Instead of an opulent, over the top lobby, The Hershey Lodge impresses in other ways, namely… chocolate. Upon arrival, you know you are in the chocolate making capital of the U.S. You have to love a resort that gives everyone full-sized chocolate bars at check-in and Hershey Kisses on your pillow at night. Continue reading for our family’s experience staying at the “Sweetest Place on Earth” during our Grand Circle Tour of Great Pennsylvania Lodges.
It’s probably no surprise The Hershey Lodge is a family-friendly property. It’s considered the mid-range of the Hershey Resorts – not quite the elegance of the high-end Hotel Hershey, and a step up from the Hersheypark Camping Resort. However, that doesn’t mean The Hershey Lodge is a budget hotel. The lobby is filled with rich leather club chairs situated around a fireplace evoking all the warmth and comfort of a rich mug of hot cocoa.
The Hershey Lodge says, “kids are not just welcome, they’re expected,” and even have their own check-in desk. Children sign the guest book, color, learn about resort activities, and maybe even meet a Hershey character or two. These colossal confections may be a little startling at first – I was definitely not expecting a 7 foot tall peanut butter cup to step off the elevator. But you get used to them wandering the halls, and they are “sweet” after all.
The layout of The Hershey Lodge has a whimsical touch with each building and section named after a different Hershey product – Cocoa, Kisses, Reese’s, etc. The resort’s buildings range from two story motel-like with exterior hallways and entrances to the 5-story hotel in the Kisses Tower. Our room was on the top floor of the Kisses Tower, very convenient to the hotel lobby and restaurants.
Our room was large, possibly oversized, and extremely comfortable – the bathroom had some of the plushest, most luxurious towels I’ve ever experienced in a hotel. The two queen beds were certainly large enough for my wife and I to share and snuggle in one, and our two daughters slept in the other. Even for teenagers begrudgingly sharing a bed, the delightful, soft mattress allowed for a restful sleep.
There’s a plethora of dining options at the Hershey Lodge including the Cocoa Beanery coffee shop (that also serves breakfast items), Lebbie Lebkicher’s, The Bears’ Den, Hershey Grill, and The Forebay. As we only stayed for two nights, and were running to other Hershey attractions, we only had a chance to try out the Cocoa Beanery and The Bears’ Den.
The Cocoa Beanery is a bustling coffee shop with plenty of breakfast offerings for those running to the amusement park. They also offer soup, salads, and sandwiches for lunch or a lighter dinner. This spot was hopping every morning, and was THE place to get the morning “cup o’ joe” before taking on the day.
We ended our day with dinner at The Bears’ Den, named for the minor league hockey team the Hershey Bears. The cleverly designed sports themed family restaurant (it’s not a sports bar) resembles hockey rink right down to the Hershey Bears logo at “center ice” of the dining room floor. As a huge burger fan, the menu was right up my alley – lots of unique specialty hamburgers including a Cocoa Jack Burger (w/ cocoa espresso rubbed beef) and a Mac and Cheese Burger.
Of course, you can’t visit The Hershey Lodge without a little bit of chocolate, and our daughter Evie was super-excited to see the Triple-Truffle Cake with chocolate sauce and cocoa whipped cream. On the other hand, I always appreciate a delicious brownie sundae and ordered the “Puck Sundae.” Upon arrival, Evie discovered the rich cake was a third of the size of the monstrous brownie and ice cream resulting in the funniest exchange of our whole vacation.
Dad to Evie: How’s your cake?
Dad: What’s it taste like?
In fairness, there was nothing wrong with the triple-truffle cake, but Evie still has the mindset that quantity trumps all.
I have a bad habit on vacation of not leaving enough time to fully explore our resort hotel. We’re usually so busy dashing off to attractions, we don’t take the proper time to enjoy our surroundings. Yes, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to Hersheypark and Chocolate World, but there is so much to do right on the grounds. Make sure you save time to relax and savor The Hershey Lodge’s offerings.
Of course there’s swimming. It probably goes without saying you can’t have a family-friendly hotel without a good pool, and the Lodge has a large indoor heated pool and two outdoor pools.
You could play basketball or tennis, as well as FREE mini-golf for hotel guests.
There are also uniquely chocolate themed activities to remind children they’re in Hershey such as the kid-sized check-in desk and the character appearances previously mentioned,
but also chocolate bingo, daily crafts, and s’mores roasts down by the swan lake campfire. Don’t worry, if you forgot your roasting essentials, you can always pick up a pack in the Cocoa Beanery.
A delightful surprise and engaging activity was the animal interaction right in the lobby of the hotel. Hershey’s ZooAmerica has a long history in the town, and visitors to Hersheypark can visit the zoo for FREE on the same day. Staff from ZooAmerica offer educational programs right inside Hershey Lodge, and we were treated to a visit with a golden eagle on this particular day. What a fantastic opportunity to get an up close look at one of these majestic birds of prey.
The Hershey Lodge is a perfect home base for families to explore all there is to do in Hershey, PA, or simply to relax and have a weekend getaway from the routine of home. I will definitely be coming back some time with the family as we only got a small taste of all there is to do. I’d love to try additional restaurants, explore the hotel’s recreational activities, and enjoy more fun in “The Sweetest Place on Earth.”
For more photos in and around The Hershey Lodge, check out the gallery below. Note: the photo gallery requires Flash Player, click here to view all images from The Hershey Lodge if your device is not Flash equipped.
DISCLOSURE: Our family was hosted for our stay at Hershey Lodge, and received a reduced media rate for our room. However, all opinions are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.