When times get tough, the tough get naked. At least that's what a Florida motel owner hopes, as he turns his 32-room property into a potential magnet for nudists.
The Fawlty Towers Motel in Cocoa Beach, Fla., is set to go clothing-optional May 1, after years of declining business and increasing competition from larger chain hotels, its owner told Florida Today.
Going nude wasn't a snap decision. Owner Paul Hodge first had to convince his skeptical wife. And he has yet to sway some of his concerned neighbors, who fear the soon-to-be nude motel will expose tourists, and local children, to some unwanted sightseeing.
"Young people surf on that beach," one local woman complained to WFTV. "What kind of a message is that sending them? It's inappropriate."
But Hodge says his nude motel plan is all about his bottom line. "It's sort of a make-or-break situation," he told Florida Today. "We can't pay ourselves in winter. We had to scrap health insurance. Every year it gets a little bit worse."
To prepare for his guests to bare all, Hodge hired a lawyer and consulted with the American Association of Nude Recreation. They apparently found no state or local laws that would stand in the way of Hodge's plan for unabashed indoor nudity.
While that may be the case for Hodge's nude motel, other business owners may want to think twice before adding a naked twist to their business plans. Nudity may reclassify your business as "sexually oriented" (as one nude maid service in Texas recently found out), and may require new permits.
Failure to follow local laws can lead to costly fines. That's why it's wise to follow Hodge's nude motel preparations, and consult a local business attorney.
Hodge's nude guests, however, may still face criminal charges of indecent exposure if they set foot -- or technically, their naked private body parts -- outdoors.
As for nude motel owner Paul Hodge, neither he nor his wife plan to remove any clothing when the Fawlty Towers Motel gets its first nude guests on Tuesday. He's hoping the motel's bartenders, however, will at least go topless.
- Nudist Hotel To Open In Cocoa Beach (Orlando, Fla.'s WESH-TV)
- Browse Business & Commercial Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
- The 10 Strangest Naked Crimes of 2011 (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Get Ready to Get Naked: SCOTUS Upholds Prison Strip Search (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court blog)