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Photo courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House

GODFREY’S GUIDE

What I Packed for My Weekend at
Shou Sugi Ban House,
a Gorgeous New Hamptons Spa

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Jean Godfrey-June is our beauty director, but her enthusiasms are many.

Route 27 in Water Mill, New York, is one of the fanciest, beachiest, and most crowded thoroughfares anywhere. The traffic jams (Tesla-on-Jaguar-on-Cadillac-on-Maserati) are epic, the prices of all things but especially houses are stratospheric, and it’s a few hedge-lined country roads away from some of the most spectacular beaches in existence.

It’s not where you’d expect to find one of the most serene, perfectly executed spas on the planet. But the giant wooden gates (shou-sugi-ban is the name for the ancient Japanese process of charring wood) open, and you’re in a different world.

  1. What I Packed

    (and set out, ever so artfully, along my Georgia O’Keeffe–esque sculpted plaster bathroom shelf)

  1. 1

  2. I discovered this best-for-the-beach, sinks-in-better-than-anything SPF on this trip. It smells citrusy, leaves no trace, feels amazing going on—I now carry it everywhere, always.

  3. The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50 The Organic Pharmacy
    Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50
    goop, $69 SHOP NOW
  1. 2

  2. Best thing to bring on any trip—takes up no space and makes SUCH a difference. My boyfriend and I both did one, and the glow was definitely noticeable the next day.

  3. goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Overnight Glow Peel goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Overnight Glow Peel
    goop, $125/$112
    with subscription SHOP NOW
  1. 3

  2. The ultimate good-skin serum. I have to take it wherever I go. It smells so good, it feels so good, and it makes my skin look better than anything—anything—else.

  3. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum Vintner’s Daughter
    Active Botanical Serum
    goop, $185 SHOP NOW
  1. 4

  2. I was trying Vintner’s second product, the yin-to-the-genius-serum’s-yang skin essence, on this trip. It feels like water and smells like apple cider vinegar, and you can feel it working as it sinks immediately into your skin.

  3. Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence Vintner’s Daughter
    Active Treatment Essence
    goop, $225 SHOP NOW
  1. 5

  2. I mix this with water and splash it on every morning, and it leaves my skin brighter, fresher, and protected from free radicals, pollution, sun…and it works for every skin type.

  3. True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster True Botanicals
    Vitamin C Booster
    goop, $90 SHOP NOW
  1. 6

  2. If you walk on the beach/go swimming in the ocean/generally expose yourself to the elements, you need to melt some Blue Cocoon into your skin immediately afterward. One the most sensorial aspects of the Blue Cocoon is the cacao in it, which makes it feel and smell absolutely incredible. I put some on, of course, before the cacao ceremony (read on for details).

  3. May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon May Lindstrom
    The Blue Cocoon
    goop, $180 SHOP NOW
  1. 7

  2. These incredible, life-changing deodorants come in the most gorgeous scents. And they work no matter how hot, sweaty, or nervous-making the day.

  3. Schmidt’s Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Deodorant Schmidt’s
    Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Deodorant
    goop, $10 SHOP NOW
  1. 8

  2. Bring this on any trip, anywhere. Even if you’re staying in a Hampton Inn, you will feel indulged, happier, and healthier. (However, it must be said that one of these baths in a wooden Japanese tub is, as you might imagine, next-level.)

  3. goop Beauty The Martini Emotional Detox Bath Soak goop Beauty
    “The Martini” Emotional Detox Bath Soak
    goop, $35 SHOP NOW
  1. Shou Sugi Ban is a world that’s somehow both minimalist and full of rich detail. I felt like Georgia O’Keeffe as I glided through the corridors and the beautifully kept gardens on my way to massages made more incredible (every therapist, whether doing a treatment or a ceremony or a full-on fitness class, is absolutely top-notch/best-in-NYC-level) by the fact that you choose from one of three incredibly scented In Fiori body-butter balms and…they massage you with it.

…and What I Bought

  1. After being massaged all over for an hour and a half with this thick, citrusy, insanely luxurious balm, I knew I could never live without it again.

  2. In Fiore Natural Luxury Balm In Fiore
    Natural Luxury Balm
    goop, $130 SHOP NOW

There are regular and infrared saunas adjacent to the treatment rooms (there are also hot, medium, and cold outdoor tubs). After the sauna, I drifted back along stone pathways under wide, American trees—the landscaping is spare in a

Japanese vein, but East-End-of-Long-Island-appropriate, a beautiful mashup—stopping off at the exquisite tea bar where you taste and try, explaining your exact mood so the tea expert can tailor their recommendations to suit the moment.

There was lots of drifting dreamily at Shou Sugi Ban, but there were also incredible yoga and mediation sessions, out-there wellness ceremonies, and intense (I can’t stress the quality of the instructors enough) fitness classes in an epic outdoor room that has heaters in the ceilings if you need them. We sweat a lot; read by the pool; lounged in the enormous, barn-ceilinged

flower salads

relaxation room; and went on truly transformative, hours-long walks along the stunning beaches.

Chakras were aligned, and crystals cleansed the air. And many of the more out-there therapies (shamanic sessions involving a raw egg, energy-shifting Reiki) are another compelling reason to go. My favorite was a nighttime cacao ceremony led by the absolutely brilliant (and gorgeous—you want what she’s having for sure) shaman Maggie Harrsen. A cacao ceremony, it turns out, is what a much-better-tasting, easier-on-the-digestive-tract, nonhallucinatory ayahuasca ceremony might involve. The idea—communing with the spirit of a powerful plant—is similar, in any case. With only a few candles flickering, Harrsen ladled out cups of hot, molten cacao (like a cup of Parisian hot chocolate without

bathroom sink

the sugar) for the assembled circle of guests and led us through a meditative ceremony as we sipped the richly bitter, delicious drink. If you love chocolate, magical realism, sleeping like a baby, and dreaming a weird mysterious dream, I cannot recommend a cacao ceremony more highly. (And smoothing on some cacao-infused Blue Cocoon for good measure.)

