Urban Nudist Clubhouse Space and Indoor Naturist City

| December 2, 2013 | 50 Comments

I Dream of an Indoor Urban Nudist Clubhouse and Naturist Oasis Space

Guest blog by: Joshua Williams

My Dream of an Urban Nudist Clubhouse

Urban Nudist Clubhouse – It was a glorious autumn. In the northeast, nearly every weekend was sunny and warm since late August, in contrast to a rather cool and temperamental summer. In September, I even managed to get in one last lake skinny dip. But as the days grew shorter and the cold air pushed in from the north, there is simply less opportunity to get naked. Local clubs have closed their doors for the winter, which leaves us naked at home, or waiting for the occasional nude-friendly event.

Around this time every year, I begin to imagine what a year round community space might look like that espouses and celebrates the ideals of naturism (respect for self, others and nature), especially in an urban environment that’s accessible to a large population. In addition, I consider the financial viability of such a space and whether or not a business model could be created that’s sustainable, scalable and replicable. Combining business with a social issue can be certainly be problematic, but when done right, can yield amazing results.

And so I dream…

I envision a modern, eco-friendly space that is approximately 4,000-6,000 square feet, most likely on the top floor of a building, that provides roof access. The basic space itself would be divided into four key areas, 1) the foyer that includes a welcome area, 2) a transition area that includes dressing rooms, lockers and toilets, 3) a spa area that includes a sauna, steam room, showers and soaking tubs (hot & cold), 4) an open, common space that is big enough for everything from events to classes. The space would also include additional amenities such as a kitchen area.

Urban Nudist Clubhouse Space and Indoor Naturist City Oasis by YNA

Urban Nudist Clubhouse Space and Indoor Naturist City Oasis

First and foremost, the space would be open on a daily basis, allowing members and one-time visitors to stop by and take advantage of the basic facilities at their own leisure. Whether it’s in the morning, during lunch or after work, the space becomes a true oasis. In addition, weekly scheduled activities and events, including yoga, exercise classes, and massage therapy, will provide a structured schedule of things to choose from, all with a focus on health, fitness and social conviviality. Finally, one-time events will be offered, as planned internally or by outside groups who rent the space, including book clubs, MeetUp group meetings, etc.

Customer service will play an important role in ensuring that guests are able to relax in a clean and cared for environment. Technology will facilitate all activities both in and out of the club, including an interactive website and an RFID bracelet that removes the need for carrying around a wallet!

What’s your dream?

Of course, this is just a small glimpse into my own imagination when it comes to the perfect “urban nudist naturist space.” And I didn’t even mention the juice bar, the mini gym and…the nude swimming pool! I’m guessing that many of you have also daydreamed about this type of place, whether simply as a visitor, or as an entrepreneur. What does your space look and feel like? What types of activities and events would you plan? Is this type of space necessary when it comes to ensuring the success of naturism in the future?

Participate in our one question survey and be sure to comment below.

This article about creating an Urban Nudist and Naturist City Clubhouse was published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America

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Category: Events and Parties, Nudist Blogs

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  • openlyclosed

    There is a property in Philadelphia that I plan to purchase and turn into a full time nudist/naturist facility and also make it the home of the Philly Naked Bike Ride, as soon as I win the lottery.  It’s right on the Delaware River, has a large grassy area and the building could be renovated into a full service facility with gym and spa space, meeting / activity rooms, a lounge area and a snack/restaurant/bar area complete with a deck overlooking the river and roof top facilities.

  • white_thunder

    After months of researching, planning, renovating and working ourselves to the point of exhaustion, YNA has finally done it! Terlam is open to naturists every Sunday, Woohoo! https://youngnaturistsamerica.com/yna-terlam-nude-spa-sundays/

  • NudeYorker

    This is a great idea. Spa Castle without the restrictive clothing!

  • NJGene

    I only recently discovered YNA, I enjoy the nudist lifestyle whenever and where ever I can. Summers are great in the NJ area–we have several wonderful places to be naked outdoors. But winter is so restrictive. King Spa is certainly a good place to go but ultimately, something in NYC area that is more diverse and simpler is what I would prefer. I think your concept is great and would certainly support such a place. It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles–cleanliness, a nice common area, a sauna, a pool would be nice and places to relax.

