By Isaiah Negron
The understated chic of the historic Village Latch Inn in Southampton made it a favorite of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who championed both the preservation and restoration of the White House and the turn of the century “cottages” on the East End where she summered as child. Jackie admired the architecture of the Latch, which was built in 1901 and is attributed to the legendary architect Stanford White. Jackie wanted the buildings protected for future generations. In 1974, Marta and Martin White fell in love with this charming property in the Village of Southampton and bought it. The Whites shared Jackie’s vision of the conservation of The Latch, located at 101 Hill Street amidst over 5 acres of lush lawns and gardens. Originally, the property, boarded by tall privet hedges that to this day create a quiet oasis in the heart of the town, only featured the magnificent main house. Preservationists by nature, the couple also purchased the Terry Cottage, which was part of the former Irving Hotel across the street, as well as the homestead buildings and glass greenhouse from the adjacent Merrill Lynch estate, and relocated them to the Village Latch. In doing this, the Whites saved these important structures from the fate of the Irving Hotel, which was burned to the ground as a fireman’s exercise. “We feel we did our part to help save the architectural authenticity of Southampton,” said Marta.
The Latch’s illustrious guest list includes Anne Hathaway, Michel Kors, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Hudson, Michael J. Fox, Ethel Kennedy, Al Gore and Joe Biden, who during their stays swam in the pool, played tennis on the Inns courts or walked to one of Americas most beautiful beaches. They restored the existing buildings and added new guest cottages where families continue to return generation after generation to enjoy “estate living” without the responsibility of ownership. Marta, an artist with a discerning eye, decorated the rooms with everything from fine English antiques to Burmese puppets brought back from their extensive travels around the globe. The White’s have spent over 40 years as responsible stewards of this unique property.
With world class museums, restaurants, golf courses, vineyards and shops nearby its no wonder that the Village Latch has been a mainstay destination for Southampton’s visitors. Although it’s hard to say goodbye, the Whites are ready to pass the keys to The Village Latch Inn to the next steward. “This is a rare opportunity for a hotelier to develop a world-class resort and make a serious impact in the Hamptons,” said Martin. The property is listed with the Corcoran Group’s Esther Paster for 23 million.
On July 14th the Latch will host a kick-off tea party for the Southampton Animal Shelter’s annual gala which will be held later in the month, bring your dog and stroll under the stately Elm trees between 4 and 6 pm. southamptonanimalshelter.com