If you’re planning a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania and you’re not sure which hotel to stay at, The Jersey Momma is here to help! Are you wondering what the difference is between The Hotel Hershey and The Hershey Lodge? Read on!
This post is chock full o’ info but it’s designed for easy reading with bold headings you can scroll through. Also be sure to read the comments after the post, as some of my followers have posted some great questions and advice there, too. No time to read? Pin the below image for later!
Part 1 of my blog series was a review of Hershey Lodge. If you haven’t read that yet, be sure to check it out here: The Hotel Hershey vs. The Hershey Lodge – Which to Choose? (part 1) And just a reminder, I was NOT compensated in any way to write this review, not even a media rate- nada, nothing, Pennsylvania zilch! It’s just from me, to you. Got it? And I can’t make the choice for you- ultimately I love both Hershey properties (they each have their good points), but hopefully you can read my reviews and the details can help you decide which hotel is best for you.
Now, on to the Hotel Hershey! It’s quite majestic from the outside (and the inside, too).
Whenever I mention Hotel Hershey to someone, the first thing they say is, Oh, it’s so expensive! And it is. But it’s also awesome. And beautiful. Pennsylvania I’ve been there Spring, Winter and Summer, so I’ve experienced a little bit of everything there. They sometimes offer deals on their website- mostly package deals, and rates vary based on which nights you stay (weekends are more expensive), so do your research for your best price! I also recommend calling to speak to a Hershey Hotel rep as opposed to just trying to book online. If you have AAA, they do offer a small discount when booking your reservation, so be sure to ask about that (I think it’s a Pennsylvania 10% discount and you must present your AAA Pennsylvania card when checking in). I’ll also be totally honest and tell you that for one of my recent trips (as of 2017), I could NOT get a Hershey representative on the phone to make my reservation. Every time I called (this is their busy summer season, but I was on hold at least ten minutes each time and hung up. I eventually made my reservation online- also with some technical issues that resulted in me contacting customer service, so thumbs down on that one, Hotel Hershey!).
Benefits to Staying at a Hershey Resort
First, why stay at a Hershey resort at all? I highly recommend staying at one of the Hershey hotels- either the Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge. I know it is more expensive, but I truly feel like you get the full ‘park experience’ if you stay at one of the park’s hotels as opposed to its competitors. Other benefits of staying at one of the Hershey resorts include:
-shuttles to/from the Hershey properties (that means no paying for parking! Woot! And the shuttles drop you right at the entrance to the park)
-discounted park tickets (we’ve found that the hotels’ discounts trump any coupons we can find), plus they sometimes offer an early access admission to the park as well as a preview day (check with hotel for details)
-packages that include free breakfasts and/or tickets (you can choose from a variety of packages)
-free admission to Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story Museum
-Hershey characters walk around at various times for photo ops with guests.
-Both Hershey properties have beautiful pools (see more below)
-cabanas at Hersheypark Boardwalk are available first to property guests (if you are willing to shell out the buck$$ for them!). Non-guests can reserve them, too, but resort guests get reservation priority.
Hotel Hershey’s Location
The Hotel Hershey is located on top of a hill overlooking Hershey Gardens and pretty much all of Hershey itself.
If you walk down the hill to the Gardens, you can view all of Hershey Park. During the winter time, you can see parts of Hershey Sweet Lights from different parts of the hotel (you can read my review of Hershey Sweet Lights here). The Hotel Hershey is a gorgeous, old hotel, rich in history and beauty. It’s proximity to Hershey Park and Hershey Gardens is a huge plus for many guests. Hershey Lodge is a little bit further (approximately 15 minutes) from these attractions and some people do not care for the extra traveling distance (although it is only a few minutes – see my shuttle info below- that sometimes makes a big difference for families with small children who don’t want to waste time traveling on shuttle buses).
