NASSAU, Bahamas: With 40% of the world's population being plus sized, James King owner of "The Resort" in Eleuthera, Bahamas decided to build a hotel that would be a safe haven for them, free from body shamers and humiliation.
The first of its kind in the world, the idea came to James 15 years ago while working as a managing director in a popular hotel in Grenada. It was his first day on the job and he had just arrived at the resort. He decided to get a coffee and while stirring his coffee, he glanced outside and witnessed a young lady, attempting to sit on a chair but falling through with her legs flailing up; she was red with embarrassment while the other guests were laughing. The following day, while James was meeting his co-workers, he heard screaming at the front desk, the same lady that had fallen out of the chair was now being charged $150 for the destruction of hotel property and she wasn't pleased. There wasn't much he could do but it was here that he began to put his plan in motion.
While working in Grenada, James spent most of his time trying to get the property he worked on and other properties to accommodate people who were plus-sized.
"I spent 3 years trying to get that property and other properties to accommodate people who were off plus size and I got nowhere, a matter of fact I got laughed at," he said. Reflecting on his choices, James admitted he didn't know much about ownership. When he couldn't get anyone to sign onto his dream, he decided to do it himself.
Twelve years ago, his plan took motion and his first challenge was finding a property suitable for what he had in mind.
"I was very blessed that a friend of a friend of a friend introduced me to another friend and we developed a friendship and a partnership and have put this together and the world is starting to see the results of it now."
After the property had been secured, James realized that finding furniture to accommodate guests would be the real challenge as they would have to be fully customized.
"Everything had to be custom done then I had to find a property that was accessible to an airport but remote enough to be private so that people of size that had never felt comfortable on a holiday could go actually go someplace and not only not worry about facilities but have the privacy to go the beach without being stared at and people making jokes."
Double shower heads, lower bathtubs, beds that were built to handle 15000 lbs without breaking, pool chairs that could sufficiently hold without breaking are just some of the items that had to be custom made to ensure that guests were all accommodated.
The resort which was over 12 years in the making finally opened in 2015 and James says the reaction has been phenomenal. It is located on Unique Village, which is near Palmetto Point. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful turquoise beaches with a freshwater pool on property and it offers snorkeling to its guests. The option to paddle board is also offered on the other side of the island but according to James 90 per cent of guests never leave the property.
Although few amenities are offered, James believes he offers something more valuable than amenities and that is a peace of mind.
"I'm trying to do something positive, no body shamers and no humiliation. We ask them to take their watches off, they're not allowed to use WIFI outside of the rooms and cell phones aren't allowed in the dining room. This is a place of serenity, a safe haven, this is for you to just be yourself for a change and guests love it, they don't go off the property, at all."
Booking is easy as the whole property is offered at the price of $16,400 for groups with a minimum of two persons and a maximum of 24 people can book for six days. Drinks and gratuity are priced on the honors system. The rate per person depends solely on the number in your group. For more information, visit The Resort on Facebook.