Competition has gotten stiffer for resort operators in recent years as the amenities that previously set a resort apart — spas, white-tablecloth restaurants and golf courses — now can be found at nearly every luxury property.
These days, resorts are highlighting new bells and whistles that match their surroundings, such as guest lectures by local historians and guided excursions for guests into the surrounding countryside or waters. Some are catering to families by adding family tee times, livestock and other diversions.
At Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, longhorn steers, donkeys and an alpaca are permanent guests as part of a “zoo” that also features horses and a 125-pound Newfoundland dog named Hoss, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Austin resort also caters to teenagers with activities such as horse back riding, zip lining, Frisbee golf and kayaking on the Colorado River.
“A resort in some ways is like an amusement park,” said John Scovell, Chief Executive of Dallas-based Woodbine Development Corp., owner of four U.S. hotels and resorts, including the Austin Hyatt. “Every once in a while, you have to add a new ride.”
Meanwhile, Woodbine’s Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio offers a manmade “river” and beach for tubing and lounging and the resort’s golf courses block off nine of their 27 holes most afternoons for use by families.