On January 3, Sag Harbor’s Baron Cove launched a new and novel accommodation program. The program, known as “Home Away from Home,” offers visiting guests a limited number of hotel rooms and suites for second residence options, with prices that more closely resemble monthly rent than hotel fare.
The program is designed to accommodate off-season travelers, artists looking for a temporary residency space, and anyone interested in sampling Long Island’s East End without carrying the burden of a high-season rental. Running through April 3, rates are $1,900 per month for the Garden King Suite and $2,700 per month for the Harbor Loft Suite. A two-month minimum is required. These are the sole accommodation options being offered at this time.
The incentive makes good monetary sense for anyone seeking an extended stay in the East End this winter. During the low season, the hotel’s rates for introductory-level rooms average about $159 per night. With this promotion, those rates are slashed by nearly 70 percent. In addition, guests enrolled in the Home Away from Home program are exempt from taxes and the hotel’s 5 percent resort fee. Those who commit to three-month rentals receive the added bonus of a $500 credit to be used at the property’s restaurant.
With the Hamptons growing in visibility for off-season visitors, Baron’s Cove has made a concerted effort to draw business into a niche market. The idea of a long-term stay at a hotel might not be appealing to everyone, but to some, the idea of daily housekeeping, room service, and a restaurant next door might feel more like an extended vacation. It is, in a sense, an alternative to the immensely popular idea of AirBnB, where guests can opt for rooms, suites, or entire private homes, which cover a broad spectrum of styles, amenities, and, accordingly, price points.
“Second homes are places from which you can come and go, leaving your favorite weekend sweater or walking shoes, or even a project ready for your return,” Baron’s Cove General Manager Mario Arakelian said. “Whether you are coming for a week at a time to work on a memoir, compile family photographs, just experiment with a second home, or looking to wake up by the water each morning, it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the Hamptons in a new way.”
Baron’s Cove has long since made driving offseason business a priority. As in years past, the restaurant hosts a happy hour in the lounge area from Sunday through Thursday at 4 to 6 in the evening. That promotion offers $8 bar bites, a $10 specialty cocktail, a handful of $6 beers, and four wine selections for $8 a glass.
During the month of February, the restaurant will also run a series of additional promotions, like a prix fixe Valentine’s Day dinner for $85 per person, a John Steinbeck-based event on February 27 to celebrate what would have been the author’s 118th birthday, and an oyster-shucking demonstration to occur in conjunction with Harborfrost on February 29.
Whether or not the idea of a hotel-as-residence in the Hamptons will prove compelling to non-locals still remains to be seen. While the price is incentivized, it still packs a punch, considering the required minimum: at the lowest price rung, the rental will cost at least $3,800, which is no small fee, especially during a time of year when retail, restaurants, and life has slowed down.
Still, as more and more East End restaurants opt for year-round service, and as more second homeowners spend more weekends on the East End during even the coldest months, what Baron’s Cove has developed, through the Cape Resorts brand, may be a template for other hoteliers seeking a business surge in January, February, and March. Will other hotels follow suit, providing affordable options and an opportunity for local retailers to capitalize on offseason commerce? The possibility of a changing tide is waiting in the wings.