Armchair Traveller

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US Fawlty Towers motel saved by going nudist — and they're looking for staff

Wanted: Bartender, male or female, mostly clothed, but not squeamish about nude clientele. Are you the perfect candidate for a job at Fawlty Towers Resort Motel, Florida?

Even though it's been around since 1988, the motel, named after the iconic '70s British TV show about a shonky hotel, only gained media attention recently when it rebranded itself as a "clothing-optional" resort in May.

The move was made to counter the economic downturn and loss of business to larger chain hotels. Fast forward a few months, and the once-struggling motel in Cocoa Beach is now a popular nudist hotspot attracting people from everywhere from Australia to Germany to Canada.

Going au naturel has saved the 32-room facility from the doldrums, according to Fawlty Towers manager David Broad.

"We've definitely been busier on the weekends. Weekdays are picking up too now that more and more people are hearing about it," Broad told Florida Today.

"Room rates start at just $79 so it's quite affordable as well."

Nudist-friendly facilities include a Tiki bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and a lush tropical garden. And yes, the resort has a "bartender wanted" sign outside. Staff are not expected to go naked, but resort owner Paul Hodge told Florida TV channel WESH that bartenders should at least go "topless" (watch Paul in the above video).

As for everyone else, there are house rules — naturally. No patrons under 21 years of age, no swingers (although what goes on in bedrooms is not policed), no sexually provocative clothing, no cameras, and "no petting [allowed] around the pool", Broad says.

The resort hasn't been without controversy. Two days after it opened, Cocoa Beach local Debra Key complained that it would "bring the drugs along with it, [and] the sexual promiscuity". But the city attorney Skip Fowler (what a name) ruled that there was nothing untoward going on at Fawlty.

Luckily, the resort doesn't have the same reputation as Basil Fawlty's fictional digs. Out of 119 reviews on travel site TripAdvisor, the resort is rated "excellent" or "very good" by 87 reviewers, while 32 gave it an "average", "poor" or "terrible".

"Everyone who came to the pool was courteous, respectful, friendly, and nude. It seemed that everybody was comfortable being around nude people and acted accordingly," one user wrote.

"My wife was a bit apprehensive at first, but she met so many nice people and struck up conversations with a lot of them. By the end of the second day, she was totally comfortable being naked around others and swimming, talking, and laying out without having me around her.

"This was a very pleasant experience and we will return for more fun!!"

Another visitor wasn't as kind.

"I have read mixed reviews about this place, but took a chance. I am 54 years old, and have stayed in hundreds of hotels, and motels, but this was the absolute worst!! Avoid like the plague, or you may catch the plague," the reviewer wrote.

Things are looking up for the resort. Broad hopes the resort can capitalise on Royal Caribbean's new clothing-optional cruise from Port Canaveral in November, which could bring up to 4000 nudists to the area. That's a lot of jiggly bits.

Are you a nudist? Have you ever been to a clothing-optional resort? Tell us about your experiences below.

View our related slideshow of the world's best nudist retreats:

User comments
If we had nude beaches or even a nude city then we would get lots of tourists from Europe when it is winter over there. Nudism is very big in Europe so we could get them to come here. I dont know why QLD does not have any legal nude beaches, nust be to many nanas here.
I have a problem reconciling clothing in society, but I realise the inherent problems. Self control is lacking. However I spend as much time as possible naked, especially in our beautiful Summer. Fresh air and Sunshine on bare skin is utterly therapeutic. I have no near neighbours, so I am reasonably safe from view. I am clothed when necessary, and when COLD. Nude swimming, hiking, playing games is natural and inoffensive for those with the correct mentality. Nude not Lewd. If it wasn't illegal in Queensland, I would open up this little farm as a nudist resort.
The right to wear what you chose to wear or not wear is a right that we all have. It is onlt small minded victorian based ideas that have been put into law by some of these small minded who have brain washed the population. reates situations where people cannot accept the natural beauty of human body be it male or emale.

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