Vacations should be a time of relaxation where you can kick back, be yourself, and just lay back letting your stress and tension melt away. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for some women. Jerks who like to body shame women on the beach, at the hotel, or even the plane can raise the blood pressure instead of lowering it.
James King recognized some of the challenges that plus size people face while travelling and created The Resort, a “sanctuary” where people can stay in the Bahamas without being ridiculed about their weight.
“I tried to convince the owners that we needed furniture other than this plastic flimsy stuff, and they didn’t care. I decided that I had to do something,” said King.
The idea took about a decade before it really started taking shape. After securing the location of The Resort, King had to deal with how to furnish the property to accommodate his guests comfortably.
“The biggest issue was that no one manufactures for plus-size people,” King says. “We needed beds that are able to hold up to 1,500 lbs., we needed lounge furniture and beach furniture that doesn’t break. And it just doesn’t exist. So everything that we have there I had to create and prototype.”
Beds are built to hold up to 1,500 pounds, the colorful Chaise lounges can support up to 550, and the toilets are reinforced. Also, doorways and furniture have been designed to be wider than other resorts.
Located on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, The Resort boasts a five mile private beach for guests to enjoy. Guests can also enjoy numerous activities, such as swimming, paddle boarding, yoga or canoeing.
A six-day stay for a group starts at $16,400 including food (a mix of American and Caribbean food served three times a day). The Resort only takes reservations for small groups – not singles or couples. A group can be up to 28 people (in 24 rooms) which can make the price very affordable per person if you can round up a bunch of friends.
There’s no minimum weight for members of a group (but they must be over 18 years old). However, there’s a rough maximum weight of around 400 pounds with the main concern being a guest’s mobility moving up and down stairs.
King’s vision and persistence has paid off as the first resort geared towards plus size people is enjoying strong bookings. King has said that even though The Resort is less than three years old, about 10% of its reservations are from repeat customers. The Resort has also been featured shows on iTV (“The 18-30 Stone Holiday”) and TLC.
The success of The Resort has King exploring new locations such as nearby Cat Island, Scotland, and the United States. However, King’s goal doesn’t seem to be to become the next major multinational mega hotel chain.
“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 traveler 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,” King told ABC News.