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Shou Sugi Ban House in Water Mill to offer wellness retreats 

The Japanese-style sanctuary with all-inclusive program opens May 16.

Amy Cherry Abitbol, founder and CEO of Shou

Amy Cherry Abitbol, founder and CEO of Shou Sugi Ban House in Water Mill, poses outside one of the Asian-styled wellness retreat's eight buildings. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Water Mill resident Amy Cherry Abitbol says she finds people are increasingly stressed by today’s fast-paced world, so she’s taken the concept of a “respite” in the Hamptons to a new level.

Abitbol helped found what she says is Long Island’s first wellness retreat — Shou Sugi Ban House — an eight building, 13-room spa and retreat with minimalistic Asian-inspired décor on 3 acres in Water Mill next to the Parrish Art Museum. She describes the facility as “a private sanctuary, a place of quiet and undeclared beauty that speaks to serenity and balance.”

Shou Sugi Ban House opens May 16 and features individual guest studios, a main barn for gathering and sharing meals, a healing arts barn and tea lounge, an open-air movement pavilion, a luxury spa and hydrotherapy pools. Also on the property are winding pathways, reflective pools, a ceremonial fire circle, stone water features, a meditation hall, a library, fountains and a dining orchard.

It’s “a landscape inspired by the local dunescape and Japanese gardens that allows guests to connect with the natural world around them,” says Abitbol, who is CEO and co-founder with Manhattan resident Kathleen Kapnick. “These spaces are tranquil, calming environments, free from clutter and distractions, that nurture guests on their journey of personal discovery.”

Abitbol, who has had a home   in Water Mill for two decades and lived in Japan for several years, describes herself as having “a lifelong connection to Japanese culture and resonance with wabi-sabi sensibilities.” Wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. She says it was the “beauty and light” of the Hamptons that inspired her to create Shou Sugi Ban House.

Abitbol’s silent partner, Kapnick, spent 12 years in Europe and became interested in alternative medicine, which is prevalent there, according to information provided by Kapnick. Kapnick believes in using food as medicine, embraces all aspects of nutrition and considers herself a beauty-product junkie. Abitbol and Kapnick are longtime friends who shared the vision of creating a wellness sanctuary.

All-inclusive, four-day programs start at $4,650, and are designed and led by experts to meet each visitor’s needs, Abitbol notes.

“Every element is considered, each activity carefully chosen — from healing treatments to workshops, nutrition, meditation and movement — all are selected in support of a wellness experience that is as unique as the individual embarking upon it,” Abitbol says. She adds that the retreat “embodies global wellness and healing arts practices for guests in pursuit of integrative wellness featuring holistic living, nutrition, fitness, meditation, hydrotherapy, and face and body care.

Programs include daily hikes, movement and meditation classes, healing arts, massage, skin and body care, hydrotherapy, nutrient-rich meals, culinary demonstrations and fireside ceremonies.

Visitors are invited to “disconnect from the everyday and return to the simplicity of self,” Abitbol says.

WHAT Shou Sugi Ban House, an eight-building wellness retreat and spa

WHEN | WHERE Opening May 16, 337 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill

INFO 631-500-9049, ext. 702, shousugibanhouse.com

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