While many people wake up the morning after their office Christmas party blushing at the thought they may have flashed the flesh, the staff at the Clover Spa & Hotel would be concerned if their Christmas guests kept their clothes on!
"As a naturist, you don’t look at people’s bodies in a sexual way, you just see the people"
Original publication date 11 December 2012;
The hotel is just for naturists – most of the staff are naturists and their parties have a strict dress code: no clothes allowed. And Christmas is a busy time – it’s one of the few places naturists can enjoy a festive party, with a buffet and disco, in the buff.
When Closer visits, guests are mingling around the tree in nothing but their birthday suits – and they don’t seem worried about being prickled! Then they sit down to a traditional festive lunch – meat and two veg with all the trimmings – with just napkins to cover their modesty.
Mary Halliday, 49, is partying at the hotel for the second year running. Revealing her partner accepts her naturism, but doesn’t indulge himself, she says: “I love coming here. Last year, it was snowing and there was a group of us in the outside hot tub – it was magical. Then we rolled around in the snow naked – making snow angels. It wasn’t even that cold!”
Mary, a housekeeper, adds: “I’ve felt more comfortable without clothes since I was about 10, despite my parents not being naturists. I only wear clothes when I have to and my friends and family accept it. We weren’t born with clothes and neither was Jesus, so what better way to celebrate his birth?!”
The Birmingham hotel and spa is owned by Tim Higgs, 56, who’s been a naturist since he holidayed in Finland at 14 and tried a naked spa and plunge pool. Tim, whose wife prefers to remain clothed, says: “It is liberating. Everyone has lumps and bumps – clothes are a disguise.”
Tim, who opened the venue in 2011, spends much of his time naked – although he says his four children, aged 16 to 32, do get embarrassed and ask him to put his clothes back on!
The spa holds four Christmas bashes – including one during the daytime when it’s easier for people whose families don’t know they’re naturists to visit. And they’re just like other parties, with music and dancing – though he says he “has to be careful of the sausages when I’m carving the turkey!”
He adds: “We don’t host swinging parties. It’s about the freedom to not wear clothes. As a naturist, you don’t look at people’s bodies in a sexual way, you just see the people. I’m not sure if any romances have started at our parties – but at least you’d know what you’re getting!”
The spa’s massage therapist Elaine Martin, 22 – who is single – adds: “My father was a nudist and first took me to a nudist beach when I was a week old. For years, we went on holiday to a nudist resort in the South of France and to a campsite in Shropshire. I’ve been to more parties without my clothes on than with them!”
Vicki Hinks, 29, the duty manager at the hotel, is equally at home without clothes and says her boyfriend of eight years is a naturist too, revealing: “He’d happily walk down the street with no clothes, so he certainly didn’t mind me getting a job here.”
Meanwhile, guests Bob, 48, and Jemima, 49, who’ve been together for 10 years, say: “We don’t tell many people we do this, so it’s great to come here to be ourselves. We’re proud of being naked – there’s nothing like being in the nude to feel free, relaxed and in the mood to party!”