A resort town is a regular city where the hospitality sector is dominant; such communities typically feature their seaside, winter sport and/or pleasant upland climate in otherwise hot seasons or areas, and/or gambling. Some of these towns also have an old town or districts less dominated by tourism.
A purpose-built resort is a facility run by a single company.
A resort is a captive market, and might be framed as an overpriced "tourist trap" detached from genuine local culture. They can however be preferred for travelling with children, honeymoon travel, senior travel, or group trips, to provide more comfort and safety, and lower culture and language barriers, than a regular city. In uninhabited regions, a resort might be the only place to stay.
An all-inclusive resort provides activities as well as food and a place to stay. Travelers may go there with the expectation of staying for a week without leaving the property. The daily fee can be quite high compared to a nearby hotel, but once you arrive, nearly everything is included.
When comparing prices, look carefully at what is and isn't included in the quoted price and the services offered. For example, does the price you were given include all the taxes and fees? Does it include alcoholic beverages, individual services (such as a massage or manicure) and all activities, such as golf? Are the activities included the ones that you want to use? If you don't plan to get on a horse, then it might not matter whether horseback riding lessons are included in the standard fee.
A destination resort is a resort with activities that people would travel to visit, such as a seaside resort with a particularly lovely beach, or a ski resort in an area known for its winter sports. The Disney properties with integrated hotels are considered destination resorts.
Resort spas appeal to visitors looking for relaxation in a health-conscious environment. Spa towns are resorts at a water spring, with some historical legacy; usually from the 19th century. Spas can also spring up near hot springs.
Places marketed under this title vary in their offerings, from large, all-inclusive resorts with a wide variety of programs to focused weight-loss programs to hotels that offer little more than a hot tub and a masseuse on call. Unlike most larger resorts, resort spas can be small and in the middle of a city.
Smaller resort spas are not usually all-inclusive resorts. Instead, they charge separately for different exercise classes and personal services.
Consider a health spa if you are looking for a focused health-improvement program. Most health spas don't allow children as guests. It is typical for guests at a health spa to be travelling alone.
Today, resorts are usually booked through the resort company itself, or through a travel agency. Prices tend to peak during holidays and favorable weather. Retired people and others with a flexible schedule can find cheaper offers outside the main season.
Some resorts provide ownership of second homes, usually timeshared.
Most package trips to resorts include the flight to the nearest airport, often on "holiday charter" airlines. The stretch from the airport to the resort is usually covered by a bus or taxi ride arranged by the tour operator.
In addition to a place to sleep and food to eat, resorts are known for offering activities. Many are located outside of urban areas, and offer the benefits of outdoor life in that region. Some common activities at resorts include:
- Water sports, such as swimming
- Tennis and other racket sports
- Fitness center
- Horse riding
- Hiking trails
Many resorts offer activities for children or daycare facilities.
Resorts may also host festivals or other events.
Gambling is usually the main attraction at destinations with more liberal legislation.
All-inclusive resorts serve food at least three times a day.
Resort towns usually have a choice between dining at the hotels, or downtown restaurants. In general, the food becomes more affordable (and possibly more authentic) the further you go from the hotels and the attractions.
Resorts might provide guided tours to the surroundings.