Check-in has always been fast, easy and friendly for us. They Pennsylvania give you a choice of a free Hershey’s milk or dark chocolate bar (which I tend to eat immediately). At the Lodge they gave us a free bar, too, but not a choice of milk or dark (just milk!). Hershey Lodge has more of a kid-focused check-in. There is a kids’ check-in desk at The Lodge that is much more inviting for little ones (colorful, clearly labeled, etc) than the one at The Hotel Hershey. The kids’ check-in desk at the Hotel Hershey is nothing exciting, in my personal opinion. Both kid check-in desks at both hotels are not open at all hours. They open specific hours during the day, so sometimes you check in yourself and those kid desks are closed. They usually offer a place for the kids to sign in, and maybe give them a lanyard and a chance to win some chocolate with a guessing game or coloring sheet.
The Grounds and Activities
I didn’t write too much about the grounds of Hershey Lodge because, in my opinion, there wasn’t much to see. But here, you can spend some time walking around and see some beautiful sights. As I mentioned before, Hershey Gardens is at the foot of its entrance.
If you walk behind the hotel you’ll find beautifully manicured decorative gardens and lawns, as well as giant koi ponds that ducks like to visit.
Head down the stone staircase and you’ll find a giant patio area where they have evening activities and Chocolate Bingo.
Bean bag toss, hula hoops, etc. are set up for the kids (Harvest restaurant in background)
They have a kids’ club with playground area (The Hershey Lodge has a playground area near their pool, too) and an amazingly awesome outdoor pool (but more on that later). The grounds are just beautiful. But I said that already, didn’t I?
Harvest restaurant sits in its own building near the pool, and beyond that, even more!
Harvest restaurant at The Hotel Hershey
The Hotel Hershey Woodside Cottages are behind Harvest, and you can read all about our stay at the cottages here. There are also tennis courts, volleyball courts and more lie beyond that. All peaceful, quiet, well-manicured. The fire pits for s’mores roasting sit behind Harvest, with cozy rocking chairs to chill out in. I was a little bummed that the Hotel Hershey charges you for s’mores packets. It’s $5.00 to make 4 s’mores (as of the publication date of this entry). We thought it would’ve been nice if the Hotel included a voucher with your stay, good for one free s’mores roast kit. But, alas, this is not the case!
If you look above Mr. Jersey Momma’s head, you’ll see Jersey Grammy’s marshmallow completely on fire!
You’ll also find a putting green behind Harvest (kind of like miniature golf or a small golf course). Once again, there is an added fee to play (which is NOT true of Hershey Lodge- miniature golf there is free if you are a guest of the hotel). On the weekends in the summer, they offer ‘glow golf!’
The mini putting course for kids at The Hotel Hershey
The Hotel Hershey also offers plenty of activities for purchase. You can try out their Falconry experience (the falcon master himself will sometimes visit the fountain area of the hotel with his Golden Eagle if you want to meet it in person), Segway Tours, Golf, or their Outfitters experience. Check out their full list of recreation activities here. There are also nature and hiking trails (thankfully, those are free) and their beautiful fitness center.
The Golden Eagle visits from the Falconry Experience
There is a small arcade/game room located in the side of the Harvest Restaurant (accessible from outside the restaurant). My son LOVED the fact that you could win prizes here. The machines generate tickets which you cash in at a completely self-automated machine for prizes. How’s that for high tech?
There was an adult game room across from it with pool tables, too. Or you could always explore the hotel. Look how cool this fountain area is!
It’s fun to explore the Hotel Hershey itself. Tours are available through concierge, too.
The Hershey characters also roam the hotel at various times for photo ops. This is an awesome plus because you don’t have to compete with the crowds at the park to get a photo!
Meeting Reese in the Hotel Hershey lobby! I assure you that I do have hair, even though I look bald in this photo…
The Rooms at Hotel Hershey
We’ve stayed in both the west wing and the main lobby building of Hotel Hershey. The rooms are always beautiful. Newly updated, sparkling clean, spacious. I love the personal touches from the cleaning staff.
Hershey Hotel bathroom, west wing
They leave Hershey Kisses by your bed and little fact cards about Milton Hershey or quotes from the man himself.
(Look at how they folded The Jersey Momma’s Boy’s blankies!)
