Suite Dreams: Belvedere Guest House (for Men)
Photos: Robbie Imes
It never fails: The first time someone approaches Fire Island on the Cherry Grove ferry, out of the haze a mysterious palace-like compound appears on the horizon. "What is that?" they inevitably wonder. If that's the Haunted Mansion, maybe Fire Island really is a theme park for the gays.
In actuality, the kookily spired structure is the Belvedere Guest House, a clothing-optional oasis for men and landmark for over 50 years. Perched on the Great South Bay off the coast of Long Island, its unique architecture transports you into a fantasy world, a setting full of columns, statues and painted frescos in places you might find only in your wildest Pink Narcissus dreams. And now with a full renovation to its swimming pool and deck area, plus an outdoor gym space and hot tub, it's become an even more enticing destination for a unique beachy getaway. Day passes available.
The friendly long-time owners spent the entire winter making a complete overhaul of the premises. The rooms have been perfected, the lobby primed and entire experience enhanced. Luxury rooms such as The Roman feature a shared deck that peers out onto fiery orange sunsets over the bay, a magically gorgeous way to end your day. And when the sun has worn you out (or a cocktail or two has lulled you to bed) the mattresses in these rooms are like falling onto clouds. Angelic bedfellows, that's on you.
-- ROBBIE IMES