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What Is a Resort?

A resort is a haven for relaxation and recreation, offering guests an array of amenities such as lodging, dining, and entertainment in one location. Often nestled in picturesque settings, resorts provide an escape from the everyday. Whether seeking adventure or tranquility, a resort caters to your desires. What kind of resort experience speaks to you? Explore the possibilities.
Eugene P.
Eugene P.

A resort is a place used for relaxation, vacation or as a daytime getaway. While this can be a single building such as a hotel, it also can be an entire island or a ship at sea. One of the most desirable aspects of a resort is that visitors are freed from most daily responsibilities, which are usually taken care of by the facility's staff. Several activities are normally offered at resorts, including massages, meals, cosmetic treatments and live entertainment.

There are many types of resorts. Some cater to a certain audience, such as families or single adults, while others attempt to have a broader appeal. Depending on the philosophy behind the resort, the staff might strive to meet every need the guests have, allowing them to relax quietly. Alternately, some resorts might provide vigorous guided physical activities such as mountain climbing or hiking.

Luxury resort hotels offer many opportunities for relaxation.
Luxury resort hotels offer many opportunities for relaxation.

Different resorts often provide very different experiences. Some operate like a luxury hotel and give their clients a day or two of complete relaxation. Other resorts function like miniature cities, even providing long-term housing for those who want an extended stay. Larger locations can sometimes have entire shopping malls within their boundaries, complete with a selection of restaurants and other stores.

Resorts may hosts events such as a wine tasting.
Resorts may hosts events such as a wine tasting.

A resort also can be built around a single theme. This theme could be anything from a favorite movie to a historical time period. Resorts that are built around a specific theme usually offer activities and events that are somehow associated with it, such as horse riding lessons in a Western-themed ranch.

The actual location of the buildings also can be used to define some resorts. Ski or beach resorts are examples of this. Even though there might be many natural or manmade attractions in the immediate area, the resort itself is actually defined as the destination.

Some resorts will have ways a person can pamper herself, perhaps with a bubble bath.
Some resorts will have ways a person can pamper herself, perhaps with a bubble bath.

A collection of industry definitions has been established that allow a location to be uniformly classified as a resort. A proper resort, according to these standards, offers their patrons at least one signature amenity, which is defined as the main activity the visitors can enjoy. There also is the inclusion of at least five secondary experiences, such as spa offerings, sports activities and hiking trails that can be utilized. Finally, they should provide their guests with rooms for the night and offer some type of dining opportunity. These distinctions are used to tell which destinations are resorts, which are simply hotels, and which ones fall into neither category.

Frequently Asked Questions

What defines a resort compared to a regular hotel?

Some resorts in Europe offer fine food and accommodations at a luxurious estate.
Some resorts in Europe offer fine food and accommodations at a luxurious estate.

A resort is typically a self-contained establishment that offers a wide array of amenities and recreational facilities, creating a complete vacation experience. Unlike regular hotels, resorts often feature extensive grounds with attractions such as golf courses, water parks, and private beaches. They aim to provide guests with all their needs on-site, reducing the need to venture out for dining, entertainment, or relaxation.

What types of resorts are available for vacationers?

Resorts located right on the beach can be quite popular.
Resorts located right on the beach can be quite popular.

Vacationers can choose from a variety of resort types based on their preferences and needs. There are beach resorts located on the coast, ski resorts in mountainous areas, golf resorts with premier golf courses, and spa resorts focusing on wellness and relaxation. Additionally, there are all-inclusive resorts where meals, drinks, and activities are included in the price, offering a hassle-free holiday experience.

Are resorts suitable for family vacations?

Winter resorts include ski slopes for guests to enjoy.
Winter resorts include ski slopes for guests to enjoy.

Resorts are often designed with families in mind, offering amenities and activities for all ages. Many have kids' clubs, family-friendly pools, and entertainment programs. According to the Family Travel Association, family travel is a significant segment of the industry, and resorts cater to this by providing diverse options to keep children engaged while ensuring parents have opportunities to relax and enjoy themselves as well.

How do I choose the right resort for my vacation?

Most resorts will give visitors the chance to have a massage.
Most resorts will give visitors the chance to have a massage.

To choose the right resort, consider your desired vacation experience, budget, and the amenities that are important to you. Research the location, read reviews, and compare what's included in the price. Look for resorts that offer activities and facilities that match your interests, whether that's water sports, culinary experiences, or cultural excursions. It's also wise to check the resort's policy on sustainability if environmental impact is a concern for you.

What should I expect in terms of cost when booking a resort?

Some luxurious resorts include golf as a guest amenity.
Some luxurious resorts include golf as a guest amenity.

