in a chemically controlled pool. It was too cold to swim when I was there but I would have definitely swam some laps being that I was a competitive swimmer when I was in school and still do swim for relaxation.
On my last day, breakfast was set on the rose garden patio. I was served a quiche and cantaloupe as my main course, homemade bread and several cups of strong coffee. As I lingered and planned my itinerary for the day I couldn’t help but being deeply moved by how much Chris and Kim cared about what they were doing and the clients they served. The mood of the entire place was one of joy and hard work. The high attention to detail is everywhere. In the quite tranquility of the rose garden, I had one of their birds wish me a, “farewell and come back soon.”
As I conclude this piece, I would be remiss if I didn’t focus on how helpful Chris and Kim were daily when it came to deciding what to do and where to go in the Hamptons. On their advice I toured several wineries, enjoyed a music festival in Montauk, visited the Parrish Art Museum and hit all of the cool shops in the Hamptons. They even arranged to get me a partner to play with at the local bridge club for a session. Now that’s service!