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April 20, 2010

The Hotel Hershey & Woodside Cottages

Spring has sprung and while we yearn for the warm days and cherish the newly green grass and fresh blooming flowers, I want to take you back a bit. Come with me to the month of February when the Mid-Atlantic was blasted with snowstorm after snowstorm. It was during this time that my husband and I took a little getaway courtesy of the nice people at Hershey. While there, we were snowed out of our own home and in turn snowed in at Hershey. Instead of a disaster, we had an amazing time and it was all due in part to the staff on the grounds of the hotel, inside the hotel and all over the entire park area.

When we first arrived, we checked in at the main Hotel Hershey, newly done this past summer (2009) and were treated with the customary Hershey bars. The bell staff secured our luggage and drove us down to the Woodside Cottages that run along the back of the Hotel's grounds. We passed the pools, ice-skating rink, Harvest restaurant and tennis courts on the way. The bellhop showed us all around our cottage including the working fireplace. Each cottage offers four bedrooms with a great room in the middle. It is a real retreat for families and ideal for reunions or company retreats. Off each room is a shaded porch with wooden rocking chairs. It is quite charming even encased in snow.

The rooms in the Woodside Cottages are generous in size and tranquil in coloring. I found the soft blues, dark woods and pale colors relaxing, fresh and elegant all at the same time. A big bed with a bench at the end is the centerpiece. Extra soft blankets and comfortable plush pillows adorn it. The stone fireplace flicks on with a switch and truly heats the room, which also possesses a television, cabinet with coffee maker and fridge, and a good size desk and two nightstands. You feel like you are at home in your own bedroom or better. The dressing room and closet with safe, bathrobes, slippers and umbrella are a wonderful added bonus.

The marble, creamy-colored bathrooms are quite large. It has a separate glass shower with rain style showerhead. The toilet is in its own room. There is a double sink with a small TV overhead. A magnifying mirror that pulls away from the wall is also included. The most relaxing portion of the bathroom is the insulated sunken tub, of course. This is where you know you are staying in a truly special place. The staff at Hershey's Woodside Cottages provides an inflatable bath pillow, a book rest, loofah and full set of bath products including scrub, salts and more all from the Hershey Chocolate Spa. So often, you have a big, beautiful tub in a hotel room and nothing to soak with in it. Hershey has thought of everything. The only drawback to the bathroom that the sinks had tiny hand towel racks that jutted out into your waist or stomach (depending on your height) when you stood at the sink. It was a bit odd.

Despite the snow that we woke up to the next morning the grounds staff shoveled us out of our cottage early in the morning and in time for us to make it to breakfast. Moreover, no, we did not have to ask. They also shoveled out our car, which we found amazing. Room service was also promptly provided at the cottages despite the storm and the food arrived in fine condition. While the hotel was sedate and quiet during the storm, the staff still worked hard to keep us occupied. When it was time for us to checkout and we found we were snowed out of our own hometown, the hotel moved us to the main Hotel Hershey.

Inside the Hotel Hershey, you will find the usual amenities customary to a fine hotel. There is a lounge, fine dining restaurant, gift shop and even a jewelry store, a truly beautiful and enjoyable spa that seems to be a getaway in itself, a state of the art fitness center, pools and even a trendy cupcake store. Decorating the hallways to the guest rooms are black and white photos from the Hershey factories, grounds and the town as it was when Milton Hershey started it. The Hotel has a great sense of history to it. 

Our room was roomy with a couch, two chairs, a desk, coffee table, television cabinet, king-sized bed, closet and armoire. We even had a tiny balcony that overlooked the back of the hotel grounds. The bathroom is typical in size and I missed my shaving/make-up mirror. The toiletries are the same, including a small jar of bath salts too. Our bed was comfortable and the colors were classic. Adorned in gold tones the room was clean and pretty but seemed as if it had been occupied quite a bit.  However, it was built in 1933, with the west wing being built in the 1990's.  So the "lived in" feeling wasn't so unusual.  It is still quite nice but I think the Woodside Cottages spoiled me a bit.   
Overall, we both really enjoyed our time at the Hotel Hershey and the Woodside Cottages. If you are looking for a great place to stay, splurge and meet up for a family or friend reunion then this place is perfect. Hershey Park is located just across the street and next to the Giant Stadium. The Butterfly House and famed rose garden are located on the Hotel grounds. The grounds are simply beautiful and the pool in the back has tunnels and slides that kids will adore. Hershey characters roam the Hotel frequently and a champagne, hot chocolate drink service with snacks is available in the lobby each day. We both felt taken care of and attended to beyond what we expected while we stayed at both properties and would definitely stay at both places again.  It really did feel like the "Sweetest Place on Earth."


MPR Rating:  Five Stars.

Disclaimer:  I was not paid for this post.  Hershey did pay for the hotel stay.  Opinions are honest and my own.