Resort vs Hotel: What’s the Difference?

Are you planning a trip and wondering whether to book a resort or a hotel? The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually offer very different experiences.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: A resort is a self-contained destination that offers a wide range of amenities and activities, while a hotel is a place to stay that usually offers limited services and facilities.

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between resorts and hotels, and help you decide which one is right for your next vacation.

Location and Size

Resorts are typically located in more remote or exotic locations, such as beaches, mountains, or forests. They are often larger than hotels, with expansive grounds and multiple buildings.

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a resort may be the perfect option for you. Resorts are often situated in more secluded locations, like a tropical island or a mountain retreat. This allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings and enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere. Resorts are also typically larger than hotels, with spacious grounds and multiple buildings. This means there’s plenty of room to spread out and explore, whether you want to take a stroll through the gardens, relax by the pool, or participate in one of the many activities on offer.

Some popular resort destinations include Bali, Hawaii, and the Maldives. These locations offer stunning natural beauty and a range of activities, from water sports to hiking and sightseeing. Resorts in these locations often feature amenities like spas, restaurants, and bars, making them a great choice for a relaxing and indulgent vacation.

Hotels, on the other hand, are usually found in urban or suburban areas, and tend to be smaller and more compact.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in a city or town, a hotel is likely your best bet. Hotels are typically smaller than resorts and situated in more urban or suburban areas. This makes them a convenient choice for business travelers or those looking to explore a city or town. While hotels may not have the expansive grounds of a resort, many offer amenities like gyms, restaurants, and bars, making them a comfortable and convenient option for travelers.

Some popular hotel chains include Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental. These hotels can be found all over the world and offer a consistent level of comfort and service. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a hotel can provide a comfortable and convenient home base for your trip.

Amenities and Activities

Resorts offer a wide range of amenities and activities

If you’re looking for a vacation that has it all, a resort might be the perfect choice for you. Resorts typically offer a wide range of amenities and activities, designed to keep guests entertained and relaxed throughout their stay. One of the biggest advantages of staying at a resort is the variety of options available. Most resorts have multiple pools, including kid-friendly options, as well as spas, fitness centers, and restaurants. You can also expect to find bars and entertainment options, such as live music or performances.

Many resorts go one step further and offer outdoor activities like golf, skiing, or water sports. This can be a major draw for travelers who want to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors. Some resorts even offer guided tours or excursions, which can be a great way to explore the local area and learn more about the culture and history of your destination.

Hotels usually have fewer amenities and activities

Hotels, on the other hand, may offer fewer amenities and activities than resorts. You can usually expect to find a basic fitness center or restaurant, but don’t count on much more than that. Some hotels may have a pool or a rooftop bar, but they typically don’t offer the same range of options as resorts.

This can be a good thing if you’re looking for a more low-key vacation. Hotels can be a great option if you just want a comfortable place to sleep and are planning to spend most of your time exploring your destination. However, if you’re looking for a vacation that offers a wide range of activities and amenities without having to leave the property, a resort might be a better choice.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all resorts and hotels are created equal. Some hotels offer more amenities than others, and some resorts are more focused on relaxation than activities. Do your research before booking your vacation to make sure you’re getting the experience you want.


Resorts often have a variety of accommodation options, from standard hotel rooms to suites, villas, or private apartments. These accommodations are usually more spacious and luxurious than those offered by hotels.

When it comes to accommodations, resorts often offer a wider range of options than hotels. In addition to standard hotel rooms, resorts may also have suites, villas, or private apartments available. These accommodations are typically more spacious and luxurious than those offered by hotels.

Resorts often prioritize relaxation and comfort, so their accommodations are designed accordingly. For example, villas or private apartments may come with additional amenities such as private pools, hot tubs, or personal chefs. This level of luxury is less commonly found at hotels.

Resort accommodations also tend to be more expensive than hotel accommodations. However, if you’re looking for a luxurious and relaxing experience, a resort may be worth the extra cost.

Hotels generally offer standard rooms or suites, which may be smaller and less luxurious than resort accommodations.

Hotels typically offer a more limited range of accommodations than resorts. Standard rooms and suites are the most common options, with fewer additional amenities than resort accommodations. These rooms may also be smaller and less luxurious than those found at resorts.

However, hotels may be a better option for travelers on a budget. Because hotel rooms are typically less expensive than resort accommodations, you may be able to stay in a nicer hotel for the same price as a more basic resort.

Hotels also tend to be more centrally located in urban areas, making them a convenient choice for business travelers or tourists who want to be close to major attractions. Resorts, on the other hand, are often located in more remote or secluded areas.


Resorts Hotels
Offer a variety of accommodations Offer standard rooms and suites
Accommodations are more spacious and luxurious Accommodations may be smaller and less luxurious
May have additional amenities such as private pools or personal chefs Offer fewer additional amenities
Tend to be more expensive Are typically less expensive
Located in more remote or secluded areas More centrally located in urban areas


When it comes to price, resorts are often more expensive than hotels. This is due to the additional amenities and activities they offer. Resorts typically have on-site restaurants, bars, spas, pools, and other recreational activities, which can drive up the cost for guests.

However, for travelers who plan to take advantage of those amenities, resorts may actually be a better value. Rather than paying for each activity or meal separately, guests can often get a package deal that includes everything they need for their stay.

  • Did you know? According to a study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the average daily rate for a resort in the United States was $251.25 in 2019, compared to $131.21 for a hotel.

Hotels, on the other hand, are typically more affordable than resorts. While they may not offer the same level of luxury or activities, hotels provide a comfortable and convenient place to stay for travelers on a budget. Many hotels also offer complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, and other amenities to make guests’ stays more enjoyable.

  • Fun fact: The world’s most expensive hotel room is the Empathy Suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, which costs $100,000 per night.
Resort Hotel
Higher Lower
Amenities More extensive Less extensive
Activities Abundant Limited
Target audience Luxury travelers, families, honeymooners Business travelers, budget-conscious travelers

Ultimately, the choice between a resort and a hotel comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re looking for a luxurious and all-inclusive experience, a resort may be the way to go. If you’re focused on affordability and convenience, a hotel may be a better fit for your needs.


In conclusion, the main differences between resorts and hotels come down to location, size, amenities, activities, accommodations, and price. When choosing between the two, consider your budget, travel goals, and the type of experience you want to have. Whether you opt for a luxurious resort or a cozy hotel, the most important thing is to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Similar Posts