The Hamptons at the moment are in full swing, and Sylvia Wong is definitely feeling it because the proprietor of the Roundtree lodge in Amagansett. For the NYC legal professional, the street to hotelier was fairly circuitous however a pure transition given her love of journey.
After learning regulation at NYU, Wong started her profession at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a big regulation agency within the metropolis, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, representing shoppers who acquired or bought companies.
“As a younger lawyer, it was an unbelievable studying expertise to work alongside a few of America’s greatest legal professionals who’re clever, artistic and client-focused,” she stated, noting that though it was a demanding job, it helped her construct a powerful basis of expertise within the authorized and enterprise realms, in addition to private growth. “I feel again about these years with fond recollections.”
Wong then joined IBM and was primarily based in Asia for about 10 years. In 2012, she returned to New York and was appointed chief compliance officer, main the corporate’s worldwide ethics and compliance program.
Then, in 2015, one other turning level: Wong was employed by Western Know-how Funding, a non-public funding agency with a big actual property portfolio. As the corporate was trying to develop, hospitality grew to become an natural extension of their holdings, and Wong’s too.
“Journey has all the time been considered one of my passions,” she stated. “I used to be lucky to have the chance to go to many unbelievable locations world wide. Numerous great recollections are from visits to fascinating locations and stays at small motels that provide understated luxurious and wonderful service.”
It wasn’t Wong’s preliminary sport plan to open up store within the Hamptons, particularly, however a fortuitous on-line property itemizing modified all that in early 2019. At the moment, the now-hotel was a family-owned property known as Gansett Inexperienced Manor, and one winter weekend, she took the Hampton Jitney to see it firsthand. “The jitney stopped instantly throughout the road from the property. I nonetheless bear in mind the crispness of the air vividly — it was a fantastic, chilly day. Once I began to discover the property’s grounds, I instantly fell in love with it,” stated Wong, who co-invested within the buy of what would turn into the Roundtree with WTI. “Its expansive garden and the encompassing farmlands supply such a peaceable and tranquil atmosphere,” she added. “But it’s positioned proper on the principle road, near the great native retailers and eating places, and inside a brief stroll or bike journey from miles of lovely white sand seashores.”
Wong was additionally drawn to the historical past of the property. “It was the homestead of one of many first 4 households who settled in Amagansett across the 1650s — we now have a barn and several other cottages which are lots of of years outdated.”
After buying the property, the renovation course of proved fairly the feat. “There was a lot work that wanted to be finished and having so many historic constructions on the property made the method that rather more tedious,” stated Wong, noting the pandemic created a further set of hurdles.
“About halfway via the method, the state of New York suspended most development initiatives except for a really narrowly outlined group of initiatives, and we weren’t in a position to decide whether or not we have been in a position to proceed, so out of warning, we stopped with out realizing once we’d be capable to end and even resume the work we have been doing.” Finally, they have been in a position to full renovations simply behind their authentic schedule. In 2022, the Roundtree additionally unveiled the Seashore Home, a compound of two dwellings simply minutes from the principle property that have been as soon as owned by playwright Neil Simon.
The positioning overhaul was “equal elements nerve-racking and thrilling” with the pandemic exacerbating the challenges of debuting a lodge.
“Along with ensuring that our visitor expertise was every thing we wished it to be, we had to determine create an atmosphere that our company felt protected in and the way greatest to guard them. Within the early days of the pandemic, there was no rule e book to comply with,” Wong stated.
Fortunately, when the lodge opened its doorways in June 2020, every thing fell into place.
“We determined to take a easy method — do what we might usually do if we have been internet hosting buddies and family members. Once we opened, we had no reservations. We have been so busy that we didn’t even have time to fret,” she stated. “Very quickly, when the primary company discovered us, we have been met with an incredible quantity of appreciation and help from them.”
Of their first yr of enterprise, about 80% of their company got here from NYC and the tri-state space. Now, that makes up half their company, with the remaining trickling in from the West Coast, Texas, Florida and “recently fairly a couple of from Europe.
“For individuals who have a lifelong dream of opening an inn, Wong finds her secret sauce in remembering the little issues.
“In my thoughts, ardour, authenticity and a focus to particulars are some essential success elements,” she stated. “You should love what you do. It’s a demanding job, nevertheless it gained’t really feel prefer it whenever you get pleasure from it. Do your analysis and make the most of the sources which are accessible to you by way of private learnings, contacts and alternatives for mentorship.”
The entrepreneur additionally stresses the significance of studying from life experiences “to create a imaginative and prescient for what you need your visitor expertise to appear like and what you need company to remove from their time spent at your property.”
Within the course of of making the Roundtree, Wong had numerous folks inform her “that is all the time the way it’s finished.” Nonetheless, counting on her personal instinct to find out proper from flawed was invaluable.
“It’s necessary to take heed to recommendation however make your individual choices after that,” she stated. “Ask questions, be inquisitive and belief your intestine.”