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The Surf Lodge.

Jayma Cardoso Manifests Spaces for Culture to Expand

The Brazilian businesswoman Jayma Cardoso is best known for her work in the hospitality world. She has founded and co-created some of New York’s hottest bars, clubs, and hotels, like The Surf Lodge, Cain, Goldbar, and Lavo. But it was not a creative background or the idea of a good time that led her to today. Rather, Cardoso moved from Brazil to America to study biology.

“I entered into hospitality as a side job while attending college and it was eye-opening to me how much I love to create amazing moments for guests,” she recently told Whitewall. “The first place I partnered on was Cain, then Goldbar and Lavo.  All of these places helped me formulate the importance of creative experiences to connect guests.”

In 2008, she then opened The Surf Lodge in Montauk. Since its early beginnings, its seasonal success as a destination hotel—with dynamic music, arts, and culinary programming—has snowballed. Regularly, bands perform on the outdoor stage, fashion and jewelry labels host pop-ups in the gift shop, and chefs visit for a limited time to whip up unique dishes. Inside, wanderlust prints from Gray Malin are hung on the walls, books by Assouline line the shelves, and surprise guests stop by for cocktails nearly every night. And during the winter in Colorado, The Snow Lodge welcomes guests to a wintery oasis of similar programming atop Aspen Mountain.

Over the summer, we ventured to the Hamptons spot for a festive weekend. Delightfully immersed in its haven of culture, we took in artworks by Rajni Jaques and Brandon Boyd, explored pieces by Marc Jacobs and lab-grown diamond goodies by Lightbox Jewelry in the storefront, enjoyed a concert by Shaed, and test drove an electric Polestar car through town.

Whitewall spoke with Cardoso about how her dedication to community and storytelling is expanding to include sustainability, how she spent her summer, and what properties she may open next.

Jayma Cardoso

Jayma Cardoso, courtesy of The Surf Lodge.

WHITEWALL: The Surf Lodge represents something unique to everyone who visits. What does it represent to you?

JAYMA CARDOSO: Community. It’s representative of the beauty of Montauk. A gathering place for wellbeing through wellness, the arts, music, food, design, fashion and spirituality all connected via a beautiful setting.  For me it is a celebration of what makes humanity great.

WW: What is your relationship like to art and fashion? How does that culminate in collaborations at the property, like the ones you had this summer?

JC: I love the art of fashion. It’s really how we individually present and express ourselves. For me, whether it was Marc [Jacobs], Rajni [Jacques], or Brandon [Boyd], they each have such an interesting story to share with their design. At The Surf Lodge, we have an opportunity to help them tell that story, so I love collaborating with artists to do so.

The Surf Lodge.

Courtesy of The Surf Lodge.

WW: Any personal favorite fashion pieces you wore this summer? 

JC: For me, summer is about embracing the season—so lots of beach dresses from Zimmermann, PatBO, Adriana Degreas, and Cult Gaia.

WW: This summer, The Surf Lodge also held a Sunday pop-up fitness class series with Nina Agal, made possible by Lightbox Jewelry. What’s your relationship like with health and wellness?

JC: I would say it’s an evolving relationship.  How we connect to health and wellness is always changing each year of our life; one path leads us into so many different directions. So, each year with The Surf Lodge I work to evolve this vision and find like-minded partners to help us grow. Lightbox Jewelry understands that vision of balancing physical and mental health. They’re a valued partner and an important part of this evolving story.

WW: How is the property considering sustainability? 

JC: I think the important thing is to get involved in your local community.  Based on our location it’s about protecting and serving the ocean, the beaches, and the environment that make Montauk such a special place. On the property, we follow sustainable practices and prioritize the same in partners. For example, Polestar is a kindred spirit with the design of their cars as they put such an emphasis on sustainability and creating a better future.

The Surf Lodge.

Courtesy of The Surf Lodge.

WW: What’s seen in your home art- or design-wise?

JC: My home is open and airy, so you always feel connected to the outdoors.  I have photographs from Raphael Mazzucco, Max Snow, Roberto Dutesco, artworks from Jenn Stark, Gray Malin, Dustin Yellin, and all the discoveries from my travels.  My home is really an open window to the story of my life and the amazing people I’ve come across and call friends.

WW: What are your top Montauk places to eat and drink at, see art at, relax at?

JC: Top places start for me with being outdoors. I love walking around Camp Hero State Park.  It’s impossible not to find myself at Ditch Plains. I’m a big fan of St. Peter’s Catch for making picnicking easy, they have so many delightful treats to take to the beach. I love dining at The Crow’s Nest and my favorite breakfast is still at Naturally Good Foods.

The Surf Lodge.

Courtesy of The Surf Lodge.

WW: How does being a mother impact your relationship to work?

JC: It makes me more organized. Life is a balance of family, friends, work and play. But now more than ever, time with my son is incredibly special to me and I find organization is the key to finding a healthy balance.

WW: Is there a property you haven’t opened yet but aim to? 

JC: The next Surf and/or Snow Lodge. I’m anxious to bring the same principles to new locations and have them reflect the community and environment they are part of.

WW: What are you working on next? 

JC: I’m already working on The Surf Lodge for next summer, but Art Basel is coming up, and the next ski season for The Snow Lodge in Aspen is looming.



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Minjung Kim




Go inside the worlds of Art, Fashion, Design and Lifestyle.



Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.