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8 Different Types of Resorts

Couple enjoying on a resort on sunset.

Vacations are meant to be enjoyable. You imagine yourself relaxing on the beach, or perhaps even skiing the alps. However, they are often immensely stressful. 

You need to plan where you’ll stay, and what you will do. You must arrange transportation, and find places for your meals. In addition to this, you never know how much you’ll really end up spending on the trip. No matter how meticulously you plan your budget, you always go over. 

This is why resorts are so appealing. It removes the work and stress from your vacation. There’s no uncertainty. You simply arrive at the resort, and take advantage of all it has to offer. 

The hardest part of planning this type of getaway is determining where you will go. That starts by understanding the different types of resorts. You can choose the type that provides an ideal vacation, and leave the work behind. 

Something to Know 

To get the most out of this list, you should know a few things. Many resorts will fall into more than one category. For example, a family friendly resort may also be a beach resort. A mountain resort could also be an adventure resort. 

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Some resorts will have one main focus, while others could fall into several categories. If more than one category is important to you, find a resort that falls into these categories. 

Secondly, when choosing a resort, consider whether you want a highly focused resort, or one that offers lots of options. For example, you could find an adventure resort that focuses solely on adrenaline-fueled activities, or a beach resort that offers activities like parasailing. 

1. All Inclusive Resorts

All Inclusive Resorts on the seashore.

Pros:

  • No surprise costs
  • Reduces stress associated with paying for items individually
  • Allows you to indulge without guilt

Cons: 

  • What exactly is included can be confusing
  • Inclusions vary from resort to resort

All-inclusive resorts are very popular these days, and most resorts fall into this category. These resorts allow you to pay a flat price for your vacation, and enjoy nearly anything you want. It is important to note that what is included in “all-inclusive” varies from resort to resort. 

An all-inclusive resort must provide accommodation, three meals each day, non-alcoholic drinks, and gratuities. Many choose to include alcoholic drinks and most or all activities that are offered at the resort in the price. Be sure to read the fine print before you book, so you know exactly what you are getting, and what you may need to pay extra for. 

2. Resorts Based on Who’s Allowed

A couple on the pool enjoying their drink.

Some resorts allow anyone, regardless of age or relationship status. Others focus on a specific category, like couples, families, or pet owners. 

Everyone’s Welcome Resorts

Pros:

  • Many different types of people
  • Everyone is welcome
  • Something for everyone
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Cons: 

  • Can be busy or loud 
  • Fewer specialized amenities or activities

Have you ever seen a friend in a shop or restaurant and said, “Wow, they’ll let anyone in here?” Of course, it’s said in jest, but these resorts aren’t joking. 

They typically offer a little something for everyone, and there are no restrictions on who can come. Families, singles, and couples are all welcome. 

The only issue with this type of resort is that  when you offer something for everyone, it’s difficult to offer a lot for anyone. 

Family Resorts

Family resorts are designed with families in mind. There may be a few adults only areas, but generally the resort is open to all ages.

These resorts have child friendly activities, and some even provide babysitting. Now that’s my idea of a dream vacation. 

Technically, family resorts are everyone’s welcome resorts. I’ve never seen a resort where bringing a child was a requirement. However, family resorts focus on being fun for children and adults, while general resorts simply allow children, without providing specialized activities for them. 

Adult Resorts

Pros: 

  • Id may not be required once you check in
  • Adult focused activities
  • Child free atmosphere

Cons:

  • Are there any?

Adult resorts are adults only. The age restrictions vary, with some allowing anyone over 18. Many, particularly in America, require that you be 21. 

One benefit of an adult resort, particularly 21 and up, is that you won’t need your id to get an alcoholic beverage. 

If you crave a child-free vacation, this is the way to go. These resorts also offer plenty of adult activities. 

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Couples Resorts

Pros:

  • Romantic atmosphere
  • Adults only
  • Inspires intimacy

Cons: 

  • Can seem overly sentimental

As the name suggests, these resorts are only for couples. They typically have a romantic atmosphere. You’ll be there with other couples, and there are lots of activities specially designed for two. 

Pet Friendly Resorts 

Pros: 

  • Bring your pet with you
  • Meet other pets
  • Potential pet amenities and pet sitting

Cons: 

  • Other pets can be noisy or intrusive

Pet friendly resorts allow you to bring your furry best friend along for the trip. Some resorts are pet accepting, while others are truly pet friendly. A pet accepting resort allows you to bring your dog. 

A pet friendly resort will offer activities and amenities specifically for pets. These may include a welcome basket with treats, a play area, grooming services, and pet sitting. 

It should be noted that pets are like children. Just because you love yours, doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy being around everyone elses. If you choose a pet-friendly resort, you’ll need to be prepared to hang out with lots of pets, not just your own. 