  • phillywms

    Joshua and Felicity each discuss the idea of an urban naturist oasis on The Naturist Living podcast with Stephane Deschenes, owner of Bare Oaks just outside of Toronto.  Check it out.  http://www.naturistliving.bareoaks.ca/2013/12/plans-for-urban-oasis-and-owner-of-two.html

  • MatthewBlack1

    FelicityJonesMatthewBlack1 Oops, my mistake – didn’t read the thread closely enough before typing.  Never mind – good luck with it anyway.

  • Sanfranfan

    Having been a regular visitor to the banya since it opened, I know that a lot of young people, including many women, use and enjoy the facility. The banya has received many favorable reviews from women on Yelp. I would say that often at least 50 percent of the clientele is under 30. The general manager herself is a woman in her 20s.
    The $30 fee ($25 if you buy a 10-visit pass) is not outlandish compared with other facilities. The price includes use of a robe, two towels and flip flops. Kiva Retreat is $24 for entrance and two towels. Harbin Hot Springs in rural Northern California is $20 ($30 on weekends) plus a membership of at least $10. You have to provide your own towels. A facility like the banya is expensive to run, as was suggested in the above article. The owner has told me he just wants to break even.
    When I read this article, I thought that the author was describing Archimedes Banya, right down to the bracelets. That why I felt compelled to comment.

  • naturist philosopher

    I’m sure that the Banya is just right for a lot of people. However, I don’t think it’s what most young naturists would be looking for. To begin with, the price. $30 for a 3-hour “pass”? Just for a place to relax, clothing optional with friends? Apparently the prices for most of the optional services, food, etc., are pretty steep too. Oh, yeah, clothing is required in the “relaxation lounge” where people socialize.

    Not everyone is interested in the idea of “detoxifying” (whatever that means). And then, to judge by some reviews on Yelp, it doesn’t seem like a female-friendly place. Most women who are into naturism won’t be comfortable with mostly naked men around… even if they can wear a swimsuit themselves. And women who are naturists still probably won’t like being outnumbered by males 30 to 1. Naturist places usually have more men then women, but not such an extreme ratio. But perhaps it’s not usually so lopsided. (However, some women did give favorable reviews.)

    Young people in urban areas, who have good jobs, can afford things like this, if that’s what they want. But typical college students or underemployed college grads? Probably not.

  • Sanfranfan

    A place almost exactly as you describe has existed in San Francisco since January 2012. Archimedes Banya is coed and includes clothing-required and clothing-optional areas, including a clothing-optional rooftop sun deck with a great view of the city. Check it out at banyasf.com.

  • j238

    FelicityJones j238 Joshua wrote about his dream & asked readers to share theirs, and so I did.

  • phillywms

    j238 IanJamesPatterson The reality is that this place already exists in and around major cities all over the world.  And some of them, even in the US, include nudity ( (ie. King Spa in NJ is same sex nudity, Kiva in CA is coed).  And let’s not forget that very large naturist locations exist outside of major cities and are managing to stay afloat.  A city option would be much smaller and scalable.  For example, perhaps the space would only be coed nude once a week, and same sex nude the rest of the time at the beginning.  Obviously, a reasonable business person would try to scale and adapt over time, based on market demand in any given location (the Europeans have managed to do this within public locations). And perhaps the club would be a great place for non-landed clubs like Travasusuns Al Mahany to take advantage of for their events, without the hassle of explaining naturism. Ultimately, I think the big difference is having a naturist founder/manager/group, who is building towards a fully naturist operation, and is seeing things from the “naked is fine” perspective.

  • MatthewBlack1 We have a group here that does the same thing at a gym / spa once a month on Long Island, as Al has mentioned a few times in the comments here.  But Joshua is talking about something different in this article — having our own place!  Open all year-round, every day, just for naturists.  Rather than renting a place for an event once or twice a month.

  • j238 You ever hear of the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” ?  Well you should think about those words, every time you feel the urge to comment on this site.

  • j238

    IanJamesPatterson j238 Are you saying my comment was unrealistic?  Yup.  Every sentence. 
    Same for the main piece on this page.

