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“Gay Gardens” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Belvedere Hotel

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Belvedere Hotel
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Bayview Walk, Cherry Grove, Fire Island, NY 11782   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Cherry Grove
New York, NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Gay Gardens”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2010

I’ve had a love affair with this hotel from afar since I started going to Fire Island and finally had to stay there. I’m in my early 30s, low maintenance, and have an appreciation for history (and kitsch) so I thought it would be fun. The place met expectations but was a disappointment in the end. The hotel is maze-like with artifacts of bygone eras strewn about the common areas and suites. It really does feel like someone’s personal home. True to form, you realize quickly that the corridors stop short right before the nicest/most publicized areas, which are reserved only for certain luxury suites and/or the owner/staff. Further adding to the disappointment, the rest of the spaces, including the rooms, show their age and could probably be so much more with proper care. As far as the clientele, everyone I met (a handful of people, not great for a prime July weekend) was very nice, mostly 40s-50s, first-timers and returners with the same love-affair/morbid curiosity with the place. There’s an undercurrent of seediness (it’s Cherry Grove after all) but it was never uncomfortable, except maybe from the staff. Final recommendation, if you’ve admired the place from afar like I had, keep doing that until they renovate – the mystery is more intriguing than seeing the place up close and personal. With owner John Eberhardt’s advanced age, and no apparent heirs, however, I’d be curious what will become of the place; it may see a wrecking ball before a renovation.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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72 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    22
    21
    9
    7
    13
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Families
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1
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2009

I have stayed at this hotel a couple of times now and it seens the experience it getting worse every time. It is th emost expensive place to stay out there, but the rooms are filthy, the hotel itself deteriorating, and my friend in another room got BEDBUGS or scapies!!

Owners are rude and disinterested!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Travelers are raving about these Cherry Grove hotels

Brooklyn
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2009

We are a young couple in our mid 20's and just recently came back from the Belvedere for the Labor Day Weekend. Forget the negative reviews posted here, it's clean, friendly, relaxing, and hands down the best place to stay on the island. The pool and hot tub are great, the staff is friendly, and we've made friends with several of the guests. The rooms are a variety of themes, each comfortable and beautiful. We've been many times, and will definitely be coming back again and again.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Kitzbuhel, Austria
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2009

This place gets mixed reviews. Yes, the location is great. The place itself is horrible.
No air-con, the whole place is filthy, there is no description, the hotel is falling apart
in many places (i.e. our terrace) , it needs a complete renovation . It is the worst place I
ever stayed in.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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NYC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2009

A few caveats: It's expensive, more than a bit worn at the edges, men-only and clothing-optional. Don't be surprised if you bump into guys having sex in shared public areas. The service is minimal. The rooms are tiny. And you must, must, must spring for a "luxury" room with a deck on the bay. But despite all that, I always love staying at the Belvedere. It's wonderfully gaudy, isolated and romantic, and there's nothing else like it. Know what to expect and you'll have a great time there.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Yardley, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2009

This is probably one of the worst hotel experiences ever. No air conditioning!! Very hot and uncomfortable. The rooms stink of mold and mildew. We stayed in the rotunda room. It seems there has not been a room upate since the 70s. They supply nothing. No shampoo. Just soap. The rooms are worn and dirty. Cobwebs everywhere. Cable spotty. If you are looking for a budget hotel with a large price, you have found it.

  • Stayed August 2009
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2009

Fire Island is my favorite beach resort on Earth. The Belvedere is, without a doubt, my favorite place to stay when I'm there.

I won't go into details about the layout of the Belvedere, as they have a wonderful website that beautifully conveys how magnificent this "mansion at the beach" really is. Go to www.belvederefireisland.com. Instead, I'll describe how magical the Belvedere can be, especially if you have been going there for a while. (I've been visiting the Belvedere for almost twenty years.)

I live in Manhattan, so the Belvedere is especially welcome due to the short amount of time it takes me to get there (two and a half hours if you time everything right). It is truly a world unto itself.

The rooms are all individually designed. None of them look alike. I've either stayed overnight in all of them or at least visited them. My favorites are the Blue Room, the Eagle Room, the Water Room and the Ludwig, but all of them have their own certain charm. There is something in every price range.

The rooms are spotlessly maintained. Do not believe otherwise, no matter what is posted here.

Belvedere is wonderfully positioned between Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines, almost smack dab in the middle. Depending on what you're looking for, you can be partying in either one of these communities after a fifteen-to-twenty minute walk. You can be on the beach in under five minutes.