Sleeping was easy in any case. The rooms, as alluded to, are a Georgia O’Keeffe–pleasing fantasy of natural materials, woven house slippers in your size, and filmy linen robes. Ask for a bathroom with a wooden Japanese tub.

The other tubs are gorgeous and sculptural, but the wood is just magic (especially with a goop bath in it).

There are regular and infrared saunas adjacent to the treatment rooms (there are also hot, medium, and cold outdoor tubs). After the sauna, I drifted back along stone pathways under wide, American trees—the landscaping is spare in a Japanese vein, but East-End-of-Long-Island-appropriate, a beautiful mashup—stopping off at the exquisite tea bar where you taste and try, explaining your exact mood so the tea expert can tailor their recommendations to suit the moment.

flower salads

There was lots of drifting dreamily at Shou Sugi Ban, but there were also incredible yoga and mediation sessions, out-there wellness ceremonies, and intense (I cannot stress the quality of the instructors more) fitness classes in an epic outdoor room that has heaters in the ceilings if you need them. We sweat a lot; read by the pool; lounged in the enormous, barn-ceilinged relaxation room; and went on truly transformative, hours-long walks along the stunning beaches.

Chakras were aligned and crystals cleansed the air. And many of the more out-there therapies (shamanic sessions involving a raw egg, energy-shifting Reiki) are another compelling reason to go. My favorite was a nighttime cacao ceremony led by the absolutely brilliant (and gorgeous—you want what she’s having for sure) shaman Maggie Harrsen. A cacao ceremony, it turns out, is what a much-better-tasting, easier-on-the-digestive-tract, nonhallucinatory ayahuasca ceremony might involve. The idea—communing with the spirit of a powerful plant—is similar, in any case. With only a few candles flickering, Harrsen ladled out cups of hot, molten cacao (like a cup of Parisian hot chocolate without the sugar) for the assembled circle of guests and led us through a meditative ceremony as we sipped the richly bitter, delicious drink. If you love chocolate, magical realism, sleeping like a baby, and dreaming a weird mysterious dream, I cannot recommend a cacao ceremony more highly. (And smoothing on some cacao-infused Blue Cocoon for good measure.)

bathroom sink

Sleeping was easy in any case. The rooms, as alluded to, are a Georgia O’Keeffe–pleasing fantasy of natural materials, woven house slippers in your size, and filmy linen robes. Ask for a bathroom with a wooden Japanese tub. The other tubs are gorgeous and sculptural, but the wood is just magic (especially with a goop bath in it).

Important Note Re: Deliciousness

Eating was even easier. You could easily justify visiting Shou Sugi Ban solely for the food. Scallops were smoked in hay and bathed in herb oil and accented with Japanese salt plums, fish tacos came wrapped in enormous nasturtium

leaves, and at breakfast, there were insanely delicious rice bowls with poached eggs, marinated seaweed, and pickled vegetables, along with the freshest nut butters, the fluffiest fresh yogurt, the jammiest (local of course) boiled eggs, and just incredible vegetable juices. Consulting chef Mads Refslund emphasizes foraging and terroir in the menu, with employees going out to the fields and beaches every day to find new things to try and serve—there’re also an on-site garden—and executive chef Jacob Clark makes it all happen with exceptional charm. (He welcomes you into the kitchen to show you what he’s doing, lets you taste as he’s cooking, and shares recipes with extreme generosity.)

wonton

Even the bread was worth writing home about—and actually inquiring after: Clark drives to NYC and back just to get specially baked seed rye and carrot rye from Ole & Steen. (If you’re in NYC, run, don’t walk.)

And bread-inclusive or bread-phobic, run or walk (probably faster than driving) to the Shou Sugi Ban House for a week or a weekend. If ever there were a true momentary respite from the world, behind the gates on Route 27 is the improbable place.

wonton

Eating was even easier. You could easily justify visiting Shou Sugi Ban solely for the food. Scallops were smoked in hay and bathed in herb oil and accented with Japanese salt plums, fish tacos came wrapped in enormous nasturtium leaves, and at breakfast, there were insanely delicious rice bowls with poached eggs, marinated seaweed, and pickled vegetables, along with the freshest nut butters, the fluffiest fresh yogurt, the jammiest (local of course) boiled eggs, and just incredible vegetable juices. Consulting chef Mads Refslund emphasizes foraging and terroir in the menu, with employees going out to the fields and beaches every day to find new things to try and serve—there’re also an on-site garden—and executive chef Jacob Clark makes it all happen with exceptional charm. (He welcomes you into the kitchen to show you what he’s doing, lets you taste as he’s cooking, and shares recipes with extreme generosity.)

Even the bread was worth writing home about—and actually inquiring after: Clark drives to NYC and back just to get specially baked seed rye and carrot rye from Ole & Steen. (If you’re in NYC, run, don’t walk.)

And bread-inclusive or bread-phobic, run or walk (probably faster than driving) to the Shou Sugi Ban House for a week or a weekend. If ever there were a true momentary respite from the world, behind the gates on Route 27 is the improbable place.

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