  • naturist philosopher

    There actually was a place like that in New York City in the winter of 1931/32. This was very soon after naturism had appeared in the U. S. and was run by a group called The American League for Physical Culture. (Naturism attracted young people back then, and the emphasis on physical culture was imported from German-style naturism.) After trying a couple of locations unsuccessfully, the ALPC managed to rent a gym at 552 7th Ave. The place was rented for 3 nights a week and the main activities were calisthenics and volleyball. Unfortunately, the place was raided by the cops soon after it started, on account of anti-nudity laws of the time that made nudity illegal even in private places.

    Presumably something like that would at least be allowed to exist today, but who knows. The problem is business model. I’d think that the way to go would be to start from a large enough existing group of dedicated naturists in the NYC area. Find a place that could be rented on a regular basis. Some sort of existing gym or health club. Anything in NYC is probably going to be very expensive, and that will be a problem in any big city, but especially so in NYC. If possible, something easily accessible but outside Manhattan might be more affordable.

    I notice that “socialize with others” was the most popular reason chosen for visiting an urban naturist space. So there should be plenty of room to just sit and relax with others for conversation, small bull sessions, etc. Lots of comfortable seating. Perhaps a coffee shop atmosphere with appropriate snacks and refreshments available.

    Someone else mentioned Kiva in Santa Cruz as a good model. Of course, Kiva is a very small place in an old house in a semi-residential neighborhood, with a few outdoor hot tubs and a couple of cozy indoor rooms. Santa Cruz is a small town – but a college town, so that helps. In NYC, you’d probably want to be located conveniently to one of the large universities and publicize to the local students. But unfortunately, students won’t be able to afford something expensive.

  • j238

    Al Mahany Exactly how do you determine who’s a voyeur at a naturist event?

  • IanJamesPatterson

    j238 You are a dreamer. It would take magic to attract only cool people to a facility. Also, this would be cost would be high not modest. Such a facility in a major city would be far from cheap to create and maintain. Still, I like your dream.

  • Freewalkerma

    curt44319 
    Thankyou Curt for attempting to put a more level headed spin on some of the business challenges that confront Felicity’s dream.   However I am particularly seduced by j238’s rephrasing of the dream.   If this is to happen, it must be in an urban environment first as he and several others here have noted and there will most likely be a European angle behind it as Tellokabb and Matthew have suggested.    Similar things have been tried on a smaller scale in this country before and failed, most recently Faulty Towers a flawed effort in an over the hill beach resort town on the east coast of Florida.  San Fransisco had it in the grasp for a time, but for the moment, they seemed to have collectively botched it with a fare amount of blame to share around for all parties involved.    I suspect that they will come to their senses and sort it out there in time. 

      After numerous failures, there can only be success.   A hoop shot not taken in the big playoffs is one that will never be scored.   It is encouraging to see things like this finding some limited success in London.   I also hear of similar ventures thriving in Germany.    If the idea is to succeed in an urban center in the US, it may be the Europeans “shaming” us here to move on it, “keeping up with the Joneses” if you will that will help it come to pass.    Imagine for a moment, the city fathers and tourist bureaus of a top “destination” city in the US, New Orleans, Austin, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Portland,  the Big Apple itself NYC striving to outgun one another in the tourist dollar sweepstakes.   A local chamber of commerce member concluding that their city just might need to reach a bit higher for that extra something to achieve a true “world class cache” might float the idea first.    If they are smart about it, they will all get together in a smoky room and carefully sweep aside the usual sexual related objections and legal hurdles and cleverly coach the whole venture in terms like “embracing a growing continental trend.”   Hell, if our greedy corporate powers can sell tobacco to children successfully despite a half hearted 40 year ban on big media advertising, they can sell nude recreation to a population of uptight disbelieving adults in our culturally shell-shocked country, if there is a bundle of foreign tourist dollars to be made at it.  Navigating the local approval processes and challenges with the cautious support of authorities with vested interests need only succeed in one such city first.   There will soon be others scrambling to follow.   A dream for sure, but almost believable.   Stranger things have happened in this fair land of ours. 
    -Dan

  • j238

    Yes!
    The place would be spacious, modern and clean.  The user community would be diverse and the ratio wouldn’t be overloaded with Y-chromosers.  Everyone would be upbeat and respectful.  No need for screening members since everyone will be so cool.  Phone/camera policy would comply with your preferences and you’ll hear nothing but your favorite music.   
    In warm weather months the roof will slide open allowing members to enjoy some direct sunlight.
    They’ll be a weekly afternoon teen session to accommodate the huge interest by teenager in non-sexual nudity.  Saturday mornings will be reserved for families with small children.
    The popularity of the place would attract European tourists and boost the local economy.  
    Other nearby facilities, facing stiff competition would have no choice but to become naturist too! 
    Of course, the cost to visit would be modest.

