Modern minimalism meets Maine, at the York Beach Surf Club

Located on the coast of southern Maine, the York Beach Surf Club, recently restored and reimagined, is a 52-key family-owned resort, deeply rooted in the unique history of northeast surfing culture and beach vacation hospitality…

round tables with mid century chairs in front of a fireplace looking across to seating and a window out to sea at cafe in York Beach Surf Club

The York Beach Surf Club was originally founded in 1963 as an organisation for local surfers by York’s own Sonny Perkins, a surfer who was pivotal in the overall emergence of east coast surf culture and the first surfer in the state of Maine. The property was given a new lease on life when Perkins’ son, Taylor Perkins purchased the property in 2020. Conducting the largest restoration in the region in two decades, the hotel was re-envisioned by Perkins’ own design team, The Surf Company, as ‘Scandinavian Modern Maine,’ melding modern minimalist Scandinavian style with the spirit of Maine’s traditional coastal architecture.

hotel lobby with wooden floor and vintage surf board with grey wooden bar and orange barstools

Image credit: Read McKendree

Drawing from the inspiration of the rich history, York Beach Surf Club’s revitalisation features 52 brand-new guestrooms and bungalows, a heated salt water pool and pool bar and an oceanfront lawn space for its raw oyster and cocktail bar the Rolling Pearl, a fully restored vintage 1964 International Harvester milk truck. With multiple outlets serving food and beverage offerings, the property boasts an all-day cafe and bar serving locally sourced seafood, a coffee bar by Daybreaker Coffee Company serving espresso cocktails dawn to dusk, and in-room dining available to guests staying at the resort.

Guests will also enjoy coastal amenities and unique-to-the-property experiences, such as on-site surf lessons with a private instructor and harvest moon wine pairings on the lawn. A forthcoming full-service restaurant will debut later in the summer season.

vintage caravan serving coffee and oysters next to seating and fairylights at York Beach surf Club hotel

Image credit: Read McKendree

With a fresh, new exterior, the design of the property celebrates surf culture. From the natural wood bands around the perimeter of the Waverider  building indicative of the stringers in a surfboard to the coral doors, each aspect of the design was crafted specifically to evoke the art of board making. Every guest room offers its own distinct vantage point of the ocean or the resort’s grounds. Taking its cues from the York and southern Maine surf culture, the property’s design depicts the evolution of surfing’s emergence from the 1960s to today, through the meticulously designed decor pieces and materials, showcasing depth and discovery of the property’s unique origin story.

The entrance to check in at York Beach Surf Club in the Oceanfront building combines a mix of materials that reflect coastal Maine, such as Maine cedar accents, gray wood floors and bold black fixtures. As guests check in, they will notice around the check-in desk classic 1960’s longboards, which have been surfed by the founding members of the York Beach Surf Club. Artwork in the hallways comes from Perkins’ own original photography collections as well as the collections of the original York surfers, spotlighting photos of the Surf Club throughout the years on York Beach and giving guests a nostalgic and authentic representation of how surfing came into its own in the ’60s. Sitting next to the front desk in the lobby is a balsa surfboard that belongs to Sonny Perkins, signed by every living member of the York Beach Surf Club and visiting surfers over the years.

swimming pool with loungers in the water, striped umbrellas and a built bar with orange chairs

Image credit: Read McKendree

Pineapple Poolside Café, the heated salt-water pool and pool bar, will be a guest-only amenity. Melding the upbeat energy of a classic pool bar with the idyllic nature of New England summer, The Pineapple Poolside Café will feature a pool-specific menu where patrons will sample specialty drinks, such as the Palm Tree In Maine frozen cocktail and various small plates served fresh to their chaise lounge. Each F&B outlet will serve cocktails specifically designed for the Surf Club by Tales of the Cocktail finalists Ben Clemons, a York native and Jamie White of The Pearl Diver in Nashville, Tennessee.

an aparthotel style cottage at York Beach surf club with scandi style furniture, a blue retro fridge and vintage photographs

Image credit: Read McKendree

The 42 guestrooms and ten bungalows all feature indoor and outdoor spaces, each of which has been meticulously crafted for each guest’s experience by The Surf Company team, from outdoor patios at the bungalows to balconies in each hotel room with ocean or pool views. With multiple nodes around the property playing host to fire pits and Adirondack chairs, patrons and guests will cosy up to the warmth of an evening fire with the custom blankets designed specifically for the Surf Club. A walking trail throughout the resort grounds provides guests an opportunity to take morning strolls with their pup the full property is dog friendly or evening walks down to the beach and enjoy the crisp Maine air.

After hours, the pool transcends into a festive party atmosphere, where the poolside bar turns into a nighttime scene exclusively available for guests of the hotel to enjoy. Sounds from the house DJ will be hosted on weekends and for special nightlife events exclusive to guests of the Surf Club.

guestroom with views onto the beach and the surf with white linen and a leather couch

Image credit: Read McKendree

Each room features hand-built, custom furniture designed by The Surf Company’s own design team for the property, including white oak headboards, custom valet and closet combos, garment racks and small benches near the entry. All photography showcased in the rooms is from the archives of Sonny Perkins, showcased to the general public for the first time in 50 years.

The modern and coastal nuances combine to create calm interiors that blend with the beauty of the surrounding landscape, from thoughtful surfing-inspired design touches in each room, to private outdoor areas with outdoor showers in the bungalows, to communal fire pits with grilling platforms available for all guests.

Located in the heart of York, Maine, the property is part of the beach’s emergence as a narration of East Coast surfing in the 1960’s. As a locale for summer migration with a permanent influx of immigrants and travellers over the last few hundred years, York inevitably found itself at the front line of 60s surf culture, concurrent with the craze created by the Beatles and the Californication of 60s youth.

Today, generational travellers flock to southern Maine’s coast and the town of York for the iconic surfing, beaches, lighthouses, golf courses and freshly caught coastal cuisine.

Main image credit: Read McKendree