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“Defending, while explaining, Belvedere” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Belvedere Hotel

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Belvedere Hotel
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Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Cherry Grove
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Defending, while explaining, Belvedere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

I've been going to the Belvedere on an off for a couple of decades, and want to give the old place a few words of defense and explanation.

To the lesbian couple from April 28, 2013: I am sorry you were treated rudely on the phone - there really is no excuse for that, ever. (That may sound like it's written by an employee or manager, but no - I'm just a long-time customer.) That being said, I reject the idea that you were 'discriminated' against any more than men are discriminated against in Michigan's Women's Festival where my lesbian sister met her partner, and where the presence of men would completely change/ruin the atmosphere. I have no trouble understanding that, and I'm sure the ladies from Aug. 28 can understand how the presence of women at this clothing-optional, all-men gay resort would completely change the dynamic THERE. In any event, to give the Belvedere lowest marks in every category, when in fact your entire experience of them was one phone-call, or to title your post "Rude obnoxious staff" (how many of the staff did you meet again?) is extremely disingenuous.

Though the current owners are working to try to bring the Belvedere closer in line with what one normally expects from a summer resort, the Belvedere is NOT that, and it's important to understand that right up front. The building that houses the Belvedere is one man's architectural fantasy, furnished and decorated lavishly but through THEATRICAL means, as though it were a stage-set. It's a big, complicated old wood building by the sea, filled with inexpensive antiques, brimming with decorative trompe l'oeil painting on almost every wall and ceiling, and created from a very rich imagination. It is absolutely wonderful IN ITS WAY, but it is not a 5-star marble & ormolu resort with a huge cleaning staff. It has a small, all-gay, homey staff with a somewhat relaxed attitude, and guests need to have the same. I have always had a great time there, but you need to know that, if you are sharing a bath, it might not be perfectly spotless (the staff will get to it eventually, and in the meantime, you can use one of the other shared baths), sometimes there are mosquitoes around - the house is basically built over a swamp - there is no kind of food service in the house, your room will probably not be touched during your entire stay... there are always aspects of the Belvedere that are like camping out. This is not a bad thing - just make sure you realize that ahead of time.

The Belvedere is also not filled with hot young circuit-party types - they are all over in the Pines, though examples of the species do find their way into the Belvedere. But the Belvedere clientele matches that of the (male portion of) Cherry Grove - more 'normal people' of every shape and size - including, yes, 'hot', but only in 'normal' percentiles.

As you might expect in a gay men's clothing-optional guest-house, it's pretty easy to get involved in some sexy shenanigans while you're there, and that's one of its main reasons for existing. Indeed, you can stumble on such shenanigans anywhere on the property, at any time of day or night, but you can also go several days and see nothing. Needless to say, nobody is required to go around nude, or pressured to be involved in any 'fun' they stumble on. It really is all VERY relaxed there. So you need to have that same attitude.

The Belvedere is not expensive - it is exactly what the market will bear. The fact that it can charge "so much" for weekends and holidays, and still be completely full, is all the proof it needs.

The Belvedere doesn't need air-conditioning - Cherry Grove really isn't an 'air conditioning' kind of place. Ocean breezes, the smell of the pines, etc…. Use your fan, open your window. The rooms are small, yes - but the public areas are quite spacious, indoors and out, and that's where you'll want to be hanging out. People don't go to the Belvedere to hang out in their rooms.

<<This place is a total dump. Do not believe the pictures on their site. This place is full of disgusting old men.>> ...Obviously written by one of our circuit-party brothers. No, the place is not a dump - it's what I've described above. DO believe the pictures on their site (well, except for the ones draped in a half-dozen super-hot porn-stars - THOSE are just advertising, silly!), but know what you're looking at - it's theatrical set-design you're seeing, and it is VERY well and creatively done. And much (not all) of the crowd IS older, and not as body-conscious as the guys over in the Pines - but I keep discovering more and more how many ‘older’ guys who are very accomplished in their fields - musicians, actors, artists - love the Belvedere, and go every year. You can have some great conversations while sitting in the hottub at cocktail hour. OR get your thingie diddled. Or both....

I love the Belvedere - have many, many very happy memories there, and most of my memories include that wonderful, sun-filled, relaxed atmosphere to the place. I have a read a number of the bad reviews here, and every time, I'm realizing there was a misunderstanding of what the Belvedere IS and what it's offering on the part of the customer. I hope this review can clear some of that up.

Room Tip: It probably is best to get a room that opens to the outside in one way or another - a few rooms only...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
19 Thank PalladianAdvocate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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91 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    36
    22
    10
    9
    14
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Families
0
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15
1
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

Buddy and I stayed at the Belvedere Guest House for the first time during Memorial Day weekend. Our stay was enjoyable. We stay in a luxury room because we wanted our own bathroom (instead of sharing with other guests). The room was small but nice. There's no air conditioning but it wasn't really necessary in late May as the room was waterfront. The carpet could use replacing but otherwise the room was nice. The property is great but needs updating/renovating. Staff were courteous and attentive. The guest house is close enough to shops/bars without being too close.

Room Tip: Luxury rooms are waterfront and have their own bath (as opposed to shared bathroom). A bit pricey, t...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jonnycol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Bermuda
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

I was at the Belvedere 6 to the 10 of Sep.2012 staff was very nice my room was nice and clean yes it was a little run down in parts but still had a nice look about it i would be happy to good back and stay the next time i go to Fire Island verynice pool area was very nice i had a good time and would like to thanks the staff for give me a very nice weekend at the hotel.

