by Amanda Geronikos
You might just pass the Residence Inn Harrisburg Hershey, mistaking it for an apartment complex or failing to see the namesake sign, which is rather small in size. The location could easily catch you off guard, too — it’s situated in front of a trucking company, and adjacent to a stretch of highway. But as the old adage goes, “looks can be deceiving,” and you’ll quickly realize that upon entrance to the hotel, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations. Upon completion, the updates will reveal a modern look, complete with new carpeting; unconventional, pendant lighting; and new furniture in guestrooms and common areas. All renovations will be complete by April 1, 2014.
In the meantime, the hotel serves as a perfectly suitable home base for families traveling to Hershey, and also looking to save a bit of cash, you’ll pay a little less to stay hotel — technically located in Harrisburg — than you might at a hotel closer to all of the attractions. Plus, it offers an exceptionally plentiful (in comparison to other chain hotels), complimentary breakfast, complimentary dinner (Monday through Thursday), two swimming pools, movie nights and an outdoor courtyard with grills, tennis and basketball courts and plenty of space to relax after a busy day of theme park fun.
Read more about Residence Inn by Marriott.
Our Editor Loves
- Complimentary breakfast
- Swimming pools and movie nights
- Close proximity to Hershey attractions
- Theme Park
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Residence Inn Harrisburg Hershey offers seven variations of rooms and suites, housed in 11 different buildings (though the set-up actually looks like three or four buildings). All rooms offer fully equipped kitchens, with full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves and stoves, as well as spacious bathrooms with shower and tub combinations. Some units also offer fireplaces.
This unit offers one queen bed and a pullout sofa, sleeping up to three guests.
This room is similar, sleeping up to three people, but instead offers a king bed and a pullout sofa.
This unit is best for a family of five, with two double beds and a pullout sofa, as well as a cozy fireplace.
This unit also sleeps five, though is more expensive than the Studio Double. It is 990 square feet in size, and has two queen beds, two bathrooms and a pullout sofa.
This has a separate bedroom with a king bed, and a pullout sofa in the living area, which also has a gas fireplace.
This one has all the amenities of the above suite, but without a fireplace.
This unit has two separate bedrooms, one with a king bed and the other with a queen. There aren't any fireplaces in these rooms.
These are two-story units, and because of it, they are not handicap-accessible.
The hotel offers its own version of Pack N' Plays, exclusively designed by Marriott; they are free to use and available upon request. You can order up to two of them for one room.
Note: Buildings 2 and 3 are connected by an enclosed walkway, so you can avoid cold temperatures during the winter months.
Best stay at a Residence ever. Staff was accommodating. Marci at the Front Desk was so personable, kind, patient and professional.
At the last minute we realized our friend might need an accessible bathroom. After calling the the hotel to request a change the front desk person said she’d call me back and she did. The room was available. Our stay was perfect with our friend in a spacious, safe and clean environment.
Thanks to everyone for making us feel special. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Next year we’ll be back for Joyce Meyer Conference in November.
We checked in late and left early so we didn't use many of the amenities, like the 24 hour gym, the pool, or the outdoor fire pit area. Check in was seamless and the woman at the front desk was friendly.
We stayed in a King studio with a full pull out couch and a full kitchen. Our 14 yo son said the mattress was comfortable. When the bed was pulled out you couldn't use the ample desk area but otherwise the rest of the room was unimpeded.
I love having a full kitchen and this one was appointed with all the typical accoutrements: dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, a few pots and pans, pasta strainer, and three glass storage containers.
The bathroom was quite large, with lots of hooks for drying towels. Nice water pressure in the shower. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash are wall mounted. No other consumable personal care products were provided. The bathroom has a working fan and two lighting options. Outside the bathroom is a makeup/changing area with mirror, dresser and closet.
There are charging capabilities throughout the room. The black out curtains were full enough to cover the windows completely. I appreciated that the heating/cooling system allowed us to have the fan humming all night long.
Breakfast buffet in the morning was typical to nice for this quality hotel. I'd stay here again. If you stay here, check out the Harvest Seasonal Grill in a nearby plaza. Minutes away, we were impressed by this farm to table restaurant.
The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool, both popular with visiting families. The indoor pool has a changing area (which is also used by gym goers) -- this is especially useful during the winter months, since all of the hotel's rooms are housed in separate buildings. The indoor pool is in Building 3 -- which is something you might want to consider when booking your stay -- and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The outdoor pool is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Neither of the pools are manned by lifeguards.
