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.
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.
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. A beach or ski resort is an example 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.
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.