The cost of staying at a resort can vary widely depending on the location, type, and level of luxury. All-inclusive resorts may seem more expensive upfront, but they can offer good value as they include meals, drinks, and activities. According to a report by Statista, the average daily rate for resorts in the United States was about $204 in 2020. However, prices can range from budget-friendly to ultra-luxurious, so it's important to research and compare options within your budget.

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Discussion Comments

julies

My husband and I visited a Sandals couples resort for our 10th wedding anniversary. This is the first time we had done something like this, so didn't really know what to expect.

From the moment we arrived, we felt like we were treated like royalty. It seemed like all of your needs were taken care of before you even thought about them.

It was the perfect way to relax and spend a few days not worrying about work, schedules, appointments and telephones. This is one vacation where we felt truly relaxed when it was over.

Although it can be hard to come back to reality when you get back home, it was well worth the time and money spent.

I have three kids and am used to having kids around all the time, but it was nice having a place to go without kids for a few days.

John57

The most recent resort hotel I stayed at was Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. We were there in December when the entire hotel was decorated for Christmas. It was quite a spectacular site to see.

This hotel had been destroyed from recent floods, so it was newly renovated and remodeled. All of the indoor landscaping and huge Christmas trees were breathtaking.

There is also a canal of water that winds throughout the hotel and you can take a relaxing boat ride and enjoy the scenery.

This is a very large hotel and easy to get turned around in. Depending on where you want to go, you can also get quite a bit of exercise in. We were there for a convention for 3 days, and found that we never had to leave the hotel for anything.

icecream17

@Latte31 - I had a friend that went to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas and she said that her and her family had a great time. They said that the resort had a water park that offered a bunch of pools along with a different water slides and a lazy river.

They also had a series of planned activities for children like pottery classes and movie screenings. She said that they had a game lounge and a teen club for older kids. She felt it was well worth it because her husband got to enjoy some golf while she enjoyed the spa. She said it was the best vacation she ever took.

I know that many of these Caribbean resorts offer special pricing during the month of September because that is the height of hurricane season where bookings are generally down.

latte31

@SauteePan - I also think that the all inclusive resorts are wonderful because the vacation is prepaid so you really don’t have to worry about additional charges and can relax and enjoy your vacation. It is almost like being on a cruise. The only bad thing about these all inclusive resorts is that they usually don’t allow children so I guess this would not be an option for me because most of these resorts are for couples only.

I think on my next trip I really would like to go to a mountain resort and go skiing. I live in Florida and I would rather go to a resort that is totally different than what I already have here in Florida. I try to stay away from beachfront resorts because I actually live on the beach and want to see something different. I also don’t like the isolation that you feel from going to some of these resorts. Going to a Bora Bora resort sounds exotic but I know that after a few days, I would be bored. I prefer more active vacations.

SauteePan

I think that vacation resorts are great because aside from being relaxing there is usually a number of things you can do for entertainment. A lot of them offer spa treatments, golf, and activities like snorkeling and sailing.

Some even have options to swim with dolphins or participate in a zip line or go mountain biking. It really depends where you go because different resorts specialize in different activities. I know that resorts in Atlantic City are also popular for the gambling. A lot of people enjoy the unlimited gambling they have, but I would rather do something else.

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    • Luxury resort hotels offer many opportunities for relaxation.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Luxury resort hotels offer many opportunities for relaxation.
    • Resorts may hosts events such as a wine tasting.
      By: misaleva
      Resorts may hosts events such as a wine tasting.
    • Some resorts will have ways a person can pamper herself, perhaps with a bubble bath.
      By: Ariwasabi
      Some resorts will have ways a person can pamper herself, perhaps with a bubble bath.
    • Some resorts in Europe offer fine food and accommodations at a luxurious estate.
      By: Daddy Cool
      Some resorts in Europe offer fine food and accommodations at a luxurious estate.
    • Resorts located right on the beach can be quite popular.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      Resorts located right on the beach can be quite popular.
    • Winter resorts include ski slopes for guests to enjoy.
      By: The Photos
      Winter resorts include ski slopes for guests to enjoy.
    • Most resorts will give visitors the chance to have a massage.
      By: Dmitry Ersler
      Most resorts will give visitors the chance to have a massage.
    • Some luxurious resorts include golf as a guest amenity.
      By: Warren Goldswain
      Some luxurious resorts include golf as a guest amenity.
    • People might spend time catching up on reading while at a resort.
      By: Dudarev Mikhail
      People might spend time catching up on reading while at a resort.
    • Many resorts have pools that guests can relax in.
      By: mrallen
      Many resorts have pools that guests can relax in.