- Sound View Greenport is a boutique beachfront hotel just under 100 miles from New York City.
- Opened as a modest roadside motel in 1953, Sound View was recently renovated into a chic boutique hotel.
- I spent a night at Sound View at the end of May as Long Island was starting to reopen amid the pandemic.
- I found that the hotel made swift changes to help guests feel safe and pivoted its offerings to take full advantage of one of its best assets: the private beach.
- Everything became reservation-only, from the guest rooms to beach loungers to a spot at the pool.
- The hotel also started delivering its restaurant meals and craft cocktails straight to guests’ beach tables and installed a pop-up beach bar with a fire pit.
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Sound View Greenport is less than 100 miles from New York City, but it feels like another world.
Set near the very end of the North Fork of Long Island, the 55-room boutique hotel manages to feel both modern and like a throwback to an earlier era. Opened as a 10-room roadside motel in 1953, the Sound View was bought in 2016 by Eagle Point Hotel Partners and transformed with the help of a Brooklyn-based design firm.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York, Sound View immediately started crafting a plan to safely welcome guests. After a few weeks of semi-closure during which the hotel hosted nurses and first responders, it reopened on Memorial Day weekend, according to Erik Warner, principal at Eagle Point Hotel Partners. Warner told me that before reopening, he sent out a letter to the 15,000 people in the hotel’s database explaining Sound View’s plan of operation during the pandemic.
“I went into a lot of detail that told our guests we’re creating an environment of control,” Warner said. “That means that if you’re coming to our property, you must have a reservation. Please do not just show up. We’re trying to create a feeling of control on-property so that when our guests are staying with us, they themselves feel in control.”
Sound View implemented contactless check-in, so guests can use their smartphones to go straight from their cars to their rooms without interacting with a single person or entering any shared indoor space. The hotel installed clear signage and markers throughout the property reminding guests to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Guests who refuse to abide by social distancing and mask wearing will be asked to leave immediately without a refund, Warner said.
At the end of May, I spent a night at Sound View as part of my quest to discover how hotels were adapting to keep their guests safe and comfortable during the pandemic.
It was immediately clear that the hotel had pivoted to take full advantage of one of its best features: the quarter mile of private beach overlooking Long Island Sound.
Reservation-only beach spots
Sound View made its beach loungers and tables reservation-only and clearly partitioned them with colorful flags planted in the sand.
“The last thing you want is to be going to the beach or the pool and there are people just lined up in a crowded manner trying to access the same things that you want to access,” Warner told me.
The hotel cleans the tables and lounge chairs between each use, he added.
Room service and cocktails delivered right to your beach table
Sound View’s locally sourced seafood restaurant, The Halyard, was closed at the time of my visit, but Sound View brought its food and beverage service outdoors to its private beach.
I called the restaurant to order room service right out to the beach table where I was watching the sun set.
The restaurant’s general manager, Derrick Erwee, delivered my order along with a citrus-based cocktail and some house-made sangria. Sound View partnered with Death & Co, a New York City-based cocktail bar, to create special drinks for the summer.
Having food and drinks brought directly to my personal beach spot made the room service experience much more enjoyable than if it had come in the form of a paper bag dropped outside the door of my room, as other hotels have resorted to during the pandemic.
A beach bar and a bonfire
During my stay, Sound View was just starting to set up its new Low Tide Beach Bar, where guests can order cocktails to drink on the beach while sitting around a fireplace. There will also be live music from visiting bands from around the world.
In the weeks following my stay at Sound View, the hotel has reopened its restaurant and the beach bar has officially kicked into action to take full advantage of the summer weather. But even at the end of May, the hotel was a welcome respite from New York City.
By using contactless check-in, requiring reservations for beach spots, and moving room service and bar service outside to the beach, Sound View managed to make me feel safe, but I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything.
“What we’re trying to do is just, as soon as someone comes out here, make them forget about the rest of the world,” Erwee told me.
While it’s impossible to completely forget that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, my stay at Sound View came as close as can be.
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