My regular followers are probably aware that we have just returned from two blissful weeks in Greece, starting on Rhodes so we could check out the new (as of last year) naturist hotel, Naturist Angel Club, then on to Crete where we made our second visit to Vritomartis on the south side of the island. (More about that part of the trip coming soon.)
While Greece has a long tradition of technically illegal, but largely tolerated nude beaches, we have been pleased to see several clothes-free inns and hotels open over the past several years. As best I can tell, many of these ventures have been borne out of a desire to find a niche market amidst an otherwise mind-numbingly vast array of accommodations – which appears to be the genesis of Naturist Angel Club Hotel.
Having never visited Rhodes before, it was most definitely one of those “where the hell are we” sort of arrivals, particularly showing up at a time when the economy was on the brink of collapse. As you depart the smallish, aging airport, you can turn left for a twenty-minute drive into the Old Town (past a myriad of chain hotels and resorts,) or you can go to the right and head down the coastal highway, through a couple quaint – and by quaint, I mean difficult to drive through – little towns until you’re on the open road that would lead you down the less populated side of the island. You could easily whiz by the Naturist Angel without noticing; an older property that used to cater to people who like roadside motels, perhaps? But despite our tepid first impressions from the parking lot, we made our way inside where the owner greeted us with warmth and enthusiasm, eager to tell us all about the hotel, the island, the nearby beach (which we never used), the entertainment schedule… Admittedly, we were travel weary and didn’t catch the details as to everything he had on offer, but appreciated the friendly welcome, nonetheless.
For those who have stumbled across this blog post, you should know that our travel priorities are quite specific:
- We want a safe place to stay, naturist when possible, with the amenities you would expect at a three star or better hotel, but devoid of the innuendo and overtones that you sometimes experience at “clothing-optional” venues.
- We are likely to spend a significant amount of our time lounging with a book by the pool or the sea, but quite frankly, we’re not terribly particular about which – and, of course, we don’t want to feel like the only naked people in the crowd.
- An finally, while naturism is a big deal for us, nakedness by itself does not constitute a top-ten travel destination. Our reading-sunning-swimming time is best punctuated by exploring the region, tasting the wine, exploring the villages, and adding to our list of serendipitously charming restaurants.
Naturist Angel Club most definitely met the criteria, even though it’s a bit remote. The pool area is a lovely sanctuary, with a nice vibe during the day that is absolutely family friendly. (There were several couples with babies while we were there, as well as a family with a young daughter, but the property is large enough that it never felt noisy or crowded.) Trip Advisor reviews mention the noise from the amazingly convenient airport, which indeed, has an amazingly close flight path for departures over the sea in amazingly close proximity to the hotel. I, for one, happen to be one of those people who will sit at the end of a runway to watch planes land and take off, so I didn’t find this annoying, (or even noticeable inside our room with the doors closed) but it’s most definitely loud enough to cause one to pause conversation for a few moments. Simply one of those things better to know before you get there, but for us, not a big deal.
The owner mentioned that he had loungers and umbrellas available at the nearby beach which is “naturist tolerant.” Having a sea-view room. we could make a general assessment of what that beach might have consisted of, beyond the farmland adjoining the hotel. Given our bliss and contentment reading and snoozing by the pool, we thought our beach time would be better spent making the 40 minute drive to Filiraki, the “official” naturist beach across the island, which turned out to be well worth the trouble. (See that post here.)
That all said, the shining stars of the Naturist Angel Club are the staff members; an international team representing Russia, Latvia, and Greece – but all with outstanding English. With all due respect to the French, we found the staff to be so warm and eager to make our stay memorable that we almost felt like we were leaving family behind when we left at the end of the week. (Not something we commonly experience in Germany and France.) That, and the fact that if you chose to dine in at the hotel, each evening featured a regional specialty, all of which we found to be excellent. We did make it into Old Town Rhodes for a couple excursions to buy a few trinkets and pay too much for lesser meals, but truthfully, it was a bother to get dressed and leave this little oasis of paradise.
We will eventually make our way back to the Naturist Angel Club as it was an excellent value for our naturist euro, and there is much of Rhodes we’re still eager to see. And it seems the prospects are looking good for this little seasonal inn, as they are apparently fully booked for the rest of this season. I’m hoping that’s good news for them, and good news for the prospect of other potential naturist venues in Greece. Even the staff said that naked people are among the kindest (and cleanest!) of clients they have experienced in the hospitality industry.
So there you are, Greece! Open more naturist boutique hotels and we’ll come drop our clothes and ramp up the cash flow. We’re ready to do our part!