3. Sports Focused Resorts

A sport resort with a small ponds.

If you want to spend your vacation being active or working on your golf game, these are the resorts for you. 

General Sports Resorts 

Pros: 

  • Lots of sports and fitness activities
  • No vacation weight gain
  • Comfortable amenities

Cons: 

  • May not offer relaxing activities

General sports resorts offer many types of sports activities. These can include swimming, tennis, golf, and cycling. The focus of these resorts is typically on fun as well as fitness. 

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They typically offer healthy dining and beverage o/ptions, as well as lots of health or fitness related activities.

One of the best things about these resorts is that they often offer lessons. Want to improve your swimming technique or try your first triathlon? A general sports resort will allow you to do it. 

Golf and Tennis Resorts

Pros:

  • All the golf or tennis you want
  • Private or group lessons
  • Top of the line courses or courts

Cons:

  • Other activities may be limited

Golf and tennis resorts focus on offering golf and or tennis activities. Some resorts offer both, while others focus on golf or tennis. In addition to courses and courts, you can find private and group lessons for all ages and abilities. 

Of course, they offer all the amenities you would expect at a resort as well. This allows you to relax and focus on your game worry free. 

Ski Resorts

Pros:

  • Ski slopes
  • Other winter sports like snowboarding
  • Non-ski activities typically available

Cons: 

  • More expensive than most resorts

Ski resorts provide skiing and other winter sports activities. If you dream of hitting the slopes, a ski resort is the perfect destination.

These are typically mountain resorts. Some are ski in and ski out. They offer beautiful surroundings, typically snow covered mountain tops. 

You’ll find skiing and snowboarding lessons, as well as courses for all skill levels. There are also plenty of non-skiing activities. Some ski resorts offer sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. 

Ski resorts are also famous for their comfort and luxury as well. Some ski resorts offer spas or indoor pools for non-skiing fun as well. 

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4. Destination Resorts

Destination Resorts with a pool and coconut tree.

Destination resorts offer their location as the main attraction. The activities they offer will often center around this location. A beach resort, for example, will provide lots of water activities. 

Beach Resorts

Pros:

  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Water activities
  • Private beach

Cons: 

  • Limited activities if you don’t enjoy water

Beach resorts are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a resort. They are located seaside around the world. 

One of the best things about this type of resort is that they offer a private beach. You can enjoy the ocean without the crowds of a public beach, or the rules associated with them. 

Island resorts are typically beach resorts, but not all beach resorts are island resorts. Island resorts are a beach resort located on an island. 

Lake Resorts

Pros:

  • Surrounded by nature
  • Often offers privacy with cabins and cottages
  • Amenities can be included on site

Cons: 

  • Wilderness isn’t for everyone
  • Not all lake resorts have on-site amenities like dining and entertainment

Beach resorts get all of the attention, but lake resorts also deserve recognition. Lake resorts are often located in wilderness areas. You can be surrounded by trees and nature, yet have all of the amenities available at a 5 star hotel. 

Lake resorts are known for providing relaxation, as well as offering plenty of fun activities. 

Most lake resorts don’t have hotel style accommodations. Instead, they offer cottages and cabins. However, they may still include restaurants, nightclubs, and even a spa at the resort. 

Mountain Resorts

Pros:

  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Lots to do
  • Plenty of amenities
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Cons: 

  • City can be far away

Mountain resorts are located in mountains. Some are ski resorts or lake resorts, while others have pools, hiking, and biking through the mountains. 

If you love being in untouched wilderness without giving up modern comforts, mountain resorts are a great option. 

5. Spa Resorts

A couple enjoying on a Spa Resorts.

Spa resorts provide a relaxing experience. They can be focused on health or relaxation. They are the ultimate place to rest and recharge. 

Luxury resorts

If you dream of spending days at the spa being pampered, a luxury spa resort may be for you. They offer luxurious amenities in addition to a wide range of spa treatments. 

These typically include massages, saunas or steam rooms, and facials to name a few. 

You may find indulgent fare like a t-bone along side health-focused smoothies and grilled mahdi mahi. 

Health Resorts

Pros:

  • Relaxing or healing
  • Can provide lasting change
  • Improve your health

Cons: 

  • Some pleasure may be sacrificed for health
  • Activities can be limited

Health resorts typically focus on a mix of pleasure and health. A luxury spa resort will offer some healthy options, but the focus is on pleasure and relaxation. 

A health spa resort, on the other hand, has a much stronger focus on improving health while still providing an enjoyable experience. 

When it comes to food and drinks, you can expect a myriad of healthy options.

Some health resorts offer medical care, and have a team of doctors on hand at all times. This type of resort is ideal for managing ro treating health conditions. 

