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A SuePur Destination:
The Sweet New Spa at the Hotel Hershey

by Susan Purdy


In the movie Chocolat, Juliette Binoche moves to a small town and transforms the natives with magical elixirs made from cocoa beans. My chocolate experience was more like a reality TV show, and I was the one undergoing some wonderfully delicious changes.

It all happened at the new Spa at the Hotel Hershey, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This place is every womans fantasy come true. Massage and chocolate! Facials and chocolate! Wraps, and scrubs, and manicures, and pedicures, and chocolate! Yes, they do have herbal teas, and fruit, and nutritional goodies to munch, but they also have bowls filled with blissful Kisses almost everywhere you go, and sweet, steamy hot chocolate to sip, as you lounge in the Quiet Room between treatments, or breathe in deeply the soothing aromas in the aromatherapy inhalation room. The Spa guests were, like me, relaxed and happy. We all wore our spa stare, that look of true contentment, as we shuffled on rubber slippers from treatment room to treatment room, ready for our next relaxing experience, wrapped in white robes, void of makeup, with upkept hair and oily from massage. Was it the blessed Romans who thought up the fabulous concept of the spa?

At The Spa at the Hotel Hershey, even some of the special treatments are chocolate based. The Whipped Cocoa Bath will have you feeling like a marshmallow bobbing in a pool of foaming chocolate milk. If you want to enjoy this excellent treatment at home, the Spa recipe calls for:

  • 1/8 cup Hersheys Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/3 cup Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk
  • 1/2 cup Whipped Cocoa Bath (which can be purchased at the Spa -- 8oz, $15, or via E-mail
  • A whirlpool tub best creates this frothy, foamy bath. Add cocoa powder and milk powder while the tub is filling. Add the Whipped Cocoa Bath, then turn on the whirlpool and relax.
  • Bring some chocolate Kisses to dissolve in your mouth as your stress dissolves in the warmth of this bath. The Spa also features the Cocoa Butter Scrub, and the Chocolate Fondue Wrap, both leave you smelling like the inside of a Valentines Day candy box.

Newly built, the $7 million Spa is a three-story, 17,000 square foot building seamlessly attached to the Hotel Hershey, and overlooking the famous Hershey Gardens. The interior, designed by award-winning Tag Galyean, was inspired by Milton and Catharine Hersheys home, High Point Mansion, located nearby. (Staff have claimed to see and feel the ghost of Mr. Hershey in the house, and one maid quit after supposedly seeing his apparition.)

In the Spa, the reception area has a backdrop of a stained glass window, a copy of the one located on the landing in the Hershey home, and the Quiet Room replicates the mansions library, with pecan wainscoting, suspended beams, a fireplace, and sink-into comfortable chairs. Yellow was Catharine Hersheys favorite color, and it can be found throughout the spa, including in the ladies locker room, where cherry wood lockers, mosaic tile floors, and fresh flowers create a warm, inviting atmosphere. One of my favorite services at the Spa, is the ability to book all treatments at the time you book your hotel reservations, insuring you can get the times most convenient for you. Ask about their special packages.

Milton Hershey, the man behind the chocolate bar, was a poor boy with only a fourth-grade education, but he could certainly serve as an image for perseverance. Even though he failed at several attempts in the candy business, he would not quit. One day, just before closing the doors on his latest venture, an English candy importer rescued the company with a large order for Hersheys Crystal A caramel candies. They were the candy that successfully launched this dynasty. Today, the Hershey Trust Company oversees more than $6 billion from the various Hershey enterprises, including an orphanage founded by the childless Milton and Catharine.

On a trip to Europe during the 1930s, Milton Hershey was inspired by all he saw, and decided to build a grand hotel. His palatial Mediterranean designed Hotel Hershey was, and still is, a great success. I found the 18th Century Spanish courtyard, with its hand-painted cloud ceiling and sculpted stone fountain, located at the heart of the hotel, to be the best place to meet friends or simply sit and people watch. This central location leads to the Iberian Lounge, the Fountain Cafe, and the graceful Circular Dining Room, designed by Mr. Hershey to insure that every guest has an unobstructed view of the formal gardens, and the twin reflecting pools outside. The food is excellent in all the dining rooms, and naturally, desserts feature the rich brown bean. But I was surprised to find that chocolate even found its way onto the bar, via the Chocolate Martini:
  • Mix 1 1/4 oz Vodka, with 1/2 oz white creme de cacao, build over ice, place a Hershey Kiss in the bottom of your martini glass, and then strain the liquid over it. At the next table in the Circular Dining Room, a group of relaxed and giggling ladies had already discovered the taste treat of the Chocolate Martini and I couldnt wait to order mine.

The Hotel Hershey's rooms each have an iron and board, along with a great basket of goodies that includes mints, talcum powder, shaving cream, toothpaste, and tooth brush, loofah, razor, and much more. So pack light, especially if youre going to be in the Spa most of the day, and dont forget to pack a bathing suit. I brought a new piece of luggage on wheels, made by Atlantic and called Atlantic Business. This office on wheels has a padded area for your computer, plenty of space for a weekend or overnight getaway, and is truly carry-on size.

Even in the off-season, theres much to do at the famous Hotel Hershey and in town. I tested the space in my luggage when I visited the Crossroads Antique Mall, just 8 minutes by car from the hotel. With 150 dealers and good prices, this is a great place to browse and buy small pieces, especially for kitchen collectors. Manager, Laurie Rhodes said local girls about to be married, register at the Mall for antiques and collectable, including linens, lace, jewelry, kitchen ware, paintings, prints and more. I found several occupied Japan pieces to display on my kitchen windows, as well as a flower frog to add to my ever-growing collection. My luggage was up to the challenge, as I found places to squeeze in my treasures.

When you visit Hershey, Pennsylvania youll discover that the air smells like chocolate, as candy is made here 365 days a year, and the natives can tell exactly which candy is being made by the scent in the air that day. In the downtown, look up to see that all the street lamps are shaped like Hershey Kisses. What better way to welcome visitors to this confectionery of a town.

Websites for the article:

Hotel Hershey

Building High Point

Catharine Hershey

Hershey Gardens

Milton S. Hershey

Atlantic Luggage


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