Staying at a Hershey property is always a good choice. Parking isn't optimal, I'll admit, but the Hershey facilities themselves are well done, whether it be the amusement park or the hotels. The whole town smells like chocolate (bonus), they give you full-sized chocolate bars upon check-in to the Hershey Lodge, the bed linens have a Kisses-themed print on them, and the complimentary toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, and lotion) are chocolate-scented -- you have no idea how easy it is to get my 8-yr-old son into the tub when it smells like chocolate!
The Lodge has a free shuttle to/from the Park, which runs every few minutes. The shuttle drivers were honestly the nicest and most friendly staff I've encountered on multiple stays here. They really seemed to care about the guests and their job.
There are 2 outdoor pools; one is oriented toward smaller kids. They're clean and maintained well enough, but a little more pool-side service would be nice. I'm not saying this because I need to waited on hand-and-foot. I'm saying this because the place isn't cheap, and after a long day at the amusement park (usually in the heat and humidity), parents are exhausted. Not only would we appreciate a little more attention but we'd also be more likely to buy more drinks and/or snacks if you came around a little more. When I was able to snag someone, they were nice -- just not present enough.
There are other recreational options on the Lodge property, including mini golf, basketball, and a playground, but we haven't yet actually used them on any of our trips to Hershey. There is so much to do at the Park that we have yet to explore the rest of the Lodge.
There are several places to eat on the Lodge property, but again, we're out and about, so I can only speak for the little deli (got a bagel sandwich one morning; it was OK) and room service (quite good, each time). The chocolate martini is highly recommended.
The Christmas in July event is brilliant. I just loved the concept that Santa is on vacation in Hershey Park, and he was wonderful (in both appearance and demeanor). My biggest complaint was that it was so hard to find him. It was like a hot, muggy, and frustrating game of Where's Waldo, dragging an anxious 8-yr-old through the park, torn between wanting to see Santa and wanting to ride the rides. Guest Services could only offer that Santa was wondering between the Main Entrance and the Boardwalk - in other words, half the park. We kept asking Park employees if they had seen him and which way he was headed, and that's when it got disheartening because we literally (no exaggeration) asked 7 different employees at little stands, with carts, in maintenance uniforms, and security badges who had no idea what I was talking about. One girl, pushing a popcorn cart, thought I was messing with her, like Candid Camera or something. To get her to believe me, I actually had to show her a photo on my digital camera on my son (in his current summer outfit) hugging a candy cane at the front gate and posing with a Christmas-themed Mr. Hershey in red hat and scarf. Obviously, she was no help in locating St. Nick. It's clear that Hershey Park tries hard to make a good amusement park, so it's baffling that so many employees would be unaware of an advertised event, especially one that included holiday décor and music. Odd, right?
Anyway, my son said his trip was awesome and couldn't wait to tell his friends, so I hope they continue with their holiday ideas. Let's just get some GPS on that jolly old elf, OK?
Also, tip for parents: Go to the Park first, and leave Chocolate World for later. First, it's air-conditioned, which will give you a chance to cool down after a hot, humid day on the pavement and in the sun. Second, some of the activities are free, so you don't have to put out extra money if the kids have hit all the rides; you can dole out a few bucks for your kids to make their own chocolate bar (or a custom photo wrapper), but you don't HAVE to, and you can still enjoy the place.
Additionally, if everyone is hungry, the food in the Chocolate World area is so much better than the little trailers among the rides. They have real kitchens to make real food, like an authentic-to-PA baked mac-n-cheese a side-dish size portion that is perfect for kids. They also have some healthier options -- I like the cool turkey and red pepper hummus in a spinach wrap on a hot afternoon, but the cheddar broccoli soup in a bread bowl is delicious too. It's set up as several little counters offering only a few targeted foods, so it keeps the lines down, but you might have to break up your group to gather everyone's choices. The bake shop also offers things like cupcakes that will make your little one's eyes pop out!
Finally, Chocolate World is the place to buy your souvenirs. They've got more variety than in the Park area AND (newsflash) chocolate melts if you try to lug it around the Park or stash it in a Park locker. Hit Chocolate World on the way out to grab the goodies to take home to friends and family.
Oh, and don't miss the free tour that shows you how chocolate is made. This has been my favorite part of visiting Hershey since I was a kid. It's been updated in recent years, and I miss the little mechanical dioramas, like the cargo ship and the guys picking cocoa beans, especially the one that looked like Juan Veldez trying to pull an uncooperative donkey, but I still love going through the faux oven to get roasted like a bean. I'd love to see the dioramas return and replace at least some of the silly animatronic cartoon cows; they look too much like Disney's Goofy. However, I can only criticize so much when they give you free samples at the end.
As an added little surprise, a Monster Energy truck and the Wienermobile were visiting Chocolate World this past weekend. Photo op!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Offering 665 guest rooms and 100,000 square feet of function space, Hershey Lodge provides convenience and comfort for families and guests of all ages. We hope you'll enjoy the sweet hospitality and iconic chocolate details around every corner. Hershey Lodge is also one of The Official Resorts of Hersheypark, alongside The Hotel Hershey and Hersheypark Camping Resort. Guests to each of our resorts enjoy the value, convenience, and special access of our FREE resort benefits. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hershey Hotel Hershey
- Hershey Lodge Pennsylvania
- Convention Center Hershey Lodge