Inside The Fawlty Towers Nudist Resort

fawlty towers clothing optional resortIn tough economic times, some hotels and resorts are ready to try just about anything to revive their sagging fortunes. On May 1, The Fawlty Towers Motel in Cocoa Beach rebranded itself as a “clothing-optional resort” in a bid to revive its sagging fortunes, and according to David Broad, 54, a Welsh national who manages the resort, business is picking up.

But not everyone in Cocoa Beach is thrilled with the new naturist business model. According to Florida Today, a bid by prudish local residents to shut the place down fizzled after local authorities determined that Fawlty Towers had the legal right to go nude.

David Broad spoke to Gadling and gave us the low down on nude resort rules and etiquette, the efforts to sanction Fawlty Towers and other clothing optional resorts, and why the resort allows nudism but not provocative clothing or swinging.How did the place transform from a regular motel into a clothing optional resort?

My best friend who owns the place bought it in 1988. It’s a small mom and pop motel with 32 rooms and over the last few years they’ve been building bigger hotels and they have higher advertising budgets, so business slowed down and we decided to try this.

And business has picked up?

We’ve definitely been busier on the weekends. Weekdays are picking up too now that more and more people are hearing about it. Room rates start at just $79 so it’s quite affordable as well.

On your website, the people pictured are wearing clothes. What’s up with that?

No, it’s just for the photographs; people don’t want to be photographed with their clothes off. It can compromise you, depending on what your job is.

Tell me about the nudist demographic?

We had a gentleman here the other day from Australia who read about the place. Quite a few people from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, everywhere really. It’s all ages. It’s 21 and over only though actually. The average age on the weekend is probably 50-60, but we have some younger people as young as 23 or 24.

That tracks with what I noticed on nude beaches in Greece this summer. Do you think older people are just more comfortable with their bodies and less self-conscious?

I think so. It doesn’t matter if you’re 200 pounds or 500 pounds, no one cares.

Americans are generally a bit more prudish about nudity than in other parts of the world, but tell me about some of the backlash you’ve encountered from the more conservative members of your community?

There’s been some negative comments in the papers here. The city was a little bit up in arms about us in the beginning but they’ve eased off because there’s been no trouble here. Even the police have noticed, there’s been no trouble here. Most of our customers are in their 50s or 60s and they’re in bed by 10 o’clock. The city admitted in the end that we were operating legally and there’s nothing they can do about us.




You have a list of rules on your website and I wanted to ask you about a few of these. The first rule says that the atmosphere must remain non-threatening and non-sexual at all times.

When people are nude they aren’t allowed to do any petting around the pool. You know, touching each other, kissing, nothing like that.

And then it says that swingers and swinging is prohibited. Why is that?

In the privacy of their rooms, they can do what they want. But if they’re out there trying to recruit people we stop that straightaway. We don’t want it to be a swingers resort. We do background checks on everyone before they can come here. It’s to make sure the person has no criminal history so everyone is kept safe.

sexy stockingsIt also says on your website that provocative clothing is prohibited. Why is that?

We don’t want people parading around in stockings and stuff like that. It’s a proper naturist place. Proper naturists don’t walk around in see-through negligées and things like that.

So it’s OK to be naked but you can’t wear a see-through negligée or a thong?

It’s a hard one to explain. It’s like drawing attention to yourself, whereas if everyone is nude then no one is drawing attention to themselves.

I see that you have a gym as well. Do people work out nude?

No, the gym is half mile away and you have to wear clothes there. The clothing optional part is just the hotel, the tiki bar and the pool area. It’s all very private and secluded, no one can see in here at all.

Do you get some first timers who are unaware of nude resort etiquette?

Oh yes, but everyone is comfortable. Some start apprehensive, but everyone is friendly and welcoming. We limit cellphone use and cameras to make sure people aren’t taking photos at the pool.

When you get very attractive women there, are the men able to contain themselves?

Everyone behaves themselves. No one is judged.

Does the staff go nude as well?

No, no, we have to be dressed according to the state law, unfortunately. Otherwise, they classify us adult entertainment.

What do you want America to know about your resort and other clothing-optional places?

It’s very private. No one gets exposed to this if they don’t want to be. We don’t drag people in here. People come on their own free will and it’s not thrown in anyone’s face. We don’t have a sign outside reading “Nudist Hotel” or anything like that.

The Final Shuttle Launch and the Future of the Space Coast

About 12 hours before STS-135 was set to blast off for low Earth orbit, my friend Rob and I were driving toward Titusville, Florida with a car full of camping supplies and our fingers crossed. The weather was foul, and the chances of a launch were just 30 percent. But we were in Central Florida to see a blast off, and so to the Space Coast we were headed.

Traveling the American Road – The Last Shuttle Launch: STS135


As we know now, the shuttle did take off as scheduled, making its final graceful, powerful arc into the low clouds, punching through the smallest break in the weather on the way to the International Space Station. It was an exciting, historic moment, made bittersweet by the mass layoffs that would follow the shuttle’s landing on July 21.

The economic impact of the program’s end on the Space Coast will extend beyond the pink slips delivered to now-unneeded engineers and shuttle support staff. As one construction worker I met explained, the estimated 1 million visitors that turned out for the final launch will likely never again come to his hometown. Rooms, restaurants and tours will go empty, leaving the tourism business reliant on seasonal fishing trips and historians of the space age who will trickle in, yes, but not in numbers like those seen this July.

Two days after the launch, I visited Kennedy Space Center, where pride in the 30-year history of the shuttle program is enormous–to the point that no one there seemed to have acknowledged its end. A sign reminded visitors that “NASA centers have embarked on a phased program of expanding and updating the space shuttle’s capabilities” and a short film suggested that “Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see a shuttle on the way to the pad today.” While there was no shortage of visitors that day, I wondered how long the attraction of the place would last without a manned spaceflight program and how long the gift shop would continue selling out of STS-135 merchandise.

Driving away from the Space Coast, we stopped for a bite at Corky Bells, a seafood restaurant in Cocoa, Florida, very close to the Space Center. Near the register at the entryway was a doorknob from its original location, engulfed by a fire sparked by Hurricane Frances in 2004. The restaurant moved into its current building, reconnected with its regulars and kept serving heaping platters of fried crabs, clams, shrimp and fish. Lunch was excellent, but without launch-day crowds, will Corky’s weather the coast’s latest storm?

Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Walt Disney World’s Main Street U.S.A.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew up Main Street U.S.A. Tuesday afternoon in a six-plane “Delta” formation. The Walt Disney World flyover was part of the festivities surrounding Air Force Week in Central Florida.

Air Force Weeks are held in different U.S. cities each year. They are a public relations effort “for our Air Force to showcase some of its capabilities to the general public,” said Col. Lee Rosen, commander of the 45th Launch Group.

The Walt Disney World Thunderbirds flyover was months in the making, according to Maj. David Lemery, a Thunderbirds maintenance officer.

Besides planning the timing and coordinates of the flight, the Air Force had to ensure that the air space was clear. And while that might seem easy to do, there are some flying objects in the air that can’t be reached by radio:

“Birds. There were lots of giant birds,” said Lt. Col. Derek Routt, Thunderbirds operations officer. “They look pretty in the sky, but they can do a lot of damage to a jet aircraft.”

In addition to the flyover, airmen and their families visited Walt Disney World Tuesday to enjoy the park and interact with the public. On Wednesday, airmen are visiting SeaWorld, and on Thursday, they will be at Kennedy Space Center.

Air Force Week moves to Cocoa Beach, Florida for the weekend, with performances at the Cocoa Beach air show on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Cocoa Beach Pier.