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Most New Yorkers know the North Fork for its calming waters, its serene landscape, and its quick ability to make you feel the fuzzy home-away-from-home feeling. After a bustling New York City day, a Hamptons night is rumored to reset you. A search for this relaxation came in a flash recently, and before we knew it, we were traveling out to Long Island—in hopes of some downtime, sure, but also some culture, some community, some creativity. Many say it’s a tough feat to find much activity there in the winter, so we were surprised, and more so delighted, when we found it and more at Sound View.
On the North Fork of Long Island is a historic town called Greenport, and shining from within it, is Sound View—a waterfront hotel that was first constructed in 1953. Renovated by Eagle Point Hotel Partners and designed by Brooklyn-based firm Studio Tack, the establishment today has a luxe new-age motel feel, with a drive-up car port in the front and a quarter of a mile of private beach in the back.
Dotted with touches of nautical details and modern New England design, the 55-room establishment also welcomes: The Halyard, a light-filled, picturesque restaurant which overlooks the water, featuring high ceilings, indoor and outdoor seating, and delectable seafood fare; The Library, a cozy dining room with expansive views; and the Piano Bar, a nod to the building’s historic past with most of the original features left untouched, featuring an expansive bar, booth seats, and, of course, a piano. On premise, as well, is a fitness room, a large outdoor swimming pool, recreational sporting equipment like bikes and kayaks to rent, a sauna, and right now, Salt—a pop-up pink Himalayan salt room perfect for 45 minutes of pure relaxation.
Walking in to our room, we were warmed by the smell of cedar wood and calmed by the sights of the ocean. The pared-down style of the room, soothed by all-natural cedar wood walls, was complemented by simple touches like hand-woven rope rugs, Quiet Town Home bedspreads, Malin+Goetz products, and simple furniture and accessories that just felt right. In the mini bar and on the snack tray, we also took note of local bites and beverages sourced from the area.
The name behind this feel-good project is Erik Warner, Founder of Filament Hospitality. He’s been in the business for quite some time now and has a plentiful real estate roster of properties around the country. There at Sound View, we spoke with Warner and learned more about his start in hospitality, what type of atmosphere he aimed to provide at the space, and what other projects he’s working on.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about your journey with hospitality. Where did it begin? What was your first project? How did you get to today?
ERIK WARNER: Since a very early age, I always found myself serving as the host and organizer of any and all things social. When the time came to apply for colleges, I wanted to enroll in a university that would allow me to continue pursuing many different interests under the same degree. This led me to Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration where I took classes in everything from real estate and finance to food chemistry.
During the summers, I needed internship hours to graduate and so I got to travel to places like Jackson, Wyoming and work at the Anvil Hotel—a property that I now own. After graduating, I moved to New York to start my career at the renowned hotel appraisal company, HVS. Over the course of three years and working on hundreds of hotel appraisals, the most important skill I learned was understanding how to create value.
After my time at HVS, I decided to travel the world and it was on this journey (specifically in New Zealand) that I further understood the value of human connection and the strength in communities. Following this experience, I decided to focus my job search toward the ownership side of the hospitality business. I helped create a private equity platform called RHF that focused on value-add hotel real estate investing. In 2015, I started Filament Hospitality. It’s here that I am at the helm of my visions for creating spaces and places for travelers to come together and simultaneously build community locally and globally.
WW: Tell us a bit about your company today, Filament Hospitality.
EW: In short, it is a company that manages the environment that exists in each of our hotels. This environment is highly focused on weaving the local community with travelers staying at the hotel through real and meaningful connections. We try to create a “1 + 1 = 3” experience for our guests. First, by giving them a physical space that is purely reflective of the environment in which the hotel is located, combined with experiences in the community that we hope results in an emotional connection to their experience with us.
WW: What types of spaces do you aim to create for the public to enjoy?
EW: I spend a lot of time encouraging our designers to look within the communities where our hotels exist for inspiration. What we ultimately create should be a pure reflection of the local environment to such an extent that whether you are crossing the threshold to or from your room, you should always feel like you are in the same place.
WW: Apart of your portfolio, you have a roster of other properties in places like Hawaii, California, and Wyoming. What about the Sound View property is special to you?
EW: All of the portfolio is amazing—not just from one perspective but from many, as they are all in amazingly beautiful places and all have their own voice. What makes Sound View different is the fact that it literally sits next to the water on a quarter-mile long beach. We have no properties that are so tied to nature as Sound View. Our guests are constantly interacting with the water, from sleeping with their window open to hear the waves, eating their meals overlooking the beach to swimming in the water at any time of day. It’s restorative and inspirational.
WW: Tell us a bit about the restoration and re-design of the space.
EW: One, Sound View is a local institution. It has been around for generations and on dozens of occasions I have been reminded by members of the community what the hotel and restaurant mean from their perspective. That being said, when I bought the property it was in a state of, perhaps, holding on to the past. My feeling is that the sellers, who were third generation, didn’t change much to the space to keep these community memories intact.
Two, to transform the spaces into what they are now I employed a new—back then, in 2015—Brooklyn-based firm, Studio Tack. I explained that their design, and any and all aspects of the project needed to constantly reference and reflect the North Fork in order to anchor guests and give them a sense of place. There were dozens of artists we worked with, including some of the family members of Studio Tack who created some of the paintings that sit in The Halyard.
WW: Sound View creates a community for artists, as well, welcoming them to play music, recite dance performances, and more. Why did you want the property to embrace this type of creative spirit?
EW: I grew up with, and to this day have many friends, who are artists. The life of an artist is not easy for many reasons and, over the decades, the common response I would hear from these friends (to the question of what would make your creation of art easier) is a place they could go to be immersed in nature and quietness, at a different energy level. With Sound View, particularly in the winter when everything on the North Fork slows down and the energy feels stronger and purer, it is a place that “gives back” to artists because of the environment on the sea in the winter. It is spectacular.
WW: What are some of your favorite activities to do while in Greenport? Favorite bars, restaurants, distilleries, outdoor spaces, etc.?
EW: I could go on and on about my favorite things to do in Greenport at any time of year.
During the winter, a perfect couple of days begins with coffee at North Fork Roasting Co, breakfast at Bruce & Son in Greenport, then a long walk on the beach at Orient State Park. Later, I grab lunch at Lucharitos in town or 8 Hands Farm— both are equally great options. The region is known for wine, and so I try to do a tasting at one of the following wineries—Shinn, Macari, Jamesport, Paumonok, Bedell, Lenz, or Lieb. The late afternoon calls for a bonfire during sunset while oyster shucking at Little Creek Oysters. If I have the energy, I’ll do a round of bespoke cocktails at either Brix and Rye or pay a visit to our friends at Matchbook Distillery that have a tasting room at their Lin Beach House.
Over the summer, the day begins with an egg sandwich at Fork and Anchor. Then, I like to get on the water—either with Peconic Water Sports or hop on one of the Peconic Star fishing boats. In the early afternoon, wine tasting is a must at Shinn, Macari, Jamesport (the best wood fired pizza on the North Fork), Paumonok, Bedell, Lenz, or Lieb. Later in the day, I like heading into town and checking out the amazing bookstore Burtons, popping into the North Fork Art Collective, and taking a stroll on the docks. I’m back at Sound View for a cocktail in hand to watch the sunset either on the beach or the deck of my room. Dinner at The Halyard is typically followed by a bonfire ritual on our beach with glass of wine, and if the sea is calm, we often end up taking a late-night swim.
WW: What are you working on now?
EW: Currently, I am working on a new project in Hawaii, which I’m really excited about. It’s a beautiful 300-plus room resort on the island of Kauai.