a palace that out-palaces the palaces of the Maharajahs of India.
(Vocus) January 25, 2008
“The more beautiful you make something which people can see and use, the more enjoyment they will get out of it,” Milton S. Hershey said in the 1930s. “At least, that is the way it looks to me.”
More than 75 years ago, Mr. Hershey began what we know today as his “Great Building Campaign.” The project was designed to keep townspeople employed during the Great Depression and included the construction of many buildings in the town of Hershey throughout the 1930s. The Hotel Hershey was one of these buildings.
Though many people thought Mr. Hershey was foolish for wanting to build such a luxurious hotel, the $2 million dollar project started in October 1931 and was completed on May 23, 1933.
A driving force behind Mr. Hershey’s original vision for the Hotel was his wife Catherine, whom he called “Kitty.” The couple had dreamed of building a hotel similar to one they visited in Egypt called the Heliopolis. But in 1909, after Mr. Hershey learned that re-creating the Heliopolis would cost almost $5 million, he scrapped the idea. The couple put their hotel plans on hold, and Kitty died in 1915. By the time Mr. Hershey resurrected plans for a hotel in the early 1930s, architect D. Paul Witmer was guiding the vision of the property. The end result was a 170-room property with a Mediterranean flair. (The Hotel has since expanded to 230 guest rooms.)
The Hotel’s Fountain Lobby was inspired by Mr. Hershey’s love of Cuba, a country where he owned sugar plantations and mills and where he created a village called “Central Hershey,” much like the town he was developing in Pennsylvania. And Mr. Hershey’s own desire for a grand dining room without any corners resulted in the property’s famed Circular Dining Room.
It was in that dining room that Mr. Hershey addressed his first guests at a celebratory dinner on May 26, 1933. “I am but a simple farmer. I like to utilize nature’s beauty for the pleasure of men. This hotel where you are assembled has been a dream of mine for many years,” he is reported to have said. “When we farmers go to the city, we are impressed by the fine hotels we see there. So I thought I’d impress the city folks by building a fine hotel on one of our farms. I am of the opinion that there will be a need for this hotel someday, although the prospects do not look very encouraging at the present time.”
And impress them he did. Noted travel journalist Lowell Thomas visited Mr. Hershey’s Hotel in 1933 and described it as “a palace that out-palaces the palaces of the Maharajahs of India.”
Today The Hotel Hershey continues to resonate the luxury, charm and elegance it possessed when it opened 75 years ago. To commemorate the property’s diamond anniversary, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts , the parent company of the Hotel, has launched a modern-day building campaign that includes a recreational campus featuring a new pool, an 18-hole grass putting course and year-round skating rink; improvements to the front exterior to allow for a more satisfying sense of arrival; restoration of the historic Circular Dining Room; construction of a new restaurant; and the introduction of 10 luxury cottages (48 new guest rooms) that will house the Hotel’s most premium room offerings.
Throughout 2008, a variety of events, activities and packages, including the “75th Anniversary Package at The Hotel Hershey ,” will be available to guests who want to celebrate the Hotel’s diamond anniversary. The anniversary package is available all year and includes a commemorative welcome gift; a two-night stay in the Milton Hershey Suite (featuring a sunroom, two bedrooms, a dining and living area, and a balcony that overlooks the Hotel grounds and the town below); breakfast for four each day of the stay; one-day admission for four to Hersheypark (if open during the stay); and a Hersheypark Sweet Access Pass for four (available on the one-day admission). The package price of $1,933 honors the year the Hotel opened and includes tax.
And the new “Champagne and Caviar” package is now available at The Spa At The Hotel Hershey. It includes a 75-minute traditional massage; a caviar facial; the Spa’s new caviar hand treatment; and a champagne lunch in the Oasis, the Spa’s dining room. The package costs $394, including tax and tips, and is available throughout this anniversary year. (In addition to being a delicacy often served at celebrations, caviar has anti-aging properties and has become a popular treatment for maturing skin.) In addition to this package, the Spa has debuted a new nail polish color called “1933” – a shade of brown with just a hint of bronze – in honor of the year the Hotel was built.
Words in bold are used under license.
For additional information visit our website press room: http://www.hersheypa.com/news/index.asp
mbianca @ hersheypa.com
madair @ hersheypa.com
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