Resort Destinations

While mountain-based and golf and tennis-based resorts are geared toward people that are relatively athletic, water-based resorts target people with all abilities. One can relax on a beach for hours without lifting a finger. Another could swim or jet ski until they are exhausted. Water-based resorts serve different ability levels of people and all ages.

Many resorts design their facility around the natural environment that surrounds them. This allows them to frame their recreational activities to the natural land. This enables them to create amenities unique to their property.

Often resorts use water for a variety of recreational activities that cater to a wide range of people. These include (12):

  • Natural beaches that may be used for sunbathing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, sandcastle building, jet skiing, kayaking, etc.
  • Trails and open spaces can be designed around lakes and wetlands. These areas can be used as fishing or camping sites.
  • Golf courses built on coast lines are growing in value and popularity. In the United States, many resorts highlight the views to promote their golf course.
  • Marinas bring tourism to resorts as sailboats, motorized crafts and wind surfing stop to refuel or rest.
  • And spas of course!


When it comes to beach resorts, many variables come into play. A good beach should have a gentle uniform slope of about 7 percent. This creates a comfortable incline for sunbathers, walkers, joggers and sand-castle builders. The water purity and sand color are vital to an aesthetically
pleasing area (12).

In developing a beach-based resort, the designer should also consider the back beach which offers a view to both the sea and inland. Rooms with a scenic view are more profitable than rooms without it. Additionally, the surrounding area should be assessed to ensure access to major roads and other basic needs of guests that the resort cannot support (12).

Other resorts use pools as a major source of entertainment. Using heated pools in winter assures that the facility is year-round friendly. Activities such as water bingo, log rolling and relay races may all be performed in the pool. Resorts can also host fitness classes in pools. A creative way to use water in northern resorts is to build indoor water parks. Safety should be a major concern for water-based resorts. Staff should be Red Cross trained if guarding pools and beaches. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related to children ages 14 and under (13).

Some of Mobil Five-Star award winning water-based resorts of 2005 are (8):

  • Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Florida
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Florida
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida

© 2005 Melissa Osterer