The Surf Lodge in Montauk is reopening with a new retail concept, Concept Playa, developed by founder Jayma Cardoso and George Sotelo.
The 300-square-foot shop is a marriage of Latin culture and design and Montauk summer beach culture. Cardoso, who hails from Brazil, and Sotelo, who has roots in Mexico, paid homage to their respective home countries, bringing together the beach cultures of the coastal cities.
The duo sourced brands from Latin designers such as Caravana and Waiwai Rio; Mykita, one of the main sponsors of the shop; Thorsun, Sotelo’s swimwear label, and Deveaux. In addition, the shop offers home décor, which will be staged throughout the Surf Lodge property and available for sale.
Sotelo said, “It’s usually a super-buzzy place, but this year the hotel isn’t open to guests yet. We weren’t sure what we were going to do.”
The Surf Lodge historically hosts parties and concerts every year, such as John Legend in 2019. This year, the property will not host concerts in order to keep the locals and tourists safe from the spread of the coronavirus, but the shop will be open to the public.
Cardoso said while the experience is very different this year due to the pandemic, it is more intimate and actually closer to the concept she had for The Surf Lodge in the beginning.
She explained, “I had planned on creating a barefoot-chic, out-of-the-way Posada like the ones in every beach town in Brazil. When we came to Montauk 13 years ago, it was a sleepy fishing village at the end of the world. Never could we have imagined that Montauk, and The Surf Lodge would become such a global hub. So 13 seasons later I get to experience The Surf Lodge like it was originally intended to be.”
“It’s been really exciting for me, because I’ve always wanted to move toward hotels,” said Sotelo. “When I met Jayma, I was really blown away by her, because she’s this powerhouse entrepreneur. She’s been involved with every little detail and she approached me with the project and came up with the idea.”
Cardoso hosted pop-ups for Sotelo’s Thorsun brand between 2017 and 2019, and they partnered in 2018 on uniforms and upholstery for The Surf Lodge. In 2019, Sotelo joined Cardoso as creative director of the beach area and was later named creative director of the entire property at the beginning of 2020.
“I really enjoy working with him and he has excellent taste,” Cardoso said of Sotelo. “He spends a lot of time in Brazil where I’m from and I feel he has an interesting take on beach culture there.”
Sotelo optimistically said the change in pace allowed he and Cardoso to try out the new retail concept. Cardoso also said they plan to take the concept “on the road.”
She said, “We plan to take the concept to our annual pop-up at Art Basel Miami Beach and to our winter location, The Snow Lodge in Aspen.”