A room in the west wing of the Hotel Hershey, two queen beds (can we remove those coats for the picture, please? Geez!)
The rooms in the main lobby building have a bit of a different layout. The west wing rooms have an entry hallway (see above photo), whereas the rooms we’ve stayed at in the main building do not.
Hotel Hershey bathroom, main lobby building
The view from our main lobby room was beautiful. This view was from a room that faced the back of the building (from the third floor).
The view from our room in the 300’s- overlooking the koi ponds, pool, etc.
The bath amenities at Hotel Hershey are amazing, too (Hershey Lodge also has chocolate toiletries, like cocoa scrub soaps and shampoos, but they are slightly different at Hotel Hershey). You can purchase them in the lobby shops if you enjoy them that much.
Chocolate mandarin toiletries from the spa at the Hotel Hershey
They also leave an amazingly soft robe for you to use (which you can purchase if you can’t bear to part with it).
Pools at Hotel Hershey
There is an indoor pool and an outdoor pool at Hotel Hershey. You can reserve a room that leads right out to the indoor pool, if that’s something you desire. Like any other indoor pool at a hotel, know that it can get quite crowded if the weather is bad! There is an adult-only swimming hour, I think in the early morning, if you want some alone time without kids.
Indoor pool at the Hotel Hershey
The outdoor pool is incredible. It boasts a GIANT waterslide for kids Reeses height and up (Hersheypark bases their rides on a height system- kids 42″ and taller are considered Reeses).
It has zero entry, fountains, and a mushroom water umbrella. Towards the deep end there are water “cannons” for the kids to play with (like water guns mounted on the side of the pool)
Beside the pool you’ll find a sprayground with fountains to play in for the little ones:
You can rent a cabana here for a sum, and poolside bar service is always available for all patrons.
Beyond the main pool there is an adults only pool, as well (you can guess that I didn’t get to use that one, being the Jersey Momma and everything).
There is a large locker room with attendants to help you as needed (towels and shower area provided). There is also a locker room at Hershey Lodge but it is smaller.
In my humble opinion, this incredible pool is one of the main draws of Hotel Hershey. This is a 5-star pool and is part of what you pay for with your room rate.
Poolside service at The Hotel Hershey. Tempting, right? That healthier hummus platter in the back is mine, of course.
You can spend all day in this pool and then some. Relaxing, comfortable, fun- I can’t say enough good things about it! NOTE, Hershey Lodge recently built what appears to be an equally awesome pool area, complete with Twizzlers themed water slide! I haven’t visited it yet so I can’t say for sure, but this could give Hotel Hershey a run for its money, since this was always one of the distinguishing factors between the two hotels. Hershey Lodge’s new pool area opened in May of 2016.
MORE NOTES ABOUT THE HOTEL HERSHEY OUTDOOR POOL: If you happen to visit Hotel Hershey during a busy month, the outdoor pool can get quite crowded. It might be difficult to secure a lounge chair or umbrella when this happens. Be sure to arrive early or know that you can rent a cabana if you have the cash!
Dining at Hotel Hershey
The Hotel Hershey has five restaurants:
-The Cocoa Beanery (a small coffee shop serving coffee, light breakfasts, sandwiches and beverages)
-Trevi 5 (an italian restaurant with outstanding thin crust pizza)
-The Iberian Lounge (not quite as kid-friendly, a bar atmosphere serving food and drinks)
-Harvest (the restaurant outside the hotel serving local fare and farm fresh food)
-The Circular (which boasts an outstanding breakfast buffet, or try their Hershey Kiss shaped waffles with chocolate butter-YUM!).
I’ve eaten at all of these restaurants. Trevi is actually my favorite, followed by the breakfast at The Circular. If you don’t want their expensive buffet, know that you can order from a menu if you just ask. Kid menus are always available (at all of their restaurants), as well as coloring sheets, crayons and cute Hershey themed cups for them to drink out of.
