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Finding (The) Sanctuary in Montauk

If you find yourself in Montauk this September, The Surf Lodge’s The Sanctuary is holding space for your — and  your gym bag’s — wellbeing…

Montauk, in spite of its growing incantation as a thriving summer mecca, remains peaceful at heart — accepting and resilient, and quick to revert into a sleepy sort of existence once the annual migration of city folk subsides. “The End,” nicknamed that because Montauk sits at the literal end of Long Island, beckons people to come back again and again and again. The Surf Lodge’s Sanctuary co-founder Marisa Hochberg was no exception.

The Sanctuary faces a unique challenge in stimulating Montauk’s summer guests while appeasing its native residents. Marisa and Surf Lodge owner Jayma Cardoso did their homework, curating a well-rounded and inviting space for healing and community-building. Including the opportunity for brand partnerships, through which Free People was and is humbled to have taken part. Earlier this summer, we hosted six yoga classes in The Sanctuary and installed an FP Movement pop-up in their shop (which is there through September, if you’re passing through)! 

We spoke to Marisa about what led her to Montauk and what she aspired — and aspires — to achieve in this idyllic location.


Marisa, how did a personal struggle with weight influence your desire to make wellness more accessible? In this case, to the revolving community of Montauk? 

As soon as I completed my personal weight loss journey, my life changed entirely for the better. And it became my mission to help others do the same. beginning with the curation of wellness programs structured off of my own lifestyle changes. I began the wellness program at The Surf Lodge, but carried a more substantial vision (along with Jayma, who is also my partner on The Sanctuary) — to bring a much larger wellness center to the Montauk community, which manifested itself this summer as The Sanctuary! 

The Sanctuary makes perfect sense as an offshoot of the Surf Lodge (despite the building’s beginnings as a dive bar!). How did you gauge what your customers would want/need?

We have led a strong on-site wellness program The Surf Lodge for years. We identified what was well-received by our guests and those wellness program offered, and built off of that. Additionally, we conducted a lot of market research to better understand what is trending in the health and wellness space, and thought it would make for a great addition to the Montauk community. 

What’s been your greatest challenge/reward in opening The Sanctuary?

The greatest challenge in opening The Sanctuary has been time! We decided last March to begin this project and, between signing a lease, construction, partnerships and buildout, it has been non-stop! We are so fortunate that everything turned out well and just in time for the season. Our greatest reward has been seeing so many visitors in Montauk AND locals of all demographics visit our space. It’s amazing to see people walk into The Sanctuary, take a new fitness class, purchase activewear and clean beauty, and walk out feeling a bit better about themselves. 

Marisa Hochberg.

You’ve been gracious enough to host FP Movement in The Sanctuary until summer’s end. What made you gravitate toward a collaboration with Free People?

Free People felt like a natural fit for a Sanctuary partner. The brand is cool, sustainable and also very on brand with the ethos of Montauk — a balance of laid-back and chic. The Free People team arranged for some awesome programming to The Sanctuary earlier this summer. It really brought the space to life, and we could not be more grateful for this partnership!

Five words that best sum up the experience that is The Surf Lodge Sanctuary:

Educational, transformational, inviting, comforting, loving.

What to look for in The Sanctuary’s future:

We are excited to be explore partnerships for the off-season. We’re also looking to take The Sanctuary to other cities! Stay tuned! 😃 

Five of your go-to wellness tips:

Always eat breakfast. Get enough sleep. Hydrate! Be kind. Always pack a healthy snack in your bag — you never know where you’ll end up! 

What makes Montauk most special to you?

I started coming to Montauk when I was a baby and spent every weekend of my childhood summers there. It is truly a part of who I am. All of my childhood memories stem from summers in Montauk, and I feel lucky that I was able to be a part of the “old” Montauk, but also see it change and understand its transformation so that I can establish partnerships that are true to the nature of the area.

Here for more FP Movement.


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