Which is Better – a Small Resort or a Large Resort?

When you’re looking for authentic experiences and extra perks for your next luxury vacation, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons of small resorts vs. large resorts to decide which one is right for you. A boutique hotel can be a hidden gem that allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and environment while still enjoying full-service amenities. But a large resort offers a dazzling array of choices that can’t be found anywhere else.

On a recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, we stayed at a smaller resort—Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedragal—for part of the trip and a huge resort—Solaz, Luxury Hotel and Residences—for the rest of the time. Both were extraordinary, but each had its own selling points. Here’s what we learned by comparing a small resort to a large resort.

Pros – Small Resorts

A small resort can be iconic, giving you a truly memorable experience of another culture and lifestyle. Here are some of the other benefits of thinking small:

  • Conveniently located – can easily walk from pool to room to buffet without a long trek
  • Memory-making visits– at the Waldorf we ate at a restaurant called El Farallon built on a cliff while watching th 30 foot waves slam into the rocks, and we worked out in a gym overlooking the Pacific Ocean
  • Some adult-only amenities – Waldorf had adult-only pools and bars, as did Solaz
  • Smaller crowds, intense white glove pool and pool-side bar service

  • More relaxing and slower paced
  • Easy to get insider recommendations for interesting excursions
  • Personalized service – smaller resorts sometimes offer faster and better service, for example, the staff doesn’t point and give you guidance on where to go, they personally walk you to your destination.
  • Friendly staff – willing to go above and beyond to make your trip perfect

Cons – Small Resorts

A small resort, no matter how much they try, still cannot offer the same variety of a large resort. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of going small:

  • Fewer staff may be stretched thin helping too many people
  • Smaller pool or fewer pools with less seating available
  • Buffet or restaurant has fewer choices and you will eat in the same place multiple days
  • Limited options for activities – you will just have to focus on relaxing
  • Possibly has dated technology – the Waldorf, however, had plenty of tech with charging stations, Wi-Fi and LCD televisions in every room
  • Limited number of guests and availability, people watching is limited
  • Excursions need to be arranged for off-site adventures

Pros – Large Resorts

Large resorts have perfected the science of luxury vacations in ways that boutique hotels could only dream of. Along with welcome exclusivity, you will have many choices at the large resort. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Many different styles of restaurants and themed buffets
  • Wide array of activities
  • Excellent amenities – the Solaz had amazing indoor/outdoor showers and private swimming pools on the balcony
  • Adult-only pools and swim-up bars
  • More pools and activities can make it more festive on long holiday weekends
  • Longer shorelines and beautiful vistas
  • Unlimited booking options for corporate retreats
  • May have full child care options
Solaz’s Indoor and Outdoor Patio Room Showers

Cons – Large Resorts

For all of its amenities, a large resort can leave you feeling like just another number. You may miss the personal connections that could be found in a smaller resort. Here are some other potential drawbacks:

  • Lots of walking – to pools, restaurants, even the lobby to Solaz through the gardens was a beautiful, albeit long walk
  • Shuttles can take you to different places on a large resort, but you have to wait in line for the next one
  • Easy to get lost – at the Solaz, we were lost in the rows and rows of lounge chairs and were unable to get a poolside drink at peak afternoon times
  • COVID-19 concerns – waiting in a huge, crowded room to be tested for COVID before our flight at Solaz didn’t put our minds at ease

Which Resort Will You Love?

Whether you choose a small resort—steeped in culture, character, and offering complimentary signature margaritas upon arrival —or a large resort—sporting a full complement of stunning buildings and bustling activities—the awe-inspiring views, impeccable food and drink, and spa-like pampering are yours to enjoy. Cabo never disappoints.

To book this exclusive vacation or others, contact us today. Let us save you time and work by delivering a handpicked, luxury vacation that can whisk you away to another world.

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