NEW KDHamptons Lifestyle Diary: Queen of The Surf Lodge, Jayma Cardoso


A native of Brazil, Jayma Cardoso came to New York over 20 years ago to study at Rutgers University with little money and no friends. “During MY first summer here, I talked my way into a nightclub job at Boom in Bridgehampton, by saying I was an expert bartender and had a place to stay in the Hamptons for the season (neither was true).”  She has since worked her way up the hospitality chain to become one of the most innovative operators of nightclubs and restaurants from Manhattan to Montauk where she holds court at her most successful venture, The Surf Lodge.

Now in its tenth season, Cardoso and the Surf Lodge show no signs of slowing down, but now, with her son John, she has a different set of priorities. Wellness and healthy living are at the forefront. See what a day in Jayma’s sandals is like in this new KDHamptons Lifestyle Diary, below..

KDHamptons: What does a typical day look like for you?  Share your bullet list…
Jayma: Okay, here goes..
*I feed a very hungry little boy, my son John Alexander, and trust me this is his priority number one.
*I make some time for myself doing either pilates or working out with a trainer
*Meditate for at least 10 minutes
*Off to the office in the city or at the hotel. Each day is formulated, I meet with different departments where we review and take on the tasks at hand
*Sometimes lunch, often not, and instead work through the day
*Head home to make dinner. Again, for a very hungry little boy. Sometimes family or friends are over for dinner.
*Read my son to sleep
*Review messages on my cell. I still dream of the day I’ve answered all texts and emails.

KDHamptons: What has been the highlight of your summer personally and the highlight of surf lodge?
Jayma:  Each summer is filled with highlights, whether its having a big artist perform at the hotel, to different events we host, but honestly I find the most satisfaction when I see our guests smiling. Happy guests and making someone say Wow! is always my biggest highlight.

Jayma and her partners bought a dilapidated motel in the then sleepy hamlet of Montauk in 2008 and transformed it into The Surf Lodge. The hot hotel, restaurant, and concert venue spearheaded the transformation of Montauk into a global jet set destination.

KDHamptons: How has your vision for The Surf Lodge evolved?
Jayma:  In many ways I think the vision I’ve had for The Surf Lodge is still the same. I wanted it to feel like it’s part of Montauk, to use it as a shared place for artists, music, wellness and food. I really wanted the hotel to be more of a cultural experience where friends gather. I think the next evolution is expanding.

KDHamptons: So what’s up next?
Jayma: Ideally, opening hotels in a couple of locations. I’ve spent a long time searching and making sure the next project feels right. I think we have a couple projects that make sense, so hopefully we will be adding another family member, as I think of The Surf Lodge.

KDHamptons: What are your three favorite “off campus” spots for dinner / drinks?
Jayma: Crows Nest (above) to have a drink at look out at Lake Montauk, Dave’s Gone Fishing for the smoked tuna spread, St. Peter’s Catch to load up on picnic snacks to have at the beach.

KDHamptons: Are you are surfing girl?
Jayma:  I have surfed. The northern Atlantic is a bit cold for me and now I find myself happier visiting with friends and family on the beach.

KDHamptons: You now offer a full program of wellness classes, talks, and dining at the Surf Lodge, what inspired this?
Jayma:  I’m all about balance these days. It’s ok to have a drink or two, eat a great meal, and have fun with your friends, as long as you take care of your body, mind, and soul.

KDHamptons: What does the off season look like for you? 
Jayma: The off season involves exploring the world to get fresh ideas to bring home for The Surf Lodge. We have lot’s of prep work for our Art Basel pop-up in Miami in December. I spend time reviewing possible expansion projects. And, schockingly, I spend a lot of time preparing for the next summer. Summer is such a short window, I try to prepare in advance as much as possible to make sure we make the most of it. This fall, I’m opening Mailroom in lower Manhattan which is a project I’m doing in conjunction with WeLive. It’s a fun place to have delicious drinks and dance to great music.

KDHamptons: What is your summer uniform? Favorite designer?
Jayma:  ReDesign jean shorts, a pair of Tibi Hallie sandals, a white blouse and a pair of Amalfi sunglasses by Illesteva