  • livefyrebob

    another reason to visit an urban nudist center — naked is normal and a healthy expression of human wholeness

  • curt44319

    As both naturist and entrepreneur, this idea has been entertained before. 
    The major issues are being regulated as a “sex oriented business” in most communities, which sends the wrong message by law, before one even gets started, a viable market in relative proximity to provide a reliable stream of patrons, and a business model that attracts those patrons at a price that will both sustain the business and that the market will support.
    We are a niche market, which is why most landed clubs *are* clubs ! Still, there are entire communities in the world that do exist, and sustain. “Daily” would be a challenge, as the traffic during the week wouldn’t be what it will on weekends. If the weekends can subsidize the weekends…  The few of us commenting here are not enough to sustain a daily enterprise, even if we were all next door to each other. ( though that would be a good start )
    Look to Pasco County, Florida, and the successful daily naturist facilities there. Yes, they have the advantage of weather, but they also have a proven business model, and enough longevity to know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
    Probably the best way to make it real, would be a benevolent naturist hotel owner, or something similar, where the “main” textiled business interest can subsidize the naturist venture, and sustain it long enough to prove the model.
    Could work, but would take some very careful planning, and like any business, a not insignificant amount of venture capital to sustain the first year or so. Personally, I’d be one to do it, but insufficient funds these days prevent a realistic consideration.

  • tellokabb

    Great concept! Long overdue, I believe it can be and will be done in New York City. With people coming to New York City from all parts of this world who are more open to nudism and naturism, they would feel right at home with this. This can definitely work with positive fortitude and effort, let do it!!!

  • MatthewBlack1

    I’m the author of the novel ‘Clothing Optional’. Although fiction, the hotel in the book is loosely based on a real hotel north of London that hires its leisure facilities to the local naturist clubs twice a month.  We get a whole evening to use the pool, steam room and sauna.  There’s also a bar and dining area so some of us take dinner or just a drink, and because the facilities are in a separate building to the main hotel we don’t need to wear any clothes from the time we enter to the time we leave.  It brings in custom for the hotel on an evening when they normally wouldn’t use the leisure club, and we normally get 50-60 people, so do the math.  It’s a great success.  We don’t need to be members of a landed club, just go along and they make sure you’re there for the right (naturist) reasons.  Then you are on an ‘approved’ guest list and can go anytime.  Cost? About $7.50 per evening at present.   More on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clothing-Optional/354036594723346

  • Al Mahany

    It is already happening in Wantagh, New York.  See http://www.travasuns.org

  • Al Mahany

    The public is invited to our events

  • Al Mahany

    We do have such a system.  Voyeurs at our events get warned the first time and ejected the second time.   http://www.travasuns.org

  • JRWaffle

    I would love the option of dropping in to a place like this in the city… particularly in the winter.  I tend to get a little stir crazy during the colder months when my outdoor naturist activities are limited.  I very much enjoy socializing nude and haven’t got many opportunities to do so in the winter months

  • LouisBeach

    I really wanted to be part of one of these when I lived up North. Specially in the winter. Now that I live in Miami,Fl I can go to the beach most of the time. But I would still want to go to one of these nude clubs and wellness centers. Great concept if anyone knows of one in the Miami area please advise. This is good for the soul and mind, escape and relax.

  • phillywms

    Al Mahany But you’re a non-landed club, right?  I think the idea here is to have a full-time, naturist club in one physical place, where you can drop by at any time to socialize or take advantage of the amenities.

  • phillywms

    Krucifix  I think the idea here is more of a membership option in order to achieve cost savings if you plan to visit often.  Otherwise, pay as you go, seems like a great option, especially in contrast to traditional naturist clubs.  It sounds a lot like the Korean Spas, only on a smaller scale and with co-ed nudity allowed.

