For 30 years, The Dunes Resort has provided a simple, comfortable place for gays and lesbians to escape the doldrums of Middle America. Now crowned the largest gay resort and entertainment complex in the Midwest, The Dunes is heralded as Western Michigan’s premier gay and lesbian vacation destination and a pinnacle of the gay Saugatuck - Douglas community.
Owners Mike Jones, Danny Esterline and Greg Trzybinski purchased The Douglas Dunes in 1999 and renamed it, “The Dunes Resort.” Since then, the trio has worked tirelessly to perpetuate a gay safe haven while offering top-shelf lodging and entertainment. “When the previous owners started this in 1981, people came here and they fell in love. We wanted to enhance the Dunes experience, update it and continue its legacy,” says Jones.
This illustrious coming-of-age process has introduced a metropolitan standard to the quaint surroundings of Saugatuck and Douglas. Sprawling over 20 acres, the Dunes Resort features spacious double and king rooms, one bedroom cottages, king suites and a one bedroom Jacuzzi suite. Two bedroom fireplace cottages, a one bedroom kitchen suite and a small studio come complete with shared outdoor Jacuzzi access. Although The Dunes offers exceptional quality and amenities, budget travelers are never left out in the cold. Three types of dorm style sleeping rooms offer an amiable option for travelers requiring comfortable accommodations minus five-star pricing.
Poolside is the place to be seen on sunny afternoons, and the Tea Dance deck is a perennial favorite of the local who’s who. A Cabaret with fabulous live entertainment (Amy Armstrog & Freddy Alle, Kelly Carey & Rick SantaMaria) and a game room that overlooks the bar and deck allow guests to retreat even further from the daily grind.
Whether you prefer it progressive or hard, the beat from The Dunes’ on-site nightclub is uncompromising. Resident DJ Mark Vallese and an impressive guest DJ schedule featuring Tony Moran, Paulo, Lydia Prim, Joe Gauthreaux, Roland Belmares, Chi Chi LaRue and Brett Lacascio rivals that of any urban dance venue.
The Dunes is a rare and special place where people of all walks can find themselves, lose themselves and most importantly, be themselves. Circuit kids, scenesters, couples and retirees all blend with ease in a congenial, come-as-you-are atmosphere. “You get to leave the real world for a little bit. You can hear fantastic music or come to the cabaret for a great show. You can be gay, straight, old or young, and feel comfortable here. It doesn’t matter who you are, everybody is welcome,” says Jones.
The Dunes Resort is open seven days a week, twelve months a year. The summer season kicks off the first weekend in May with the Annual Black & White Anniversary Party and continues through Labor Day Weekend. Major events are held year-round.