After traveling from Iceland to Italy for my honeymoon, these were the most fat-friendly hotels I stayed in.
When my wife and I started thinking about traveling to Europe for our honeymoon, I went to my favorite Facebook group, Fat Girls Traveling, for some investigating. It’s not the fun kind of research where you excitedly discover tours, experiences, and adventures, but rather, the kind of investigating you have to do as a “fat girl.”
The usual questions arose: How would I be treated? Would the beds be big enough? Would I be able to use the toilets comfortably? Would I be able to sleep without A/C? The results of my digging, initially, weren’t particularly promising.
In the United States, 67% of women are considered “plus-size.” Meanwhile, Europe is known for its small beds, smaller toilets, and uncomfortably cramped accommodations. As my wife and I are both plus-size, this makes finding a comfortable place to stay challenging, particularly an air-conditioned hotel with beds and toilets that fit. But that didn’t stop me.
Travel isn’t just for folks with socially acceptable bodies that fit into society’s view of how travelers should look. Fat people, like me, deserve to feel the joy, freedom, and rejuvenation that travel offers. And so, I planned a 23-day luxury European honeymoon that my wife and I deserved after being COVID-era brides and having a wedding ceremony with no in-person guests. After our travels took us through Iceland, France, Italy, and Switzerland, we found seven European hotels that—despite some problems—earned my unofficial “fat girl seal of approval.”
Top Picks for You
The Silica Hotel at The Blue Lagoon
WHERE: Grindavík, Iceland
Almost everyone has heard of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, but did you know that the famed geothermal spa has two magnificent hotels? The Blue Lagoon is far from Reykjavík (about 45-minutes driving), so finding a place to stay right on the property is the way to go.
The Silica Hotel isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a remarkable hotel with a marvelous private lagoon. The hotel offers a spacious, one-level luxury accommodation that is perfect for a plus-size traveler. King-sized beds are available, though some websites mistakenly identify them as full-size. Each room has a small patio, which overlooks a lava field, with select rooms that include views of the surrounding mountains and blue mineral waters.
The bathroom is lovely and spacious, with a walk-in shower and toilet with enough room on each side for a more comfortable fit. The Silica Lagoon is accessible with a ramp that takes you directly into the lagoon. While the hotel (and the lagoon) provide robes, I suggest you bring your own if you’re larger than 2x. They fit my wife, but even the one labeled 4x did not fit me.
INSIDER TIPTake the shuttle to the on-site Moss Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. The tasting menu offers a unique and colorful view of Icelandic cuisine and shouldn’t be missed. Make reservations in advance.
Hotel De Sers
WHERE: Paris, France
Hotel de Sers is a magnificent and jaw-dropping hotel fit for the most romantic of vacations. Located in the heart of Paris, the Hotel De Sers is within walking distance (or a short Uber ride) from the Eiffel Tower. Our two-room suite included two bathrooms, a kitchenette, and a massive two-person tub. The tub easily fit the two of us, allowing for a romantic evening. Depending on the room you end up in, you may have a toilet on the smaller side. The second bathroom in our suite was larger and more comfortable than the first one.
While the accommodations are the best, it was the kindness and courtesy of the staff that really stood out. When I asked about the toilets, they kindly explained that the exact size of the water closet varies from room to room, but if you give the hotel a ring before your stay, they’ll be sure to book you a room with a larger toilet.
INSIDER TIPDue to COVID, the hotel restaurant was closed during our stay, so we took a fantastic food tour from the Tour Guy instead. Initially, I was intimidated, but the walk was leisurely and the guide and food made it completely worth it.
Hotel Edouard VII
WHERE: Paris, France
Hotel Edouard VII is a sister property to Hotel De Sers, with an artsier vibe and more budget-friendly price tag. Upon arriving, we were greeted by the desk clerk, who offered to bring up our luggage. I suggest you take them up on the offer as the elevator is tiny and difficult to fit in alongside suitcases.
We stayed in a smaller corner suite that came with a small balcony. The water closet was small by American standards but had enough room for me to fit comfortably, for the most part. The hotel is located right in the city’s heart and is a great home base for your Paris vacation.
INSIDER TIPFor a sweet treat, head next door to Pierre Herme, a patisserie with dozens of macaron flavors and other delicious desserts, including ice cream.
The St. Regis Rome
WHERE: Rome, Italy
Drumroll, please. This hotel had towels that fit me, and, frankly, The St. Regis Rome just gets better from there. The St. Regis Rome is the most beautiful, magnificent building I’ve ever stayed in. Designed in 1894, it had the first elevator (which is still operational) and public ballroom in Rome.
The entire hotel feels very Roman with its golden accents, regal paintings and busts, high ceilings, and airy feel. Meals are served in an enclosed private garden, with varying styles of seating, including couches.
The rooms feel bright and welcoming, but allow for great sleep when you draw the blackout curtains (a lifesaver for overcoming jet lag). The water closet included a bidet (always a plus) and had enough room to be comfortable with a full-size tub and separate shower.
INSIDER TIPFor a truly unique dining experience, make reservations at Imàgo. The restaurant offers a panoramic view of the city and serves contemporary reinterpretations of Italian cuisine.
Crowne Plaza Milan City
WHERE: Milan, Italy
We took the train from Rome to Milan for a short-but-sweet two-day stint at The Crowne Plaza. The central train station is about a five-minute drive from the hotel, and the hotel has a 2 PM check-in time, making it an incredibly convenient stay.
The hotel felt comfortable but not luxurious, with a fantastic view from the full-length windows covering nearly half the bedroom. Instead of the water closet we had come to expect, the bathroom was quite similar to the ones we have in the States, except it had a bidet as well.
INSIDER TIPOn Airbnb Experiences, we found a local family welcoming tourists with a home-cooked meal. Although it could have been awkward, the couple was warm, the food was delicious, and the experience provided a lasting memory.
WHERE: Geneva, Switzerland
This Geneva, Switzerland hotel feels like it was made for royalty—and it’s not just because of the sports cars outside that are worth more than my annual salary. Our room came with a king-size bed and big bay windows that opened to views of the lake and majestic Jet d’Eau.
If I thought that the elevator at Hotel Edouard VII was the smallest it could get, Hotel d’Angleterre blew that out of the water. My wife and I tried to squeeze into it together and an alarm sounded! For the rest of the stay, we each took the elevator separately. Overall, the staff at Hotel d’Angleterre were truly phenomenal, and the concierge proved instrumental in helping us make dinner reservations and offering travel advice to our stay.
INSIDER TIPThe hotel restaurant has divine food and should be on your dining itinerary. Get the pea risotto; you won’t regret it. If you want to try fondue, Auberge de Savièse is a few blocks away from the hotel and is simply perfect.
Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
WHERE: Reykjavík, Iceland
We ended our honeymoon back where it started in Iceland. In the three weeks that we were gone, temperatures dropped 30°F, so we were glad when we made it to the Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel. Walking in, the hotel somehow felt warm and homey despite its size.
The tub was massive, and the room came with a glorious little balcony and an impressive view. I’ve never seen a bathroom with a tub that I could easily fit into, so I was impressed from the moment I walked into the room. As is typical in Iceland, the bed came with a split comforter (much to our dismay), but it was like laying on a bed of feathers. The water closet was a bit of a squeeze, but not too bad.
INSIDER TIPOur best bite in Iceland was a bowl of butternut squash soup at the Sky Lagoon, a new luxury spa experience right outside of Reykjavík. The soup is perfect on a cold and windy day.