It's entirely possible that Freedom Paradise Resort for plus-size guests was an idea simply ahead of its time—and that's why this Mexican haven is no longer open for business. The concept that it introduced seemed like an obvious one that would attract droves of guests:
Provide a vacation getaway where people of size would feel not only comfortable, but welcome.
After all, even couples who don’t conform to brochure images of the slender and muscular still fantasize about enjoying a sensual beach vacation. Yet many plus-sized people hesitate to expose themselves in shorts and swimsuits to the critical eyes of other vacationers.
Despite the fact that an estimated 70 percent of U.S. adult population is considered overweight by the Centers for Disease Control and until Freedom Paradise Resort launched, no vacation property had thought to focus on this market.
A Big Idea
Relatively secluded to encourage seaside enjoyment without inhibition or prying eyes, Freedom Paradise Resort boasted having a powdery white sand beach that fronted the Caribbean Sea for 250 yards.
Special care was taken at the resort to ensure that even the largest Freedom Paradise guests would feel comfortable and free from embarrassment: Four-foot-wide chaise lounges encouraged couples to stretch out, benches without constricting armrests surrounded the property, and reinforced dining room chairs measured a generous 26 inches across.
Hotel walkways were broad, and reinforced king-size beds encouraged uninhibited romance. Railings were placed in showers and pools to make access easier. The staff (of all sizes) was trained to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of guests.
As an all-inclusive, Freedom Paradise Resort offered guests a choice of five restaurants to dine in during their stay. Cuisine included international, Italian, Mexican, a steakhouse, Hawaiian-style seafood, plus a snack bar.
Weddings and Honeymoons in Paradise
Special wedding and honeymoon packages were available to guests who stayed at Freedom Paradise Resort. The wedding package included a suite in a private area, a king-size bed, a civil wedding ceremony, and a private party on the beach or in a salon that featured a special menu of the couple’s choice.
Honeymooners, even those who married elsewhere, were assigned a suite in a private area with a king-size bed. In addition, they received flowers or fruit on arrival, room service breakfast, a bottle of sparkling wine, and monogrammed his-and-hers bathrobes that actually fit.
What Happened to the Resort?
It's not clear whether Freedom Paradise Resort ran into financial or managerial problems that led to its closure.
Shortly after the change was announced, a representative of the resort wrote that it was still, but not exclusively, size-friendly. That mixed-size policy continued for a while, but there is no vestige of the resort left. Someone held onto the original Freedom Paradise website domain, but it now promotes the Riviera Maya, the region where the resort once stood.
Where Can a Plus-Size Couple in Love Go Now?
Although the Freedom Paradise Resort no longer exists, The Resort on the island of the Eleuthera in the Bahamas is another plus-size exclusive property. However, they only allow bookings for small groups between two and twenty-eight people.
For non-group bookings, no similar resort has picked up the mantle Freedom Paradise dropped. Yet, that shouldn't stop you and your significant other from planning a beach vacation. Although the size acceptance movement is still in its infancy, fat shaming is now the province of uncouth pinheads. So, go where your hearts lead you, be boldly in love, and forget any sidelong glances you may attract.