  • Al Mahany Thank you Al, but this is meant to propose a business idea for an open daily, year-round indoor naturist club, rather than just a monthly event.

  • Al Mahany

    Annual Travasuns membership $30
    Pool party attendance fee for our members if you pay online and in advance, $25.
    Hardly expensive.

  • Al Mahany

    For those of us in New York, winter indoor naturist events are not just a dream.  They are reality  Go to http://www.travasuns.org and check out our very real winter nude pool and hot tub parties.

  • Slawekny

    Hey, I found such place in Cali – Kiva in Santa Cruz (www.kivaretreat.com).
    I’ve been visiting Kiva for years now – nearly every time I am in SF.  :)
    Nearby, in the montains is my fav place – Lupin Lodge (http://www.lupin.com/)

  • IanJamesPatterson

    You would need to have a membership system that prevented the place from becoming full of voyeuristic men.

  • BenJaminTButler

    Eddie Gamble  sounds great Eddie but what about nudist family with children that love the nudist life too so A place like that can’t be just for adults  it would have to have family days to and all children day to

  • itoure101

    Heard good things about Common Ground Wellness Center, a gender inclusive clothing optional spa in Portland, Oregon. http://soakandsauna.com/ .

  • Freewalkerma

    Scubyw and Krucifix have both touched upon another facet of the point that I raise. In our culture, nudity by tradition, by mandate, and by law, is forced to exist behind walls. Anything that takes place hidden behind a wall becomes suspect, mysterious, even threatening to those on the other side. The same phenomena may happen over time to those on the inside….exclusivity fostering misunderstanding and mistrust. That is why my instinct has in many cases kept me away from the traditional format of landed clubs and would have me thinking twice about supporting the concept that Felicity proposes, an interim solution at best to the many problems that we naturists face. Besides “members only” is expensive and problematic to maintain and I am not wealthy.
    Dont get me wrong, hanging out and socializing, working out, enjoying fine dining, etc in the safe environement of a landed club or resort is a sublime experience. I would be lying if I were to say that I do not indulge these opportunities. While I enjoy such clubs and resorts as much as the next nudist, I strive to promote naturism in the open where more ordinary folks may come to understand and appreciate the benefits that the practices of nudity and healthy body acceptence could bring to society. I put my money where my mouth is wherever and whenever I can reasonably and responsibly get away with and enjoy public nudity, be it legally or illegally as the opportunities present themselves. You’d be surprised how supportive and accepting some textiles can be in the right settings.
    Yes we could and should have pleasant havens to enjoy and share, preferably with folks of all persuasions, but we must never loose sight of the greater goals that we naturists are working toward, an open, tolerant and accepting world that we can all share.
    -Dan

  • SolomonSeagal

    All of the above! My dream is to have that as my living room :)

  • Krucifix

    First and foremost, ditch the “membership” and allow the public to be a part of the scene.

    Personally, all the clubs and memberships have made naturism more exclusive and within that others are not getting the chance to experience it.

    I do not need a “membership” to stay at most resorts, spas, or hotels, why limit to a select few?

  • scubyw

    The voting options do not reflect my reasons to visit such a space. It is more an ‘all of the above’ as each option by itself would not be sufficient for to visit. The combination of the facilities together with the option to be in your ‘natural state’ provides the type of relaxation I would go for. If you consider the sauna, make sure to integrate it with all the ‘bells’ i.e. cold bath, foot baths, hot and cold showers, air bath(access to the outside, with perhaps access to the pool), relaxing area with access to kitchen facilities and bar (non-or light alcoholic only).
    Additional options could be an ice wall and a tanning area (This could be a relaxing area with UV lights above (low strength) imitating the outdoors.
    Freewalkerma (Dan) mentioned that it is against the law to have free access and nudity.
    Perhaps the model applied in Europe (Holland) by Center Parcs (prev. Sporthuis Centrum) is an option, but probably not on the top floor of a building (but, nothing is impossible). They operate holiday parks and specialise in short stay (weekend/mid-week) options. They have large sauna facilities even with their own theme. The short stay option could perhaps even be shortened to booking a ‘room’ for as long as they want to stay in the facility, a couple of hours or the evening etc. The room could easily be double-booked, just to get around the legal issue. It also helps controlling access for the undesirable individuals, who would otherwise be tempted to give it a go. Just a few thoughts :)

