A look at the new Fire Island Beach House, set to open June 25 in Ocean Bay Park


Farewell to the Fire Island Hotel, and hello Fire Island Beach House.

The Fire Island Beach House, located at 25 Cayuga Street in Ocean Bay Park, will be newly renovated and ready to open on June 25. 

First, the location served as a former lifeboat station in the early 1900s, then the Fire Island Hotel and Resort took over the property for almost 30 years — now, George Breres and his team are transforming the spot into a boutique hotel with a “chill, beach vibe.”

Breres, owner of the Fire Island Beach House, said the idea started at the home he owned at 7 Cayuga Street, just a few steps away from the original Fire Island Hotel. 

“We saw some opportunity there, saw that Ed who was there for — I wanna say — 29 years he owned the place, he had been doing a lot on his own with updating and upkeep,” Breres said. “We would go there and say this place could be awesome.” 

Fire Island Beach House is run by a team of six, Breres said, and a few of them have previous experience running a couple of places in Montauk. He said they looked at the current trends in the hotel industry and decided the Ocean Bay Park location would be the perfect place to make some updates and improvements. 

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They raised some money from investors, and after two years they bought the place in January. However, the project derailed for a bit due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“We immediately started building, and then the world ended and we got crushed,” Breres said. “We took a pause for about 30 or 40 days, but now we’re back on track.” 

According to the reopening stages in place by the state, hotels can begin to reopen in Phase 3, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Forward re-opening plan.

The plan to open the 41-room hotel by the end of June is still set. 

the renovations

The Fire Island Beach House will offer king standard rooms, two queen standard rooms, beach lounge suites, suites, beach bungalows, and duplex beach cabins. 

As of the end of May, the owner said the exteriors to the main lobby are finished, as well as the renovations to the eight rooms within the building. 

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Photo by Ana Borruto.

The main Boat House building has eight refurbished rooms, excluding the bathrooms. The lodge building has five, newly redone suites, and the Watch Tower building — which Breres said is the largest on the property and holds 19 rooms — was completely renovated. 

The four duplex beach cabins were renovated by the previous owner around three years ago, so they will have new paint, new light fixtures, and new furniture. 

“Every room got touched in some way,” Breres said. “19 out of the 40 rooms are going to have brand new bathrooms as well.” 

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As far as landscaping goes, anywhere there was grass or sand on the property was replaced by artificial turf. 

“We’ll be able to put picnic tables, lounges, outdoor fire pits,” he said. “Just make it really more like a chill, boho-hippie surfer vibe — trying to get away from the nautical vibe.” 

The former Hurricanes Bar and Grill that was nearby got a full makeover: new furniture, new kitchen equipment, new chef. Breres said there had always been a prominent barrier between the restaurant and the hotel, but now the spaces are merged into one property to make it more like a resort feel. 

The new restaurant, Canes at the FIBH Restaurant, will be a “nod” to the notable restaurant. 

“When you step in and check-in, we want you to be able to feel like you have opportunities to have a drink you can charge it to your room, go to the pool and have a server wait on you,” he said. “We just want to make it a lot easier for you people and a lot more approachable.” 

Breres said having two young children himself, he wanted the hotel to have a balance between the day-time party scene and a family-friendly scene.  

“We’ve tried to create spaces where the kids can go, have a snack, they can chill out on the turf and we can go hang out by the pool and have a drink,” he said. “If you want a drink, if you want to have some fun at the pool, if you want to have a good meal, you shouldn’t have to leave.” 

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The Fire Island Beach House’s pool will be free for guests only. Those who want to use the pool who are not guests will be charged a minimal resort fee, which has not been determined yet.

In the past, for example, people would come off the beach into the hotel and use the bathrooms since there are no public restrooms in Ocean Bay Park. Some would visit Hurricanes to get a drink and then use the pool. 

Breres said they want to avoid being a “truck stop” for people — they want to create a comfortable and valuable experience for everyone.

He said he wants outsiders to feel welcome to enjoy the property if they decide to visit and the Fire Island Beach House will provide them with whatever they need. He hopes visitors can turn into future guests. 

“Let’s say the resort fee is $50, we’re just saying we want you to spend at least $50 on our premises,” he said. “We know some people have been coming there for a long time and have been kind of using the property, so if you want to come in and have a beer, or you want to use the pool, we want to give you enough options to want to be there.” 

COVID-19 response 

Breres and his team have been listening to what the state and Suffolk County have been telling hotel operators. They were also following how big-name brands, such as the Marriot and the Hilton, have responded to this crisis. 

The owner said FIBH has amended its cancellation policy, so whatever the case may be, guests can cancel within 72 hours of arrival penalty-free. 

“Whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable getting on a plane, or the railroad, or getting on the ferry, or you just can’t get there, you have until three days upon your arrival to get a full refund,” he said. 

On the property, FIBH is using strong cleaning supplies recommended by the state health department to disinfect all the common areas, like doorknobs, handles rails, and light switches. 

Public spaces will be sanitized as well and all staff is required to wear PPE gear until the state gives the all-clear. Staff will have their temperatures checked and Breres said even if a staff member’s temperature is slightly elevated, they will be sent home.

Guests may have their temperatures checked upon arrival too. 

Sanitizing stations will be set up around the common areas, restaurant, and lobby. Breres said they will follow the rules of social distancing in accordance with what the state permits within the next couple of months. 

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The Fire Island Beach House started taking reservations in February, but when the pandemic hit, people weren’t booking as much due to the uncertainty circling this summer.

In May, the reservations picked back up once the weather started changing. 

Breres said he believes, come the launch date, The Fire Island Beach House will be in a good spot to serve the tri-state area. He said he is banking on the fact that they will be a newly renovated hotel that you don’t need to take a plane to. 

He said once people see the effort that went into the renovations and the care going into preventative measures to make people feel safe to stay, he thinks the Fire Island Beach House will be very appealing. 

“Whether you’ve been affected by a job loss, a personal loss, or you’ve just been cooped up in your house for three months, I think people are really going to want to get away,” Breres said.

All rendered photos provided by George Breres and FIBH.