The Hotel Hershey
Wow-- we had an AMAZING weekend at the four-star, four-diamond Hotel Hershey and all the Hershey attractions (during winter, no less!) Poshbrood rolled up to Historic Hotels' Hotel Hershey around 8 pm after a quick 2 hour drive (even during Friday evening rush hour) from Washington, DC. We had stopped for dinner at a very cool 50's diner style Burger King in Thurmont, MD (not too far from Camp David) which was a huge hit with the kids. We sat in a old fashioned faux convertible car type booth. A great place for families to stop en route!
We checked in to Hotel Hershey and were warmly welcomed by valet and front desk staff. The kids were very excited because the immediately spotted the Hershey's logo in the gift shop and of course, we were given Hershey bars upon check in. (Isn't dark chocolate supposed to be super healthy?) Nom!
We stayed on the 5th floor with adjoining rooms. Each room had two comfy queens, an upscale bath with tub, a desk and a lounge chair. There was a fridge, mini bar and ample closet space. The rooms are well appointed and traditional in design and color scheme (think reds, greens, golds)
but will be getting a welcome interior design update by the time you visit. While we were there, contractors were busy on the ground floor updating room with a more modern palette: chocolate brown and aqua with more modern mirrors, desks, lights and furnishings. Here is a sneak peek of a room I shot while it was being worked on!
Our first morning, my husband went on a run and checked out the extensive grounds while the rest of us slept in. Then we went to the famous Circular Dining Room for the breakfast buffet. What I love about this room is that, the hotel's founder, Milton S. Hershey noticed on his travels that the guests who did not tip well were often placed in the corners of restaurants. “I do not want any corners,” he said, upon the construction of his flagship restaurant. The result is the incredible Circular Dining Room. The restaurant's breakfast/brunch features an unmatched selection of house-made breakfast items and entrees, including a made-to-order omelet station, Kit Kat Pancakes, (yes, I'm serious and it was gooooood) chocolate chip Waffles, fresh fruit, cereals, bacon, eggs and rich chocolate desserts, and more. The waitstaff were so friendly and we admired the beautiful dining room. The 13 windows that overlook the gardens are made of colored leaded glass and depict birds and blooms native to central Pennsylvania. The Rudy Glass Company in the nearby town of York created the windows in partnership with a local blacksmith, and Mr. Hershey’s own employees crafted the room’s ornamental woodwork and ironwork.
We also spent some time that morning in the "Fountain Lobby" which was the original "check in lobby" of the Hotel Hershey. It is a grand Spanish style room with a mosaic tile fountain, piano, sitting areas and balconies. This is where we partook in the Chocolate Buffet but more about that later! We also went for a dip in the hotel's indoor pool that had a large pool, an adult only hot tub and a fabulous "kiddie pool" surrounded by lots of chairs and chaise lounges.
The girls had a fabulous time meeting other kids and we saw several families with three generations enjoying the pool.
Then we were off to Hershey's Chocolate World. The Chocolate Tour Ride was fun and informative, the Hershey's Really Big 3-D show knocked our socks off. We also had a blast suiting up to Make Our Own Chocolate Bar.
That evening we went to Harvest, the hotel's casual American restaurant across the gardens and near the seasonal outdoor pool and Cocoa Kids Club. We enjoyed a chocolate martini complete with a Hershey's Kiss, natch.
The cuisine is made from the freshest local and regional ingredients. They have an excellent children's menu and I almost devoured the girl's macaroni and cheese -- it was that good. Also, their Chesapeake Crab dip appetizer with Pretzel bread is to die for. We did save room for the Chocolate Buffet in the Fountain Lobby. Redonculous. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fondue, chocolate cheesecakes, chocolate profiteroles, chocolate fudge, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate puddings...the list goes on and on. Thankfully it's like a chocolate tasting menu and portions are small, I think we tasted everything but this was my fave:
The next morning Momma went to The Spa at Hotel Hershey, affectionately known as The Chocolate Spa,and had an incredible hour long chocolate massage with Jess. I enjoyed hot chocolate (what else?) in the quiet room post massage and enjoyed doing nothing. While I was getting kneaded with cocoa infused massage oil, my husband took the kids to another breakfast buffet extravaganza at the Circular Dining room and then on a chocolate scavenger hunt in the hotel run by the recreation team in the fitness center.
A very cool and unique activity for families is the new all-weather skating rink.
It's made of synthetic material, which makes for fun all year round and a safe experience for beginners. (I.e., the rink is plastic and you just don't/can't go fast...) Skating is complimentary. You can rent skates for $3 or bring your own.
Adjacent to the ice rink, is Hotel Hershey's amazing, state-of-the-art Cocoa Kids Club. The kids club is a great opportunity for children to interact with other small guests while under the watchful eye of the Clubhouse counselors! Each day kids participate in an array of fun and educational activities such as:
Tennis, basketball, arts and crafts, swimming, kids fitness, make your own ice cream, giant tinker toys, and visits to the Children's Garden & Butterfly House
Children ages 5 and older are welcome. If you have tots under 5, babysitting is available through the Concierge.
What we'll definitely do on our next visit is Kids Night Out at Cocoa Club. From 5-9 pm, parents can enjoy a night out while your kids do the same! The Clubhouse Counselors assist with evening meal and plan a fun evening with action-packed activities.
Newly added at the hotel is the Club Adventure program -- geared towards children 13 years and older. Teens can participate in a variety of fun, educational, and competitive activities. Sessions include hiking and woodland exploration, team-building activities, skating, scavenger hunts and more.
Peaking at the new aquatic facilities that include an adult pool with infinity edge and whirlpool (for guests 18 and older); family pool with zero-grade entry, two large slides and a kiddie spray deck we all agreed we would be back during bathing suit weather. Not to mention to take advantage of the hotel's priority entry and transportation into the amazing Hershey Park.
On our way out of Hershey, we stopped at The Hershey Story, the Hershey museum in town which was fabulous. The story behind Milton Hershey's life, his chocolate empire and creation of the town of Hershey, PA and a school for orphan boys that still flourishes today for both boys and girls is so inspiring. For all you startups out there *cough, cough*, Milton Hershey went bankrupt twice before finally focusing on chocolate and making history. Hooray!!
We had an amazing weekend at Hotel Hershey and despite my extra 5 pounds cannot wait to go back. We still need to go to the Hershey Gardens, Zoo America (yes, Milton Hershey started a zoo too!) and try those giant waterslides. Our whole brood can't recommend Hershey enough for fun and fabulous family travel.
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