(outside view of The Circular- see it? It’s circular! lol)
Shopping at The Hotel Hershey
There are six shops at The Hotel Hershey. You can find them all listed here. I’m a souvenir shopper, so I LOVE this about the hotel. If you have some leisure time, it’s nice to sneak down to the lobby and check out the shops. It’s one of my favorite things to do if I get a moment to myself. The Lodge has one souvenir shop, which suited my husband and son just fine. My only gripe is that they do tend to close a little on the early side. Only one of the shops, Signatures, stays open till 9pm daily. On Fridays and Saturdays the other shops close at 8pm (7pm during the week).
The Spa at Hotel Hershey
Would you believe in all of my visits to the hotel, I have never been to their world famous chocolate spa? Yes, -insert tiny violin playing here- I have toured it, peeked in, read all about it, watched documentaries about it, but never used it myself! I have friends who have gone and they say it’s amazing. I’ll have to take their word for it.
To see more of the spa area and a complete insider tour of Hotel Hershey, check out my post, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Hotel Hershey.
Shuttles and Transportation at Hotel Hershey
As I’ve said before, one of the best things about staying at the Hershey hotels is their transportation system. Shuttles run constantly throughout the day and into the night. They literally take you right up to the entrance of Hersheypark/Chocolate World. The shuttles are air-conditioned and comfortable. You can bring your strollers and they will pack them inside the bus for you. Talk about easy on, easy off! You can read a little bit about my trip to Chocolate World at Christmas time by clicking here.
The shuttle ride to the park from the Hotel Hershey (and back) is significantly shorter than the ride from the Lodge to the park. Hotel Hershey sits right above the park and is a quick drive up the hill, whereas the drive to the Lodge can take more than ten to fifteen minutes, depending upon traffic and season. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you are tired and hot, or toting little ones around, sometimes you just want to get back to that hotel ASAP! It’s also nice if you want to take a “quick” trip down to Chocolate World to do some last minute shopping at night, like my mom did. She was there and back in less than an hour.
Check with the front desk about which shuttles to take and when. There are cars available through concierge to take you other places in Hershey, as well.
Off-season the shuttle schedules vary, so always ask ahead about when to catch your ride.
Other Jersey Momma Tips
*Guests of the Hershey hotels receive perks at Hersheypark. Check with concierge at check-in, since guests may be able to have early access to the park or can select a free preview of the park after a certain hour. On our last visit we were able to preview the park for free after 6:30pm, then use our regular ticket the next day, too (even though we purchased tickets for just one day). It was almost like being able to visit the park twice for one price! You also can’t beat the hotel’s discounted Hersheypark ticket rate. Their discount trumps most others!
*I cringe when I hear people say, “Hershey Lodge is more family friendly.” I don’t think this is true for every family. We actually prefer the Hotel over the Lodge- it all depends on what you are looking for. Some guests love the Lodge for its funky indoor pool/playground, mini golf area and cuter check-in. Some love the Hotel for its gorgeous outdoor pool, high quality service and elegance. Both are family friendly, both cater to kids, both offer activities and games for children. Read my detailed reviews and see which is right for you.
*I once visited the Hotel Hershey off-season, in April. Hersheypark was not yet open for the season, but lucky me, a private group had rented the park out for the weekend, thereby entitling hotel guests to visit the park as well. I will never forget the sheer excitement of this, and how empty the park was, and how amazing it felt to ride the roller coasters practically all alone!
*You can also read my review of Hershey at Christmas: Candy Lane (part one) and my review of Hershey at Christmas: Hershey Sweet Lights (part two).
*The staff at The Hotel Hershey is amazing. If you have ANY issues at all, I urge you to contact the front desk or the general manager to express your concern. During one trip, we were disappointed with the crowded pool area (over Father’s Day weekend). We had trouble getting poolside service and we noticed some garbage around the pool area due to so many guests. The general manager was very apologetic and we never experienced this issue again. The pool was spotless during our most recent trip!
Do you have questions or comments about the Hershey resorts? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below, and be sure to check out other visitors’ comments. It’s great to hear honest opinions, isn’t it?