best hotels in Hershey, Pennsylvania
At this stage of my life, I admit to loving a little bit of luxury in my travels. The Hotel Hershey did not disappoint, and is undoubtedly the best hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Be sure to treat yourself–if you have a generous budget. The Hershey Hotel is expensive (as is the Hershey Lodge), but you’ll feel good knowing that you are contributing to the Milton Hershey School and other community projects under the wing of the Hershey Trust Company, as all profits from all Hershey Company holdings go back into the trust fund and the Milton S. Hershey Foundation.
exploring the best hershey hotels: The Hotel Hershey
My room at the Hotel Hershey was lovely, but it was the decor and nostalgia found throughout this beautiful property–and the decadent services of The Spa at the Hotel Hershey (affectionately known as The Chocolate Spa)–that leave me longing for a return trip.
Milton Hershey and his wife Catherine (Kitty) Hershey loved to travel to exotic places, and found inspiration for the Mediterranean-style design of the Hotel Hershey in Spain, Italy, Cuba, and Egypt–specifically the Heliopolis Hotel in Cairo.
It took two years to construct the hotel, initially opening with 170 rooms in 1933. An additional 100 rooms were added in 1977 as the West Tower. The Spa opened in 2001 and was expanded in 2004, and in 2009, the premium Woodside Cottages were added to the offerings on this magnificent 300-acre property, increasing the total number of rooms to 276. I strongly recommend the complimentary historic tour of the hotel that is available to guests.
The Hotel Hershey has several restaurants, the finest being The Circular (dining room), a glorious room built with a circular design, as Milton Hershey detested how many eating establishments put single people like him (following the premature death of his wife) in corners or behind pillars. You will find neither pillars nor corners in the Circular Dining Room. Instead, you will find a bright welcoming dining room overlooking the gardens and immaculate grounds of the hotel. Other than the fabulous desserts, I only noticed one savoury menu item featuring cocoa–the cocoa-dusted scallops–which were fantastic. Here’s hoping that will change in the near future, as cocoa cuisine would really enhance the underlying theme to all things Hershey: chocolate.
indulging in the chocolate spa
Which brings me to the spa. The Chocolate Spa at the Hotel Hershey is the chocolate lover’s dream. A word of caution: book your spa treatments well in advance, as this destination spa is heavily booked. Don’t expect to book your spa treatments on arrival in Hershey as you may be disappointed.
There are chocolate tidbits throughout The Hershey Spa to fuel your chocolate spa experience. The Oasis Restaurant and Lounge has a buffet lunch that offers both healthy choices and pure decadence. I opted for a blend of both, but revelled in the choice of desserts shown above to accompany my chocolate martini.
Following lunch, it was time for my spa treatments. I enjoyed the Whipped Cocoa Bath, but wished it was more than the mere 15-minutes allocated for the treatment. I also wished there was a bit more cocoa in the water, as it wasn’t quite as rich and creamy as I’d envisioned.
The creme-de-la-creme (best of the best) was the 75-minute Cocoa Facial Experience. That was ultimate bliss. My therapist, Sarah, was an expert in her profession, and truly made the experience worth the trip! I really enjoy chocolate (cocoa) full body wraps when I visit chocolate spas, and wouldn’t have thought of getting the facial–complete with edible chocolate mask–but thanks to my host at the Hotel Hershey, I indulged in this treatment and was thrilled that I did.
I also spent a night at the Hershey Lodge, but after the bliss of the Hotel Hershey, the noisiness of the children and busyness of the lodge (it is a conference centre with lots of traffic) was unsettling. I was glad to find great food and solace in the Fire & Grain restaurant at the Hershey Lodge, and then head straight to my room for some quiet time.
I spent a couple of nights at the new Courtyard by Marriott in Hershey and really enjoyed it. It is roughly half the price of the Hotel Hershey and a great choice if you are looking for fewer frills and have your own car to get you to your choice of the local attractions during your chocolate travels.