James King was working his very first day at a resort in Grenada when he witnessed a plus-size woman fall through the flimsy plastic beach chair and onto the ground. Nearby vacationers laughed at the spectacle, which understandably left her humiliated. And to add insult to injury, King tells Babble that the resort management charged her $150 for damaging hotel property.
I know firsthand what that kind of humiliation feels like; and hearing that story took me right back to a time in my own life that I’ve been trying to forget for years now.
It happened during an exploratory teaching class I was taking my senior year of high school. I was sitting in a rocking chair, reading a storybook to a kindergartner in my lap, when the chair collapsed from under me. It gave both of us a scare, and I was so embarrassed I didn’t even tell the teacher in charge what happened. She approached me when I came the next week to gently let me know a volunteer fixed the chair, and maybe I’d be better off reading with the children on the floor. I was 18, nearly 300 lbs., and absolutely mortified by the whole situation.
That day on the beach in Grenada stuck with James King. He wasn’t okay with the way the resort handled the plus-size patron, and immediately suggested that management upgrade the flimsy furnishings. They refused.
But after a decade of research and planning, he finally did right by that woman he saw on the beach that day, and countless others just like her. Two years ago, King opened his own resort in the Bahamas, simply called The Resort — specifically intended for plus-size beachgoers — and it’s been a haven to thousands ever since.
Shawn-Marie Riley visited The Resort in 2015, not long after it opened, and recently raved about her experience to 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,” she told the paper. “Will they have chairs I can sit on? Will the bed hold my weight? Will I fit in the tub?”
Riley added that she’d been referred to as a “beached whale” at typical tropical resorts and was relieved to be able to walk around in a bikini without fear of judgment at The Resort.
Trust me, I know how rare that feeling can be. I’ve come a long way since the rocking chair incident and have no issues strutting around in a bathing suit these days — even a bikini. However, getting to that point took years of a “fake it ’til you make it” attitude, because I didn’t want my daughter to grow up hating her body like I did mine for so very long. For those who struggle with shame and insecurity about their size (and likely for good reason, as fat-shaming is a real thing and it’s extremely painful to endure), The Resort is an oasis. Even just knowing that you’ll be able to comfortably relax in a chair that’s wide enough and strong enough for your body takes a lot of travel worry away.
The Resort books small groups of between two and 24 people who have exclusive use of the entire beachfront property for their entire stay. Property features include extra-wide beach chairs, steel reinforced king size beds, and showers with lower entry steps. The cost to rent the property for six days is $16,400. But if you’re able to get together a group of 24, this comes out to $683 each, or just a bit over $100 a day per person. Not bad for an all-inclusive beach vacation, if you ask me — especially if you want to feel comfortable at a bigger size.
Plans are in the works now to open a second location on a nearby island that will accommodate single travelers, couples, or smaller groups without having to book the entire property. And thanks to a recent documentary on the British channel ITV, news of The Resort is spreading, with more vacationers booking and arriving daily. (If you want to check it out, the documentary chronicles a British group of plus-size men and women exploring the beautiful property. And it’s pretty evident they’ve found true comfort and peace at The Resort.)
So it looks like I need just 23 more plus-size babes to get me a booking … Who’s in for a girl’s week in paradise?