Land Rover is the official vehicle brand of Montauk, New York.
Ok, so not officially officially, but that was the thought I had in the time I was there, my second trip to the location, in July. While Montauk may be known for its beaches, it also boasts a community of Land Rover lovers who were driving every model of the luxury brand’s offerings, from the Range to the Discovery, down the pristine roads.
I was one of those people, albeit temporarily. After spotting the Land Rover Defender in New York City here and there, I was always intrigued by the behemoth of a car, with it’s boxy design and elevated stature. So it was a no-brainer when I was asked to get behind the wheel of one and drive it up to The Hamptons, Montauk specifically, for the weekend. An added perk, I would be driving it to stay at The Surf Lodge, Montauk’s uber popular boutique hotel on the water. It’s the place to be this summer, with a buzzing restaurant and jumping live music scene (recent performances on the property include Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes and Wyclef Jean among many others).
All that said, it makes sense that the most popular vehicle brand in town and the most popular accommodations in Montauk would team up for the summer for The Defender Weekend Experience package. The Defender is part of a summer-long partnership with The Surf Lodge for the hotel’s 15th anniversary, as the car matches the vibes of the space and the area as a whole. So while it might not be the official car of the whole hamlet, it sure is the official vehicle for the hotel. Through this weekend stay, a lineup of Defenders are available for use. Options include the Defender 90, Defender 110, and the new Defender 130 that seats eight. There are also opportunities to enjoy a curated beach picnic, a beach bonfire, private surf lesson and a healthy, complimentary breakfast.
And both offer an opulent experience. The Defender 110, which I made into a family car to bring my sons along for the fun, was built for an adventure. It had everything I needed for a two to three hour (the latter was based on traffic) drive from NYC to Montauk. I never felt cramped thanks to the raised hood. I had everything at my fingertips thanks to the Pivi Pro infotainment system. Phones, kiddie tablets and a bottle warmer all stayed charged thanks to the countless charging options (from a dock to USB ports all over the place). There was more room to carry essentials up front, as opposed to the norm of having to keep everything in the back seats and trunk because the center console not only has a compartment to hold things, but there is also a large opening underneath cup holders to keep things, as well as openings all around the infotainment system. It’s a spacious car in more ways than one.
The leather seats (heated and cooled with electric memory), of course, kept the ride cozy, and the Meridian Sound System with its 10 speakers and subwoofer also kept it entertaining. In addition, the sliding panoramic roof brought in the sunshine and fresh air, which certainly was nice when driving by the water.
As for The Surf Lodge, we stayed in a spacious junior suite that had two queen beds, a deck for my husband to take naps on and a hammock my son couldn’t get enough of. I was also impressed by the cute retro fridge in each room, stocked with complimentary drinks of all kinds, from alcohol to energy drinks and healthier sodas. And while the bathroom wasn’t probably the best for those with small kids since it’s just a shower, the shower is roomy and provided a nice, hot respite on days that were cooler than expected during our stay.
As the summer time allows for Montauk to do what it does best, which is be an inviting space for those wishing to enjoy the water, fish, eat and drink well, shop for luxury goods and enjoy the peaceful sights and sounds (including a trip to the historic lighthouse), this partnership comes at the perfect moment. It offers a great place to lay your head and an awe-inducing vehicle to get behind as you explore what Montauk and more of the Hamptons have to offer (including that delicious seafood!). Before the summer ends, those in or traveling to New York need to add this to their itinerary. Act fast! Summer will be over before you know it.