During the summer months, families can enjoy the outdoor courtyard, where there's tennis and basketball courts, barbecue grills and picnic tables -- it's the perfect place to spend an evening after a busy day at the theme park.
Complimentary breakfast is served daily, and is more plentiful than you'd expect at a chain hotel. For example, it often includes breakfast sandwiches and omelets, as well as the chain's signature muffins and other pastries, a waffle bar, cold and hot cereal, fresh fruit (a special fresh fruit is offered daily, in addition to bananas, apples and oranges), juice, tea, and coffee. You can enjoy coffee throughout the day, as well, and Styrofoam cups are available if you're on the go (and even if you're not). Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Monday through Thursday, hotel guests can enjoy a complimentary manager's reception with light fare, soft drinks and beer (Miller Lite on tap), though oftentimes, a full dinner is served, and typically includes easy palate-pleasing food, like cheesesteaks or tacos. Receptions are held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. During the summer months, the hotel also hosts Wednesday poolside barbecues.
Highchairs are available for all meals. Additionally, fresh, fruit-infused lobby is served in the lobby at all times, a popular trend at many hotels.
With a kitchen in your room, you'll likely want to cook a few meals. For groceries, utilize the hotel's complimentary shopping service. All you need to do is leave a list at the front desk by 8 a.m., and your groceries will be delivered later in the day and billed to your room (note that the hotel doesn't purchase alcoholic beverages). If you want to do your own shopping, head to Weis Market (two miles away) or Giant Food (four miles away). There's also a Walmart Supercenter near Weis.
If you and your family would like to eat out, there are several restaurants nearby, and many also offer take-out service; these include Best Wok, China Wok and several pizza joints, such as Papa John's and Pape Joe's (we recommend the later).
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
When checking in, the hotel staff is extremely helpful in providing guests with all the information they need during their visit; they even provide a detailed list of restaurants within a half-mile from the hotel, two miles, 5 to 10 minutes, and more.
Free Wi-Fi is available in Buildings 1 through 10; Building 11 has wired, high-speed Internet. Guests can also find Internet access at the business center, which has a few computers and printers.
An onsite convenience store, open 24 hours a day and located right next to the front desk, provides snacks, beverages and travel-size toiletries you may have forgotten to bring along, such as shampoo or Tylenol. Composition fire logs are also available for purchase (during the winter months), for $5; these are the only kind that may be used in the in-room fireplaces.
The hotel has two onsite laundry rooms with coin-operated washers and dryers ($1.25 for the washers and $1 for the dryers); one is located in the rear of the guesthouse and another is on the first floor of Building 11. Same-day drycleaning services are also available. There's also a gym with a few cardio machines and free weights; it is open 24 hours a day.
On select nights, the hotel staff plays family-friendly movies in the dining area, where there's a large, flat-screen TV, and serves popcorn, too, made in an old-fashioned popcorn machine.
The hotel allows all pets (maximum of two per room), and even has a pet walk for guests to take their furry friends. You'll have to pay a steep, non-refundable fee of $100 though.
The Art of Smart Timing
The hotel is busiest during the summer months, when Hersheypark's season is in full swing, but remains steadily busy throughout the rest of the year, often with business travelers. You'll find the lowest rates January through March, which is still a good time to visit. February is particularly fun, when Hershey offers Chocolate-Covered February, which make-your-own chocolate experiences and more.
Harrisburg International Airport is only 10 to 15 minutes from the hotel by car. If you opt to get to and from the airport via a taxi, you'll only pay about $15 to $20, though we suggest a rental car, as you'll need it to get around the area. If traveling by car, you'll likely enter the area via I-81, which will likely be the main route you use for most of the trek.
You'll need a car to get around the area -- Hersheypark, Hershey's Chocolate World and ZooAmerica are about 9 miles away.
For Mom and Dad
Hershey is for families, and you won't likely find babysitting services in the area -- it's rare for the hotel to even get a request for help in finding a babysitter. Instead, take the whole family to Lancaster Brewing Company, which is just a few minutes from the hotel. Parents will enjoy the craft beers, and the whole family will like the casual, pub fare.
If you do, however, have a babysitter with you and are able to get away for a few hours, head to Troegs Brewery in Hershey for a guided tour ($5 per person; book well in advance), followed by a flight of beer tastings.