After a full-body exfoliation, I was slathered head to toe with chocolate moisturizer, a rich blend of shea butter and cocoa essential oil gently massaged onto all my limbs before they were wrapped in a layer of sheets. At the Hershey Spa it’s called a chocolate hydrating body wrap, and now, after a gentle head massage, I’m absorbing the balm, stretched out prone on the treatment table like a giant chocolate bar.
In truth, after a day in “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” I’m probably closer in shape to a plump little Hershey’s Kiss. Predictable chocolate immersion kicked off with a complimentary Hershey’s bar (my choice of milk or dark chocolate), offered when I checked into my room at the Hotel Hershey. For dinner in the cozy Harvest restaurant, I chose Hershey’s Cocoa barbecued ribs, then proceeded to the Iberian Lounge for a chocolate panna cotta dessert and a signature chocolate martini (a skewered Hershey’s Kiss substituting for the olive).
From its street lights shaped like candy kisses to the Cocoa Cruiser roller coaster in the Chocolate World theme park, every aspect of Hershey, Pennsylvania, pays tribute to its enlightened entrepreneur, Milton S. Hershey. After devising a recipe for affordable milk chocolate, he established a factory in 1903, selecting this region for its abundant milk, water, railroads and workers, and then set about creating a model community with churches, schools, theaters, and parks to keep employees happy. The utopian village flourished into a full-fledged resort with a zoo, botanical garden, lodging, museums, outlet mall and interactive activities.
The Hotel Hershey, principal lodge of Hersheypark, is another extension of the founder’s fantasy, an exotic Mediterranean-style tile and mosaic concoction inspired by Milton and Kitty Hershey’s overseas travels. Updated guestrooms are serene, spacious and comfortable, and 20 years ago the property added a spa, a three-story section replicating features of the magnate’s High Point mansion. Stained glass, polished marble and warm pecan paneling decorate the salon and treatment rooms, solitude spaces and the sprawling Oasis first-floor “social spa” with a restaurant, couches, upholstered armchairs and outdoor porches in summer. Hotel guests and drop-ins can spend the day lounging in robes while interspersing treatments, relaxation and light meals. With therapies tailored to men, women, pre-natal and teens, many families and couples come to celebrate birthdays, reunions, honeymoons and anniversaries.
Early arrival to appointments is encouraged, enabling clients to “relax before relaxation.” After changing into robes and slippers, they’re escorted into a Quiet Room (one a copy of Hershey’s paneled High Point library) and offered a choice of refreshments: trail mix, tea, water and, of course, Hershey’s Kisses, chocolate muffins and hot chocolate.
Four treatment series reflect Hershey themes: Rose Garden complements the Hershey Gardens arboretum with remedies employing anti- oxidants and rose oil to encourage radiant, petal-soft skin. Inspired by the surrounding rural landscape, Country Abundance treatments are imbued with hydrating lavender, milk and honey. Cuban Experience acknowledges the plantation town just east of Havana that Milton Hershey established to assure a stable source of sugar. It features raw sugar, jasmine and lime solutions applied in invigorating “mojito” massages and body wraps.
But as the spa website makes clear, the heart of the spa revolves around the Everything Chocolate services: chocolate wraps and facials, cocoa massages, whipped cocoa bath and the chocolate-dipped strawberry immersion. Chocolate even pervades all four stages of the Sweet Feet pedicure: chocolate body scrub exfoliation, cocoa oil massage, dark chocolate mousse mask and a final coat of cocoa body lotion — all procedures enjoyed while sipping a cup of hot chocolate.
Staff at the spa are all friendly and accommodating, leading tours through the facilities and offering refreshments. Gratuities of 20 percent are automatically added to spa prices, which range around $70 for manicures and pedicures, $150–305 for massages and $205 and up for experience packages. For weekend bookings, an extra $10–35 is added to each fee.
During the pandemic, some spa services and amenities have been adapted or temporarily discontinued. Facials, body scrubs, wet wraps, immersions, rain showers and makeup services aren’t currently offered. The Steam Room and Oasis restaurant are closed, and capacity of the Aromatherapy Inhalation Room and the Quiet and Silent rooms is limited.
Spa guests can sample a variety of activity options to counterbalance the omnipresent cocoa calories. A fitness center with views toward the forest offers a Peloton, Life Fitness machines, exercise balls and mats. Workout classes are offered in the yoga studios and the indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Three hiking trails and paths offer strolls through the 23-acre Hershey Gardens which evolved from the Hershey family’s love of roses. Learning the history of the town and the legacy of its model community adds an extra dimension to the spa experience. The founder’s vision endures, and I left Hershey surfeited in chocolate, inside and out.
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla is opening its acclaimed doors Oct. 22 to celebrate its fifth and most exciting season. The resort will introduce new programming including culinary, fitness and music.
History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.
Seabourn recently announced the name of its second new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship: Seabourn Pursuit. The name reflects the passion of expedition travelers to seek out and explore natural wonders and destinations through activities around the globe.
Though the Chicago area has been my home for decades, the view from the Water Tower Suite on the 26th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago made me gasp. I had admired Chicago’s dramatic skyline many times, but never from this angle. Through expansive windows, the skyscrapers of 900 N. Michigan Ave. and the John Hancock Center, now named 875 North Michigan Avenue, rose to my right. Far below, the landmark Chicago Water Tower nestled in a ring of trees. One of the few survivors of the Great Chicago Fire, a turning point in the city’s history being remembered on its 150th anniversary in 2021, the Gothic Revival relic resembled a fairy-tale castle in a children’s playset.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
President Biden signed H.R. 2278, bipartisan legislation to designate a September 11th National Memorial Trail. The trail route will link the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York; the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia; and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
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GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Austin, Texas, with us.