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Shou Sugi Ban House Offers A Serene Escape Right In Water Mill

Phebe Wahl | June 24, 2019 | Lifestyle Travel & Recreation

Serene sanctuary Shou Sugi Ban House sprouts up in Water Mill, offering a welcome retreat for Hamptonites.


Hamptonite Amy Cherry-Abitbol purchased the property with her business partner, Kathleen Kapnick, in 2015, and after an electrical fire in the main barn, she recalled the shou sugi ban technique, a process that involves charring, scraping and oiling wood to resist fire and decay.

Wellness-seekers need no longer jet to medical spas in Europe or ashrams in India to get their fix. Ninety miles outside of Manhattan, a sanctuary has emerged that feels worlds away. Set on 3 tranquil acres bordering the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, Shou Sugi Ban House brings a much-needed holistic healing retreat to the East end. The 13-room hideaway encourages quiet reflection through its wabi-sabi design influences and winding garden paths. Immersive four-, five- and seven-day programs, which are customized to suit individual intentions and protocols, include daily hikes, movement and meditation classes, healing arts, massage, skin- and bodycare, hydrotherapy, nutrient-rich meals, culinary demonstrations and fireside ceremonies.


Shou Sugi Ban House offers 13,400-square-foot guest studios, each with a private garden patio and a white oak Kobe-style bed made by local design firm All Things Dirt.

“The Hamptons offer a perfect setting for enjoying the healing properties of the natural world... the beautiful waters, land and skies,” says founder Amy Cherry-Abitbol. “Moreover, it is a tremendous resource for extraordinary people in the wellness field who have naturally been drawn to the area.” Cherry-Abitbol explains that her idea for the project five years ago was to create an environment and program that would bring people back to a simple appreciation for their natural surroundings and allow for quiet contemplation fostering human connection. “We will honor the surrounding elements by including early-morning beach walks, hikes and hydrotherapy offerings in our programming and by incorporating local produce and indigenous botanicals into our menus, teas and bath salts, and other spa products,” she adds.


Seven types of exclusive soaps were carefully crafted by Shou Sugi Ban House in collaboration with Southampton Soap Company.

Signature spa treatments offer a bounty of therapies, such as deep-tissue massages with cupping, vibrational sound healing treatments, chakra-balancing reiki treatments with customized aromatherapy, and microneedling facials featuring cult-favorite Biologique Recherche products. Days begin with a tea ceremony and end with a fire ceremony, bookending a respite that marries ancient rituals and modern longevity science. All-inclusive four-day programs from $4,650, half-day rituals from $395, 337 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, shousugibanhouse.‌com


Local architect Debbie Kropf designed each of the spaces at Shou Sugi Ban House with the aim of nurturing sustainable and holistic experiences.


The retreat’s Healing Arts Barn boasts a tea bar, while the Main Barn has a demonstration kitchen.


Winding pathways, inspired by the local dunescape and Japanese gardens, allow guests to connect with the natural world.


Meals are designed by Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund—along with a resident nutritionist—to be hyperseasonal, plant-rich and locally sourced.


Rooms offer a hinoki ofuro (Japanese soaking tub) and organic skincare products by Kyoto-based brand Kotoshina.


Photography by: Fredrika stjärne for Shou Sugi Ban House