“Oh yes, a vacation!” you say as you finalize dates and request time off from work. You’ve decided on a destination weeks ago, dreamed about the places you’ll see, and simply cannot wait to relax. The next step is choosing a place to stay, and furthermore, choosing between a hotel or resort. “What’s the difference?” you may ask.
What the answer boils down to is what each has to offer. Hotels’ primary purpose is to provide comfortable lodging. A resort is more like a self-contained development that can be a destination in its own right. Most travel needs such as dining, entertainment, shopping, local transportation, and more can be found within the resort’s establishment. A hotel may offer some of these options to an extent, but rarely on the same scale as a resort.
Hotels are often located near major transportation corridors like freeways, airports, or main streets. As a result, hotel lobbies usually stock a rack or display of brochures for nearby and local activities, theme parks, shopping centers, museums, and other tourist attractions.
Resorts, on the other hand, have a wide variety of activities within walking distance of your room. While hotels are generally near transportation corridors, Resorts need more space for their numerous amenities and will often be near ocean shores, mountains, forests, and more. Many resorts use this key fact to offer equipment rentals for outdoor activities. The Coeur d’Alene Resort, located on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, offers jet skis, boats, paddleboards, and kayaks for rent. Additionally, resorts have luxurious pools, hot tubs, fitness centers that are often larger with higher-end equipment than most hotels.
Resorts will also have larger-scale activities. Whether it’s special tours of the local area, adjacent theme parks, or even shopping centers, most resorts will have at least two or three great options for guests.
Hotels are often situated with a nearby or internal restaurant. A bar and lounge will sometimes be part of this restaurant, but in higher-end hotels, there may be a separate bar and restaurant. The food is great and has all of the casual comfortable staples. If the restaurant doesn’t have what you’re craving, almost all hotels have a directory of local restaurants in hotel rooms.
A resort will have multiple restaurants serving up a variety of flavors and experiences. Whether you’re searching for an upscale atmosphere or a casual bite, there’s something for everyone. For example, The Coeur d’Alene Resort hosts eight award-winning restaurants serving authentic Italian, exceptional five-star cuisine, casual bar food, special desserts, and more. Check out their full restaurant lineup HERE- so many delicious options!
Vacations are meant for relaxing. Laying back on a comfy massage table while knowledgeable hands untangle your knots and your mind drifts off to ambient music should only be the beginning of your experience. However, spa services are another difference between hotels and resorts.
Hotels will sometimes have a spa with limited services like massages, manicures, and pedicures. Some don’t have a spa and instead allow a local massage therapist to give free 25-minute massages in the lobby, while others may consider their hot tub a spa.
Resorts offer a full range of spa and salon services, including Swedish massages, lash extensions, hair color, skin treatments, and so much more. While this isn’t always an option for hotels, resorts will sometimes build entire vacation packages or retreats around spa services. Can anyone say girls weekend?
Sometimes hotels will have live entertainment for guests, though they will usually be able to tell you about entertainment in the area as well as provide you with a channel guide for their cable television.
Resorts and hotels are sometimes confused since they both offer lodging options and dining options. Resorts, however, commonly offer more activities on a larger scale than hotels. If you’re only looking for a place to stay, a hotel may provide everything you need. However, if you prefer convenience with a wide range of amenities, resorts are the way to go.