What to say about the views of the Great South Bay? "Awe-inspiring" doesn't do them justice. I've watched fireworks at night from the Upper Deck, and sunsets from the Back Deck. Add a cocktail or six and you are truly in your own universe.

The staff is uniformly friendly, accommodating, handsome and non-judgmental. I can't say enough about the Belvedere boys. They will spoil you if you let them. They are very patient, hard-working guys.

Craig and Julian quietly run the Belvedere like a well-oiled machine, but you would never know this unless you're observant about that type of thing. It's one of the best managed businesses I've ever seen.

OK, some sentimentality is in order:

The hot tub. The hot tub is sublime. I have written about this hot tub. In fact, the hot tub inspired to write about Fire Island itself, and in particular, the Belvedere. Guess what? What started out on a napkin at a Cherry Grove bar became a trilogy of screenplays that I'm feverishly trying to sell. No joke. You will fall in love with the hot tub. And the pool. It's particularly bracing to go back and forth from the hot tub to the wonderfully cool pool. The hot tub and the pool are worth the price alone.

The male nudity. The Belvedere is clothing optional. Not everyone takes advantage of that, which is not an issue at all. But kudos to the guys that do! Eye candy for days. You will find it hard not to look, and they want you to look, so look!

The gym. The gym is well-maintained and generously supplied. Pump up before you go out . Or just watch the half-naked guys do their thing. It is all very wholesome. Ahem.

The outdoor shower near the pool, a relatively new feature of the Belvedere. THIS IS HEAVEN. The water is always as hot as you so desire. It's the only way to start the day on Fire Island. There is also another great outdoor shower on the second floor, but you must book one of the rooms near it on the deck in order to use it, as far as I know. I've just been using the new shower near the pool, as it is communal.

The sleep. CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. I have gotten the best sleep in my life at the Belvedere, without question. You'll just melt in those beds. I'm a night owl, and more than once, I've just gone to bed early to luxuriate in those beds. Also, it's a change of pace for me to get up and watch the sunrise.

Feeding the Ducks, the Seagulls and the Swans off the Back Deck. This is a personal favorite. I find it very soothing. The Ducks, the Seagulls and the Swans especially like a torn-up peanut butter sandwich, although they will eat almost anything (the Ducks can be a little picky). The Ducks tend to cowtow to the Seagulls and the Swans, but this is not always the case. It can get pretty cutthroat.

Impromptu Parties. I've had such fun with those. There's nothing like partying with a bunch of relaxed gay men with bottles of booze strewn about and good music playing. And of course, parties can lead to pair-offs. The impromptu parties at the Belvedere have led to some of the most fabulous moments of my life.

Other amenities that I really appreciate are handy microwaves on each floor, continually well-stocked ice machines, a soda machine, a centrally located computer, TVs if you're in the mood (depending on the room, but there is a community TV on the Upper Deck) and lovely flowers everywhere. There is also a gorgeously designed courtyard near the back entrance.

There is also a community library with plenty of books. This is particularly terrific if it rains, although I've always taken time to watch the rain from inside the Belvedere. A Fire Island rainstorm can be a thing of beauty. I remember a particularly wild night in the early season (May) when there were only a few of us at the Belvedere, and I walked around the entire hotel (not drunk, but not exactly sober) watching the lightning illuminate the various statues and paintings everywhere. It was WILD. I thought Vincent Price was gonna pop out and go "BOO" at any minute. The Belvedere has given me dozens, maybe hundreds of memories like that.

I would be bereft without the Belvedere, I guess you can tell.

At the Belvedere I met one of the best friends I've ever had to this day. I've never had a bad experience of any kind here and never actually witnessed one either. Anyone with a soul is transformed once they walk through the doors of this place. Checking in here will take years off your life (especially if you've been here before and you know what's waiting for you.)

Well, I guess you tell I'm a fan of the Belvedere, which is an understatement. To close, I'll just say this: Entering the Belvedere to begin your stay is like coming home. Leaving the Belvedere you will be sad but satisfied and already planning your next stay.

The Belvedere is a classic. I am so glad I discovered it. You will be too, I guarantee it.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belvedere Hotel

Address: Bayview Walk, Cherry Grove, Fire Island, NY 11782
Location: United States > New York > Long Island > Fire Island > Cherry Grove
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Cherry Grove
Number of rooms: 36
Also Known As:
Belvedere Hotel Cherry Grove
Belvedere Hotel Fire Island/Cherry Grove

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