If you’re keen on testing the Hamptons waters – despite reports of the nouveau riche’s crowding the best beaches and the bar at Jet East – drop in for a weekend at the Southampton Inn, where locals will direct you to the finds only East End veterans know exist. A stay in each of the 90 rooms (summer visitors will want to book well before Memorial Day) comes complete with Internet access, heated pool, tennis court, and decor by such celebrity stylists as Nicole Miller and Paloma Picasso. But the inn’s best feature may be its location. Car-challenged urbanites will find themselves yards from the movie theater (and the waffle fries at Paul’s Pizza next door), while Sip n’ Soda, the fifties-style diner famous for its homemade, extra-creamy ice cream, is a short stroll away. If you feel like scouting boldfaced names on “Media Beach” (Flying Point, to the uninitiated) after all, Rotations bike shop will rent you wheels for the quick trip to the ocean.
Details Southampton Inn, 516-283-6500 (in summer, doubles start at $169); Rotations bike shop, 631-283-2890 (weekend rental starts at $35 per day); Sip n’ Soda, 631-283-9752; Paul’s Pizza, 631-254-4240.