by Lissa Poirot
How can anyone with kids go wrong visiting an entire town and hotel dedicated to chocolate? From the moment we entered Hershey Lodge, we were barraged with chocolate. Hershey chocolate and candy characters were available for meet and greets in the lobby, where the kids have their own check-in table and every guest is given a full-size Hershey Chocolate Bar.
Of course, the family-friendly lodge celebrates its official Hershey connection with a decor and activities built around the chocolatier. The family buffets tempt everyone with huge arrays of desserts built around chocolate. And while the Hershey Hotel is the original hotel for Hershey Park — and more upscale — the lodge is more budget-friendly and thoroughly more family-friendly as it appears every child visiting Hershey is staying here. Kids are everywhere, which makes the location even better for families with kids who like to leave mom and dad poolside while they make new friends.
Our Editor Loves
- Loads of family activities
- Four pools, one indoors and three outdoors
- Variety of family-friendly dining options
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
This is Hershey so rooms are outfitted in chocolate browns with Hershey-themed artwork, of course! Standard guest rooms feature two queen or one king bed, but families may prefer one of the 15 the Sweetest Suites for more space and features. With 665 rooms and suites and a large layout, we often found ourselves turned around and losing our way.
All rooms are equipped with free wireless Internet, coffee makers, refrigerators, flat-screen TVs and free weekday newspaper delivery. On the in-room movie service provided, guests can watch the A&E Biography on Milton Hershey for free. Expect to find chocolates on your pillows every night, as well. (Although after all the daily chocolate we had to work hard to hide the chocolates at the end of the night. You could literally hear screaming children returning to the hotel at night overtired and over-sugared!)
Check in was smooth. Arrived at our room & there were dirty plates outside of our door which made us wonder if we were walking into a dirty room. Not a great first impression for a $400/nt room. The room had been cleaned but there was a wet, dirty washcloth hanging on the shower head. We just couldn’t shake the feeling that the room was “sort of” clean. I understand things can be overlooked sometimes but when I notified the staff they were basically like “oops” and made it seem like it was the norm. The WiFi was terrible which was frustrating because I didn’t get great cell service in the room.
The best thing about the hotel was the shuttle to the park, although we were further from the park than I expected. We never really had to wait & the drivers were very friendly. We had a great time but it was pricey for “just ok”. The convenience of the shuttle is not enough for me to feel that I’d stay at Hershey Lodge again.
If you are heading to Hershey Park, Hershey Lodge is a convenient location, especially for the free shuttle to the park. The rooms are clean and comfortable and quiet. The free breakfast was worth the room expense.
Hershey's Water Works
Opening on Memorial Day 2016 is this 30,000-square-foot indoor pool complex, which will remain open year-round and feature plenty of waterslides and interactive water features. Fittingly for Hershey, the attractions have candy themes, like the Twizzlers Twists slides and Reese's Water Walk.
Never mind the kids' activities offered by the Lodge, all my children cared about was the outdoor pools -- there are two -- where dive-in movies and family sporting competitions are held. Pick up a schedule of activities at check-in so you'll know what to expect (or when to stay away from the pool should you like to relax). There is also a heated indoor pool, wading pool and whirlpool, which are smaller and less crowded in the summer months.
Kids can select from a variety of game rooms and courts to play basketball (outdoor), tennis (outdoor), shuffleboard (outdoor), and Wii in a Wii room separate from the Game Room. Board games are available, as is sports equipment in the summer.
During the warm months the hotel offers a feature S'mores roast featuring, what else? Hershey Chocolate Bars! I loved that the roast was near the pools and the kids could eat gooey marshmallows and melted chocolate in their swimsuits and then "clean off" in the pools.
We were surprised to see falconry offered at Hershey, as we typically think of this sort of hotel attraction as something for more subdued hotels as opposed to those centered around a chocolate theme park. Still, kids can watch a free falcon demonstration and have a chance to hold these birds of prey.
As a Hershey Resort, the lodge provides transportation to the Hotel Hershey, where two-and-a-half-hour Segway Tours around its grand property are provided. For $75 guests will receive Segway instruction before touring the wooded paths and receiving a history lesson on Hershey Hotel. Reservations are required for the tours that operated April through November. The tours are not operated by Hershey Resorts.
This casual, family restaurant is decked out in a hockey decor based around the team the Hershey Bears. The onsite restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. As a sports restaurant, a video wall and 28 TVs keep fanatics up to speed on the latest games while noshing on burgers and traditional American bar food. Healthy options like wraps, sandwiches and salads are also available.
For a morning pick me up, the property's coffee shop rests beside a stone fireplace and serves up pastries and sandwiches to grab and go or eat in its casual bistro atmosphere.
Most of our meals were spent at the Hershey Grill, which is open for lunch and dinner, as well as a packed Sunday brunch. In the warmer months, an outdoor patio provides the best seat in the house for a casual restaurant with a great variety of choices.
Named for Milton Hershey's life-long friend, this is the breakfast place for the Lodge. Made-to-order breakfasts include all the favorites.
This poolside sandwich place is only open Memorial Day through Labor Day but ensures you never have to leave the pool -- should you stay put and not head over to the theme park.
For a more upscale dinner, visit the Forebay. The gourmet restaurant serves up steaks, pasta and seafood in a casual atmosphere that is still family friendly. Then again, mom and dad can enjoy chocolate martinis or chocolate stouts here, while enjoying the seasonal patio.
Planning & Tips
The Art of Smart Timing
While the resorts are open year round, Hersheypark is mainly a summertime destination. The area begins to come alive in April, where early-bird packages are available and the parks are open on weekends, then the crowds come between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and fall brings less crowds and nice weather to enjoy fall and Halloween festivities.
All about the Extras
Guest of Hershey Lodge and Hershey Resorts receive free admission to Hershey Gardens, free admission to The Hershey Story: The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, and free shuttle bus service to Hersheypark and Hershey properties. Guests also receive priority reservations for a waterfront cabana at the Boardwalk at Hersheypark, and early access to select rides and attractions. Discounted Hersheypark tickets are also available to guests.
Hershey is within driving distance from many Mid-Atlantic cities, including 1.5 hours from Baltimore and three hours from New York City. The closest airport is Harrisburg International Airport, which is 15 minutes from Hershey. A shuttle is available from the airport for an additional fee and advanced reservations. Rental car companies are available at the airport, and Hershey Lodge offers a rental car agency from its lobby.
For Mom and Dad
With free shuttle service to Hotel Hershey, head over to the Hershey Spa for chocolate wraps and massages.