Gary and Sylvia Muller met at the Memory Motel in Montauk in 1995. The name turned out to be prophetic: Not only would they go on to build a lifetime of memories together, but they’d devote their lives to creating memorable experiences for other visitors to the Hamptons.
At the time, Gary was a three-star chef and restaurateur with properties in Jersey City and Manhattan, and Sylvia was an international television executive working for the BBC in New York. But as they fell in love with each other while spending weekends in the Hamptons, they fell hard for the area as well. Both were ready for the next act in their lives. Gary was starting to feel like the restaurant industry wasn’t quite enough for him. “People would love their meal and have a wonderful time, but then they’d go home,” he says. “I wanted to take care of them longer.” An inn seemed like the perfect way to delight guests for more than just dinner—and to move to the Hamptons full time.
Sylvia had spent most of her childhood summers staying in the small luxury inns of Italy with her grandparents, art history professors at Smith College, and her mother, a teacher and translator. (“You know the pension from the movie, A Room with a View?” she asks. “That room in the title—that was my mother’s room!”) A passionate photographer, Sylvia brought her artistic eye and her marketing savvy to the partnership, while Gary offered his expertise in the hospitality business and F&B. So when a historic property in East Hampton became available in 1999, they jumped at the chance to own it, and with eco-conscious Sylvia acting as the “instigator of green,” and hospitality expert/chef Gary as the “advocate of excellence,” the Mill House Inn was reborn as one of the finest small hotels in the world. No one would ever call it a motel, but it is a place where joyful memories are made every day. And guests who stay there would agree, Gary and Sylvia’s Montauk meeting was the beginning of something wonderful, not just for the couple, but for anyone who stays at the Mill House Inn.
Gary’s Favorite Place in the Hamptons: “I love East Hampton Village after a snowstorm in February, when it’s very quiet.”
Sylvia’s Favorite Place in the Hamptons: “Strolling the Walking Dunes in Napeague Harbor when the monarch butterflies are migrating through—it’s magical.”