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.
- Also Known As:
- Belvedere Hotel Cherry Grove
- Belvedere Hotel Fire Island/Cherry Grove