Weight loss health spas focus on helping you lose weight. Some focus on short term results, like dropping a few pounds before a big event. Others focus on long term lifestyle changes. 

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Still others have a strong focus on mental health. They may offer counseling, meditation, or yoga. 

Health focused spas may offer alternative health treatments. These can include mud baths, body wraps, and detox programs.  

6. Historical Resorts

Historical Resorts and an old castle.

Historical resorts offer a unique experience. Some historic resorts are castles or historic buildings. Others are located in a historical area. This type of resort typically provides historical education and experiences, along with typical resort amenities. 

Castle Resorts

Pros:

  • Unique experience
  • Luxurious castle stay
  • Learn about the history of the time

Cons:

  • Some may have limited activities or amenities

If you long for medieval or Edwardian times, consider a castle resort. These resorts are historical castles, which provides a one of a kind experience. If you find yourself dreaming of living like a king, you can, at least temporarily. 

In addition to a luxurious experience, you’ll learn about the history of the castle itself and the time period it was built. 

Historic Building Resorts

Pros: 

  • Learn about the history of the building
  • Historical experiences can include recreations
  • Can inspire children to love history

Cons:

  • Activities not related to the history of the building may be limited

These resorts are also historic buildings. Some of these even recreate historic times, while still providing modern amenities. It’s a great way to bring history to life, which can be particularly inspiring to children. 

Some are very luxurious, rivaling luxury resorts and hotels. Biltmore Estate, for example, is the largest home built in America.  Many have had famous guests. The St. James Hotel, for example, hosted Jesse James and the Earp brothers. 

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7. Adventure Resorts

Children enjoying on the adventure resorts.

Is your idea of vacationing full of adrenaline instead of relaxing? Do you want to spend your days being active rather than sitting by the pool. Adventure resorts are full of excitement and fun. 

Adventure Recreation Resorts 

Pros:

  • Lots of ways to enjoy yourself
  • Plenty of excitement
  • Never boring

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to decide between activities
  • Some activities can be dangerous

Adventure recreation resorts include one or more exciting adventure activities. They may include hiking, biking, white water rafting, or zip lines. 

Many adventure resorts offer many ways to have adventures, instead of focusing solely on one theme. You are sure to have a good time, but you may have to sign a release upon arriving. 

Dude Ranch

It’s not exactly the type of excitement most people envision, but a dude ranch is absolutely adventurous. They’ve been around since the 19th century, and have the same goal now as they did then. 

They take “city slickers” and emerge them in the western lifestyle. Horseback riding is available at all dude ranches. Most offer fishing or biking as well. Some even allow you to work with cattle or participate in a rodeo. 

A dude ranch allows you to experience a taste of the cowboy life, without the downsides. You won’t sleep on the ground or have a meal of pork and beans. However, you will be immersed in a lifestyle you aren’t familiar with. 

Lifestyle or Adult Resorts

Pros:

  • Unparalleled freedom
  • Clothing optional
  • Intimate atmosphere

Cons: 

  • Not for the modest or faint of heart

Lifestyle resorts are a different type of adventure altogether. They cater to “lifestylers”, or “swingers”. If you aren’t interested in partner swapping, this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t consider this type of resort. 

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The biggest rule of this type of resort is no means no, and you will never be pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. Many people enjoy this type of resort simply for the freedom it provides. 

Generally, clothing is optional at these resorts. Public displays of affection of all types are often allowed. Some resorts designate certain areas as clothing optional or anything goes, and other areas more similar to a traditional resort

8. Meaningful Resorts

Perhaps you want your vacation to focus on something meaningful to you. If you are deeply religious or spiritual, there are resorts that cater to these experiences. Others are eco-friendly, so you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about your carbon footprint. 

Eco-Friendly Resorts

Pros:

  • Better for the environment
  • Modern amenities
  • Better for local communities

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive than other types of resorts
  • Can be limited in activities or amenities

What is an eco-friendly resort? According to The International Ecotourism Society, eco-tourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”. 

Eco-friendly resorts work to have as little environmental impact as possible. Most still provide modern amenities, often including a spa and fine dining, as well as recreational activities. 

Most eco-resorts are located in remote areas, surrounded by natural beauty. Many of the activities they offer will likely take advantage of this setting. 

Religious or Spiritual Resorts

A woman sitting and enjoying on a small pond.

Religious or spiritual resorts cater to different religions or spiritual paths. They are an excellent way to find deeper spirituality or meaning in your life. 

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Resorts work well for this because they include everything you need, including lodging, dining, and activities. Unlike spiritual conferences, you will stay constantly immersed in the experience the entire time you are there. 

No matter your religious beliefs, you can likely find a resort that fits your values and beliefs. From Christian resorts to Ayusacua resorts in the Amazon, they all have the same goal. To bring you closer to your chosen spirituality.