The Montauk Chamber of Commerce is defending their Hamptons hamlet this week, calling a recent cheaphotels.org survey “misleading and not accurate” after it named Montauk “the most expensive beach destination in the United States.”
The survey methodology, as explained by cheaphotels.org, compared all U.S. beach destinations with 10 or more “well-located” (within walking distance to the beach) hotels or inns rated at least 2 stars, and with “positive average client ratings.” Using online travel agency site aggregator Kayak, they found the minimum price travelers have to spend during the month of August on a double room in each of these locations. It cites Montauk’s cheapest daily room rate in August as $312—the highest in America, above 19 other listed hotspots, such as Nantucket, MA (which placed second on the list), Cannon Beach, OR (third), Santa Monica, CA (fourth) and Kennebunkport, ME (fifth).
“The truth is the vast majority of Montauk hotels are affordable, family friendly and at or close to a beach,” Montauk Chamber Executive Director Laraine Creegan says in an email sent to local press with the subject “Travel Agency Survey is a Cheap Shot” on Thursday. “For example, in August, room rates start as low as $125 mid-week and $155 weekends,” she continues, adding for good measure, “With dozens of hotels and resorts to choose from, Montauk offers everything from no-frills accommodations to luxury waterfront resorts.”
The Chamber points out that Montauk’s unique geographic location at the tip of the South Fork, surrounded by water on three sides, places all of the hamlet’s 54 Chamber member properties at or close to a beach. Though most of Montauk’s beachfront resorts are currently booked for the remainder of the season, a Kayak search on Friday found one room available at Sun ‘N’ Sound for $259 on Monday, August 28—$53 less than cheaphotels.com’s average price, if one includes Fort Pond Bay as a beach. Sole East, at 90 Second House Road, has a room available on Monday, August 21, for $289, though it’s a little more than half a mile from the beach.
The survey does not specify what they consider “walking distance,” but according to users in a Zillow poll, most agree the term represents distances less than a mile, ideally closer to half a mile. The cheaphotels.com press contact did not reply to verify their definition of walking distance, or if Long Island Sound and Fort Pond Bay locations count as beaches.
Paul Monte, the Montauk Chamber president, says, “Regarding surveys, we go along with the British critic, Craig Brown, who wrote, ‘… I spend a good ten minutes a day deciding whether or not to read the results of new surveys, and, once I have read them, a further five minutes deciding whether or not to take them seriously.,’” adding, “When they’re inaccurate and used as the basis of a news story we call it fake news!”
The Montauk Chamber also notes that the fall is a good time to enjoy the area, especially if cost is an issue. According to their member hotels, the press release points out, rates fall as low as $110 in September and October, which any local can attest, might just be the best time of year in the Hamptons.