Room Tip: room on the south side are quieter and nice.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank morizz1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

The staff were incredibly friendly, couldn't fault them really, the pool area is lovely as are some of the decking areas and courtyard. The overall look of the hotel I really quite liked. Its a really nice relaxed no attitude style atmosphere.

That said though the hotel does feel a little run down in parts, the bedrooms smells a bit foisty, beds could do with some nice new clean crisp white sheeting all this I really wouldn't have mentioned if the price wasn't so high, perhaps this is the fire island market rate but I've stayed at some incredibly far more luxurious hotels for far far less!

Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank TeeMac_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

My friend and I came to stay at the Belvedere on the recomendation of a friend who had been there a few years ago. This past weekend wasour first experience in Cherry Grove/ Fire Island. The Cherry Grove community is wonderful, restaurants are vastly over priced but the area is wonderful. The BELVEDERE Hotel is a mess. We entered the palatial hotel expecting to find a superior property. We reached this assumption by the room pricing - VERY expensive for a pretty view and that is it. The rooms are dusty, the beds are very dirty made up with dingy sheets and in many areas, the place is falling apart, ceilings crumbling and flaking paint everywhere. The "TV" room reaks of sweat and cigarettes and the mini vistas in and outside of the hotel are badly in need of some care and cleaning. This hotel must have been wonderful in day but someone needs to CLEAN THIS UP! The staff is polite but the cleaning crew seems confused and misdirected. The chandeliers in every hallway and the great room (off limits to guests but clearly viewable from our second floor room) were dingy and covered with dust. The windows were dirty, the floors were sticky. I asked about having our bathroom cleaned when someone had urinated all over the seat in the communal bathroom and the cleaning staff laughed and said, "it must have been a good night." The two in keepers - one seems disinterested and the other is a presence in the hotel but seems to see nothing. Not a good value for the money. For a Washington D.C or New York price, you get very little. Clean it up!

Room Tip: I did notice a few newer rooms as I walked around - ask to see the room and check the sheets - they...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Chris G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

This was my first time in what was advertised as "an elegant" experience. I must admit, at one time, the place must have been wonderful but that was definitely in the past. The hotel is not clean and reeks of stale cigarette smoke from days gone by. If the sheets on the bed were clean, it was when they came out of the box when new. Simple amenities like clean fresh towels are often absent fromt he bathroom I shared with the many "squatters" who would ramble in from the boardwalk. The place is interesting, that is true. From the spiders that seem to crawl in every dark corner to the crucnhy sheets, the place is a hoot. We all came from NYC to meet there and while they charge NYC prices, the only thing you get is a vew into a not so well kept past. This place has potential but needs some TLC.

Room Tip: Make sure you get a room on the second floor or a room with an out side window. Our room faced an in...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Reg W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris
Level Contributor
37 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

You certainly would not expect such a crazy eccentric Venetian Building in that area of the world as the place is more surrendered by modern architects wooden houses! I have stayed on Fire Island before but always dreamed of pushing the door of that very private almost secret property!
Did it now and do not regret at all! As you are greeted by the "door keeper" and step into this mini kingdom, you have to sign a form accepting the rules of your new country and it could feel a bit constraining but you will soon understand that you would need such rules to live peacefully ever after in that very special place which is after all a private collector millionaire mansion now opened to guests and for their own enjoyment and pleasure! There are 35 rooms and they are all different...Ours (The lantern) was a charming turret with a private terrace opened over the garden and with a great bay view. Although the room is small, the bed was large and very comfy and it was kept spotless. You have a choice of rooms according to your budget and you should take a look at the description and pictures on the website before booking. In my opinion even if they are not very spacious they do look better in reality than on the site as you can obviously see that the managers take special care to give a warm feeling in each one of them. There is a very nice garden with shade for hot days, a small swimming pool deck to refresh and a Jacuzzi to massage your back with company. Gym addicts will be pleased to exercise under a nice tent with fans by the pool and show off their muscles and performances :-) The sun deck for sunset or moonrise is stunning and opened until 11pm during week days (as for the swimming area) and 1 AM at week-ends. The ambiance is playful and you think you are attending a luxury summer camp for happy grown-ups. We were adopted straight away and invited for drinks by a charming couple on their terrace together with half of the guest house, we immediately felt at home. Our guests were very helpful and charming and I found most of the staff efficient and agreeable. Do not expect the service of a hotel as there is no breakfast or bar meaning you need to plan to bring your booze and prepare your breakfast by yourself as there are communal kitchenettes to store your food and micro waves to heat it.
Of course there are nice places just a stone's throw away where you can enjoy good drinks or food from breakfast to dinner. This place is totally unconventional as male-only and clothing optional making it unique in this environment and if you are ready for the experience with an open mind and to be part of the game it will leave you with wonderful memories and you would only wish to come back the next summer. When you walk down the corridors at night to get a snack in the fridge and realize that Apollo has stepped down from his pedestal to wander around you would certainly not go back to your room still hungry! Of course if you want more tranquility and not to mix with the community, this is perfectly possible although it would be better to visit this place during the week or off-season. Do not forget that this is an historical building with no air conditioning but very efficient fans and I did not find it was a problem at all even though the temperature was quite high! If you are used to a totally dark room to sleep, bring your mask as some of the rooms have plenty of light and it seems difficult to block it out completely, ask the owner to advise you. Of course we will recommend the place and we will come back! An unforgettable experience! Philippe & Danny from Paris

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Readytrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belvedere Hotel

Property: 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
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 36
Also Known As:
Belvedere Hotel Cherry Grove
Belvedere Hotel Fire Island/Cherry Grove

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