This is my third stay here, but my first in a couple years, since I started writing reviews. My original two stays would have been similar, albeit I didn’t get a fuzzy reception from the staff the first two stays. I’m almost assuming it’s under new management, and it shows. The pluses are many, I hope management will consider the minuses. I took a lot of time to write this report, because we come to Hershey 2x every year along with several business trips (my wife is a Federal employee doing business with Harrisburg), and I’d love to see a few simple changes at this hotel to make it our permanent stop.
We travel with two girls, currently aged 8 and 10. We enjoy visiting Choice hotels in this area in the Hershey off-season, as Choice hotels usually have indoor pools. My wife loves the Tangers Outlet Stores, the girls love the Chocolate World ride, and we find Grantville a peaceful place to stay. We paid $71+ tax, AAA rate, for a king whirlpool room. I had the rate matched at the new Quality Suites down the road (at junction of 81/322) and the Grantville Comfort Suites, we’re we’ve had an adequate experience before. But I wanted to revisit the Mainstay.
The Mainstay Suites is right next to Fabios. And we love Fabios. Here are the pluses on the motel:
Location to Fabios and Hershey area, as well as right off I81 but unlike the Comfort Suites up the road where we stayed last spring, you don’t have to listen to I81 all night.
Staff: I noticed a change this time. EVERYONE, from the front desk guy at night to the gent running the breakfast in the morning, everyone was polite, smiled, and asked how I was doing. In some cases, this looked genuine. Once or twice, it looked forced. Doesn’t matter, they did it, which tells me management has a desire to make me feel welcome. In Hershey in July, it’s a sellers market. But in October, it’s a buyers’ market. This buyer likes to see happy people. A+ on staff.
King Whirlpool Room: Huge. Clean. The room was just spotless. Kitchen was fully functional (people expecting more plates, more pans, etc. are just being ridiculous). King bed very comfortable. Bathroom as large as a normal Choice, and a holding room outside the bathroom (part closet, part changing room). All-in-all, the largest, and cleanest, room I’ve seen at this rate in some time. The whirlpool gave my kids a memorable time while I watched the baseball game before bed.
Facilities: Two computer work-stations. Nice sitting area in the lobby, with a wall between it and the front desk, a nice touch for those that don’t want to feel like the staff is staring them down. Breakfast room small, but clean. More on breakfast below. The pool, in theory, is amazing. Decent size, as deep as 5 feet (at 6'2", I hate 36" max pools), and a large room. Most amazing is it’s the only small motel I’ve ever seen with an indoor slide. And its’ a good one. Over the pool on the next floor is a small indoor miniature gold course, a basket hoop, and a gaming room. We didn’t use these, but this is, in theory, amazing.
Variables: Parking was fine, but I can see it being a problem for a crowded summer day. You’ve got to create an unload point guys. Everyone jams the front spaces immediately (as did I), anyone after that has to block traffic to unload. Considering it’s a long-stay styled motel, one can assume many people would have a lot to unload.
Noise level: One of my main goals in a hotel is a decent noise level. This one had it and I was grateful. For me, “calm” is a selling point, and a few bad apples can stink the joint up. But I’m questioning the hotels zeal for achieving it.
This brings us to the negatives. They are few, but I think important.
First, the breakfast. We had sausage, but no eggs. Don’t get me wrong, people were eating the sausage. But why sausage and no eggs? Add to that, the sausage appeared to have no burner. I’m vegan and don’t eat meat. But my wife said the sausage was cool (not cold, but below lukewarm). Styrofoam cups only for juice and coffee. People were looking around for cups by the juice before they figured it out. It’s a nitpick, but I’d like to see different cups for juice, and have them next to the juice machine. Beyond that, choice was limited, but adequate. I always look for vegan-friendliness, and they had it, with the choice of oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread for toast with peanut butter. A vegan can eat here.
Second, the pool: Our third stay, and it’s still just too stinking cold. I’m thinking mid-to-upper 70s. I’ve stayed in 6 motels within a 20 minute drive of Hershey, this is the coldest by far. Come on guys, heat it up a little. Side note, I saw bad comments about the towels, bull. Everyone uses small towels by the pool, to discourage them growing legs. But at least these had some fluff to them so you didn’t need to use three to get dry. And warm up from the cold pool, unfortunately.
Final complaint, I join many below in disliking the gestapo signs everywhere. There are the normal signs, such as the standard-issue Choice swimming pool sign. Then there are the hand signs, such as those as you enter reminding you of the rules inside. And stuff like “no pool parties without hotel permission.” Along with a note on the room toilet remind you not to flush a bevy of things. I understand all these guys, but they’re common sense. You make your customers feel like they’re in a George Orwell novel. All after signing the “good neighbor” agreement when you check in. I can’t stress this enough: I want a quiet, clean motel. It’s what I look for. And your policies reenforce that idea. But it’s common sense. When you have signs everywhere, you make people feel unwanted, no matter how nice you word the verbiage. I think the vast majority of folks know that flushing a sanitary napkin down the john or bringing a bottle into a hotel pool are is inappropriate. They’re going to ignore your signs. Why offend people?
And the “no food in the rooms” thing is just not smart. You give people a suite. You give them a table. You give them plates and silverware. You give them a small dining room (we had no problem sitting, but I’d like to see the place at 7:30 AM in July). Then you tell them “thou shalt not leave the dining room with food.” That’s just offensive and dumb. Why? Afraid people might take a bagel with them? Afraid someone might dump an OJ on the bed? I’m a high-use Choice customer, and this is the only hotel I’ve ever seen that made such a big deal over it. It’s creepy. Charge two dollars more per room. And get rid of the policy?
This is the longest review I’ve ever written (x2), because for location, price and amenities, this hotel comes closest to perfection I’ve ever seen, but I’d probably try the Quality Suites five miles west next time, just to see the difference. Rip down some of the signs, turn the pool heat up 5 degrees, and create a loading zone, and I won’t look anywhere else.
Thanks for listening. We enjoyed our stay.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.