Even in the present time, overweight people are laughed upon simply because of their size. Such people find it hard to sit in a plane or lie down on a normal bed hoping that it doesn’t break under their weight. They feel embarrassed and insecure.
James King who worked at a resort in Grenada, witnessed a plus-size woman fall through a plastic chair to the ground and was laughed upon by nearby guests. Adding to the emotional insult, the resort management charged $150 for the damaged property. Although James suggested having facilities for plus-size people, the management refused his request.
After spending years researching and planning, finally he opened a resort, simply called The Resort in the Bahamian island of Eleuthera in 2015. This is a safe haven where overweight people can stay and enjoy themselves openly without any prejudice. Since its opening thousands of people, even average sized ones have visited it and marveled at the architecture and facilities it has to offer.
Outwardly, it looks like any other resort. However, facilities there are upgraded for plus-size vacationers. The beds, reinforced with steel and lounge chairs made of sturdy wood can hold up to over a thousand pounds. There are wide doorways and showers with lower entry steps. Buffet is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Apart from all these, The Resort also offers group therapy and activities that “force the guests to re-evaluate their bodies”.
Of course, to enjoy these facilities you also need a fat wallet. The price to rent for six days is $16,400. Also, small groups of between two and 24 people can be booked. For a group of 24, the price is reduced to a bit over $100 per person. This also includes access to the private beach which is five miles long.
Shawn-Marie Riley visited The Resort in 2015 and shared her experience in The New York Post.
“What’s so great is The resort’s recognition that people of size have insecurities and challenges that the general public never considers. Will they have chairs I can sit on? Will the bed hold my weight? Will I fit in the tub?”
A documentary of The Resort produced by British channel ITV follows a British group of overweight men and women during their stay at the property.
There are plans of opening a similar resort on a nearby island. However, James is not interested in running a chain of hotels.
“I’d prefer that mainstream properties – the Hiltons, the Sheratons – become plus-size friendly. I’ve proved it works. This is a huge segment of the market and I know there’s a business traveller who has to go to Manhattan and would love to stay in a hotel where he doesn’t have to worry about breaking the bed.”
Garima Nabh is the founder of New Age Magazine.