Hopefully, John Cleese will not greet you au naturel, but Fawlty Towers Resort owner, Paul Hodge might. As of this week his 32 room lodging in Cocoa Beach, Florida goes clothing-optional.
The Brits might call this re-Branding effort “brilliant”, particularly as there is no competition within 100 miles. He has a niche lock for the time being. Plus, he has created a Day Pass Guest Program where for $25 one gains access to the resort pool and Tiki Bar. That is beyond “brilliant”, just plain smart business.
So where did this new approach come from? Mr. Hodge, just like many other owners of small independent operations, saw some lean years and increasing competition from the chain hotels. As an article in floridatoday.com noted, “It’s sort of a make-or-break situation. We can’t pay ourselves in winter. We had to scrap health insurance,” he said. “Every year it gets a little bit worse.” We all can relate to that squeeze.
So, several years ago, he began the thought and research process, convinced his former wife, a co-owner, and also had the benefit of two nudist magazines who wrote about his plans. Plus, he discovered that there were a number of nudists in the local area who thought the idea was sublime. Reportedly, there are no legal restrictions either from Cocoa Beach city codes.
Apparently, there may be mixed thoughts in the community about this nudist venture. You have the usual noise about protecting children, sexual perversion and predators, unsightly views, etc. But, Mr. Hodge is comfortable that he can run a safe and even family oriented business. His staff will be clothed, other than the topless bartenders at the Tiki bar. He has erected higher and screened fences; resort doors have coded locks for access.
Ever vigilant, I actually tried to reach Mr. Hodge on Friday, May 4 to see how business was going. He was too busy to speak with a line-up of other curious folks. However, I did connect with Jim at the Front Office, who reported that everything was going great, and actually boosting the local economy. Fawlty Towers was meeting with other local businesses who wanted to share product/service discounts with the Guests - a very positive and quick response from the community.
Fame may be momentary and fleeting, but you have to love it and give kudos to Mr. Hodge.