What Is the Difference between a Hotel and Resort?

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  • Written By: Lauren Romano
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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The difference between what a hotel and a resort offers has to do with the services they provide, their location, and the activities and amenities available on-site. A resort is usually spread out over more land compared to a hotel. Considering the extra land, there are more activities for guests to partake in. Resorts also usually offer more on- and off-site freebies and discounts to guests. Although a hotel and resort seem similar, the reasons often differ for why guests choose to stay at one over the other.

A hotel and resort are quite different in terms of how much land they're on. A resort is typically on a substantial amount of property, so its able to have more rooms available for guests as well as plenty of extra space for features such as a golf course. The extra land is also on or near a more natural environment. A hotel is often on just enough land for the parking lot and the building itself. It's also usually on a main highway so it's easy for guests to have access to activities in the area.


The amenities and activities available on-site can vary greatly between a hotel and resort. A hotel may have a small fitness room and a business center, but not much else. There may be one eatery, if any, but there will usually only be room service or vending machines available. A resort often has two or more restaurants or lounges in addition to room service. There may also be other activities or amenities available, including on-site music and dancing, sports such as golf or tennis, a large exercise room, computer area, and even a spa.

Another major difference between a hotel and resort is sometimes how many freebies and discounts one offers over the other. While a hotel usually offers a free newspaper, Wi-Fi access and breakfast, the resort offers all that plus much more. It may also offer guests free shuttle service to and from an airport, provide free or discounted tickets to nearby tourist attractions, or have discounts to eateries on and off the property.

Although both a hotel and resort provide guests with a place to sleep, the latter is typically more of a vacation destination in itself because of everything it offers. Those who stay in a hotel are usually only there to sleep or for business meetings or conferences. The area around the hotel is typically what guests are more interested in.


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Post 5

@Sara007 - With a family of five I would stay at a resort as the babysitting facilities and activities for children are usually second to none. When my own family was planning a trip we looked at all sorts of St.Thomas hotels and resorts, and were amazed at the different services offered in the Virgin Islands.

We actually settled on a resort as it offered a very intense summer camp for the kids which would keep them out of our hair for hours on end during the day. While that may sound a bit harsh, it was great for my wife and I to have some alone time together. Plus, all you can drink is the way to go. There is nothing better than a cold beer and a private beach.

Post 4

My family and I have been looking at Palm Spring hotels and resorts and are wondering if anyone knows what would be better for a family of five?

We really need to have at least one of our meals included in our package, and it would be nice if there were some scheduled activities as well. From our own research it seems like the resorts are much more expensive and restrictive than the hotels, but I like the security they offer.

With the hotels, they usually include breakfast and have a tour desk on site, so there is a lot more freedom. I wonder though if I will be able to have access to the same babysitting facilities that resorts offer. I would really like to get away from it all with just my husband.

Post 3

Whenever I go on vacation one of the biggest tasks is figuring out whether to stay in a hotel or a resort. Sometimes resorts actually turn out to be cheaper than higher-end hotels because of all of the activities, drinks and food that they include.

On a recent trip to Maui, hotels and resorts really were a world apart. For a great beach experience, the resorts were definitely the way to go, as they offered private access to beaches that were stunning.

If you are ever considering booking a resort, make sure to check whether the beach is private or not. I have been to a few where anyone could access the beach and it really took away from the feel of everything.

Post 2

I've never been able to afford to stay at an all-inclusive resort, but it's kind of a dream of mine. I have a ten-year-old son and a baby daughter; in a few years, they will both be wanting their own activities, but of very different kinds, and my wife and I of course enjoy time just to us. A family-friendly resort, or cruise, might be the best option for us.

I would look for something with all-you-can-eat meals to keep the budget in check - my son is already an eater and I don't see him slowing down any time soon! And many family-friendly resorts have activities for preschoolers, tens, and everything in between. My daughter could do some seashell crafts or a sing-along or whatever they have and my son could try a rock-climbing wall or some other adventurous thing.

Post 1

I think the difference between fine hotels and resorts may also depend on where they're located. The article seems to be describing hotels that are located in or near cities and comparing them to resorts in vacation spots like the beach.

But there are other circumstances that come into play. For instance, you might go to the beach and stay at a resort and basically never leave it. But I took a vacation to St. John a few years ago and we stayed in a hotel in the downtown area of this small island. We didn't want to spend all our time at a resort! We wanted to explore the downtown and check out several different beaches, including ones

that required hiking or boating to. Nothing wrong with staying at a resort if you want to and that's your budget - not everyone is an explorer - but if you want to see more of the area, a hotel is a better bet.

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