Down to your last shirt? Strip off at this nudist hotel

April 16th, 2009 - 9:20 am ICT by IANS  

By Ernest Gill
Hamburg, April 16 (DPA) In these dire economic times, when tourists are down to their last shirt and hotels go bankrupt at the drop of a hat, only the most innovative and ingenious hotels can hope to get by on the bare essentials.

The new Rosengarten Hotel (Rose Garden) in the quaint Black Forest region of Germany is bucking the downturn by booking buck-naked guests.

The new hotel in the town of Freudenstadt (German for “City of Joy”) caters only to nudists. And house rules stipulate that guests must strip off when on the premises, according to a report in the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

The new owner of the long-established hotel, Frieder Haferkorn, has decades of experience in the hotel and pub trade, and is himself a 25-year veteran “naturist”, to use the term by which nudists prefer to call themselves.

True to the naturist rule of wholesomeness, the new hotel, which is expected to open this summer, is not going to be a den of iniquity.

While demanding strict adherence to nudity, the house rules also just as strictly prohibit “sexual harassment of any sort” along with prohibiting behaviour of a sexual nature in any area of the hotel which is accessible to other guests. Use of cameras will be restricted, and nobody may take a snapshot of another guest without that person’s express permission.

Children under five years must be supervised by an adult at all times, particularly around the pool and spa bathing facilities. The volume on radios and TVs must be reasonable at all times, but particularly after 10 p.m.

And, of course, smoking is banned in all public rooms.

Any hotel guest who violates the rules will be told to get dressed and get out.

The hotel formerly catered to day-trippers and hikers who like to go a-wandering through the wooded hills of the romantic Black Forest. The new owner is renovating the premises to ensure that no “non-naturist voyeurs” can peer into the compound in hopes of catching a glimpse of bare flesh.

Haferkorn says he is refitting the hotel to provide guests with a whole array of beauty-spa and wellness offerings. At the same time, he wants to keep rates low in these hard times when tourists are pinching every penny. His rates are therefore quite modest and family-friendly - single occupancy starts at 76 euros ($110) and double-occupancy is a mere 110 euros.

Freudenstadt tourism official, Michael Krause, calls the new hotel “a totally unique and extraordinary hotel concept” for his town, which is hurting as the global economy goes into meltdown and tourism in general plummets in Germany.

Germany has a long tradition of nudism, dating back more than 100 years. As early as the 19th Century, “naturism” was seen as a way to combat the urbanisation of the industrial revolution and to help city dwellers to get back to nature.

To this day, most big city parks in Germany have a hedged-off nudist section. The nudist meadow in Munich’s famed English Gardens attracts camera-toting tourists from all over the world every summer.

And in East Germany under communism, nudism was a way for people to shed the constraints of everyday life and to be free. East Germans were not allowed to travel to the West. But they made a point of liberating themselves of their clothes at lake shores and seaside beaches.

In the 1990s, during the heady years of German unification, East Germans flew off to nudist beaches around the world. But now, with less money to spend, East Germans are seeking nudist venues closer to home.

“It’s amazing,” Haferkorn was quoted as saying, “but there is a tremendous demand for nudist hotels, nudist restaurants, nudist bars, nudist gyms - you name it, and nudists want to take their clothes off and enjoy it in the raw.”

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