  • Freewalkerma

    Your dream is enticing Felicity, a safe place to chill with others. but at best, I see it as a transitional step to a culture where nearly every such facility is clothing optional by default. We have plenty of such facilities now, they just dont allow nudity. In my humble opinion, your dream facility would not be commercially viable or self sustainable without subsidy because of insufficient numbers and because the idea is segregationist. Separate but equal, a doomed idea. In fact that concept is against the law in this country. You see where I’m going with this? We naturists should be allowed access in the nude if we prefer, to all such places that exist now. Women achieved some of this parity with men 35 years ago in fighting for and gaining access to many tradionally male only institutions like the YMCA.
    The real nut to crack here would be to get the act of being naked recognized as a protected form of expression and access to clothing optional facilities assured by law as is access to public facilities by people with physical challenges is now. Why do I say this? Because I believe that some of us are born with a need to be naked and find nudity to be essential to our well being, yet we may never be a majority, thus we must seek to be an accepted and welcome minority, all be it, a valuable part of society.
    You have laid out a challenging and though provoking idea Felicity. Good show!
    -Dan

  • Freewalkerma

    Your dream is enticing Felicity, a safe place to chill with others. but at best, I see it as a transitional step to a culture where nearly every such facility is clothing optional by default. We have plenty of such facilities now, they just dont allow nudity. In my humble opinion, your dream facility would not be commercially viable or self sustainable without subsidy because of insufficient numbers and because the idea is segregationist. Separate but equal, a doomed idea. In fact that concept is against the law in this country. You see where I’m going with this? We naturists should be allowed access in the nude if we prefer, to all such places that exist now. Women achieved some of this parity with men 35 years ago in fighting for and gaining access to many tradionally male only institutions like the YMCA.
    The real nut to crack here would be to get the act of being naked recognized as a protected form of expression and access to clothing optional facilities assured by law as is access to public facilities by people with physical challenges is now. Why do I say this? Because I believe that some of us are born with a need to be naked and find nudity to be essential to our well being, yet we may never be a majority, thus we must seek to be an accepted and welcome minority, all be it, a valuable part of society.
    You have laid out a challenging and though provoking idea Felicity. Good show!
    -Dan

  • GlennGamblin

    Believe it or not, I was just chatting with my girlfriend over the weekend about just such an idea – we’re going to be in Vermont starting in January, and if I had the capital and somebody with a great marketing idea, I’d love to make this happen in Burlington!

  • BenJaminTButler

    Some towns could really some of those like mine as long as their just outside of town

  • Tim Hudgins

    Sounds great. My family and I would gladly visit such a place.

  • stilvollefrau

    I would love to see something like this even if it is in a neighboring city.  There seems to be a lack of naturist activities in the area, but that might be because my gf and I have just ventured into naturism.  I am sure we will find more resources over time.  I can’t complain too much since there is a naturist park only 2 hours from us.

  • BriaorDianus

    It’s a great idea Felicity, in Downey (near L.A.) where I live there’s nothing like this that I know about. It would be great to be able to be able to participate in social nudity without having to go all the way to the resorts that are so far away like Glen Eden & the others, although I love them dearly !

  • Eddie Gamble

    When I was in high school, our community had a youth center that we called “The Canteen”. It featured a lounge with a TV, coin operated snacks and beverages, a couple of pool tables and ping pong tables, and more. It was a place we could go to after school or on weekends just to meet and hang out with friends. 
    I never thought of it at the time, but wouldn’t it be great to have a place like that now for adults, and add the nudism aspect to it.  Just a safe, comfortable place to hang out and socialize with friends and relax while being naked. Wouldn’t even have to be spa-like or have a swimming pool.
    They have ethnic social clubs and other social organizations, why not a nudist social club of sorts?

  • DouglasTaylor2

    I would love this in my city. A place to go recuperate and enjoy the conversation of like minded people. I like dreaming. A sauna in the winter; Yeah!