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Fierth Magazine recently received an invitation to spend the weekend at Cherry Grove’s Legendary Guest House, The Belvedere. The hotel is one of Fire Island’s most recognizable landmarks as it proudly stands on the shore of the Bay, its palatial grandeur shines even from a distance.
The complex of buildings that make up this clothing optional resort were established in 1956, and have continued to be expanded upon; its most storied incarnation its final stage in the late 1970s, at a time when Fire Island was made part of the National Seashore, and building beyond current foundations was no longer permitted.
Belvedere Guest House is as close an experience to visiting Europe as one can have in a seaside New York locale. Upon your arrival through its heavy iron gates, you are greeted by fountains in Roman styled basins, statuary and a vine covered, trellised garden. A pair of large double entry doors reclaimed from a gothic house in Newport , Rhode Island which conceals the mystique of the goings on inside.
The founder of the Belvedere, John Eberhardt was an avid collector of art and antiques as well as a talented set designer a combination which led to the formation of this unusual dÃ©cor masterpiece. Many of the pieces of furniture and objets d’art that adorn the property were found on his frequent trips to Europe in the 1950′s, The Belvedere even features one of Marie Antoinette’s cradles.
Our hosts, long time romantic partners Craig and Julian, warmly met us in the foyer, and gave us a tour of the grounds, including the Grand Salon, and several of their generously appointed, uniquely designed rooms. One Fierth favorite was the Bay front Oak Room comprised of reclaimed hand carved wood from an English chapel. The scent of the wood permeates the cozy space, emanating romance and fireside evenings. Some of the rooms contained personal cupolas, if one is feeling particularly grand. We were then escorted to our room, the aptly named “Painted Room”; Its painted walls served as a lovely complement to the perfection of the bayside views from the large private balcony. We spent many hours there, laughing with friends, basking in the sun, cocktails in hand .
The Belevedere’s layout is expansive and nook filled, lending itself to privacy, relaxation, and certain exploration. Recent additions include a spacious new hot tub, and the sun drenched pool area boasts a gym and new salt water pool, which glows azure at night with gentle underwater lighting.. The hotel maintains a very comfortable, relaxed clothing optional policy that we enjoyed throughout our stay, on the grounds, by the pool, or in the peaceful privacy of its several bay view sun decks.
I look forward to more adventures at this extravagant yet very comfortable ‘sand castle’ for many more seasons to come.
Visit The Belvedere Guest House Website