Guests staying at Fawlty Towers, a 32-room motel in Florida, will be allowed to go nude after Tuesday. The motel is reportedly located a short distance from Shepard Park, where children are at play, which is raising brows among locals.
The motel, struggling to stay afloat in a tough economy, will allow guests to lounge and sip adult beverages in the nude, according to an article in USA Today. Hotel workers will keep their shirts on with the exception of bartenders, who will serve topless. The motel added new screening and taller balcony fences to block any views. Rooms and out buildings have coded door locks to prevent people from gaining entry and signs warn guests where clothing is required.
Owner Paul Hodge claims “It’s just a niche market” and there is “no competition in 100 miles.”
His effort to bring guests in, nude or not, will likely pay off since Cocoa Beach is bathed in warm sunshine much of the year.
However, allowing guests to bare all while sipping marguerites near the pool and other areas has got the attention of more than nudists.
It may be legal, but folks living and working in the beachside city do not agree on the merits of having a nudist resort in their community.
Tony Perrera, a cab driver from Cocoa Beach, said many people do not approve of having a nudist resort three doors down from Shepard Park, which will be filled with the sounds of children at play during the summer.
"Is this the right thing to do? No. Not there," he told USA Today.
For his part, Hodge claims the switch to a clothing-optional is a last-ditch effort to save his motel. Snowbirds rent condos to avoid the bed taxes motel and hotel guests have to pay, and his 32-room motel is no longer able to compete with chains that he said were "building hotels like it was going out of fashion."
"It's sort of a make-or-break situation. We can't pay ourselves in winter. We had to scrap health insurance," said Hodge. "Every year it gets a little bit worse."
Last winter Hodge hired an attorney and enlisted the services of the American Association of Nude Recreation to uncover potential legal problems associated with opening a nudist resort in a densely populated city. Apparently there is nothing on Cocoa Beach's books that prevents the motel’s guests from wearing their birthday suits according to Cocoa Beach City Manager Chuck Billias.
Only about 10 rooms are booked for the opening day, but the weekends are filling up quickly, Hodge said.
Guests without rooms can access the pool and tiki bar for a $25 cover charge, an option that Hodge thinks could bring in more bodies and cash than overnight stays.
Annie Abercrombie of Cocoa Beach sees no problem with a nude resort in Cocoa Beach.
"I think it's a good thing. Why not?" she said. "Key West has places like that and they do good business."