Built in 1933 by the chocolate tycoon Milton Hershey, the opulent Hotel Hershey sits atop Pat’s Hill in the quiet town of Hershey, Pa. The hotel was built to mimic the great estates of Europe, and the architecture and sprawling landscapes create an elegant and relaxing atmosphere, where guests can take time to re-focus their energies and alleviate the stress of everyday life — especially at The Spa at the Hotel Hershey. Adjoined to the hotel, opulent The Spa at the Hotel Hershey is actually a rather new addition, having been built in January 2001. Since its creation, The Spa has been honing its own brand of chocolate-themed treatments and services.
A Seasoned Spa Director
From the beginning, The Spa had quite a bit of planning going into its development, and specific talent was recruited by the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company to make sure the spa would live up to the hotel’s standard of elegance and sophistication. One of the first to be brought on board was current spa director, Jennifer Wayland-Smith. Wayland-Smith earned a degree in community health education before she began her spa career, working for a small company that developed and managed fitness centers for large corporations, office complexes, and hospitals. Her boss at the time took a position as the spa director at Bally’s Park Place Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., and offered Wayland-Smith a job there as assistant spa manager. Within a year, Wayland-Smith was promoted to spa manager, and after a few more years, moved to the Spa Internazionale at Fisher Island Club, in Miami. Wayland-Smith’s next stop: a brand new spa in Tampa, Fla., where she was solely responsible for every aspect of the spa’s management, including hiring, training, selection of treatments, and advertising and marketing.
With her success in the spa field, the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company felt she would be the perfect choice for spa director at the new Hershey spa. “I came to The Spa at the Hotel Hershey because of the opportunity to open up a new spa,” Wayland-Smith says, “and the opportunity presented itself at just the right time for me, and it was the right fit for everybody involved.”
With an excellent spa director on the team, the company then enlisted the help of premier architects and interior designers to round out the development team. The award-winning team helped create a unique feel, and give The Spa a special character that clients could find relaxing and enjoyable. Coming in at a spacious 30,000 square feet, The Spa at the Hotel Hershey houses 31 treatment rooms, and 22 additional service areas for manicures, pedicures, soaking tubs, and rain showers. With a total of 53 revenue-producing areas, and 17 working nail techs, The Spa is well equipped for every kind of guest. “We have a variety of guests,” says Wayland-Smith, “ranging in age from 13 to over 80, and we have males and females, and groups of ladies as well. I can’t really say that we have any one ‘type’ of guest.”
With a rather large staff of more than 135 employees, Wayland-Smith still keeps a strict policy on staff education and training. “When a new nail tech is hired, she spends a minimum of three days in training prior to providing services for guests,” says Wayland-Smith. “The first day is a one-on-one with the spa services manager, and they learn the protocol for manicures and pedicures and also information about the products they are using. The second and third days are spent on practicing, and there is no shortage of hands and feet to practice on around here. So by the end of day three, they are well on their way to providing excellent services to our guests.”
It’s All About The Chocolate
The Spa’s defining characteristic is its chocolate-infused treatments. “When the idea first came to us to have a spa, we thought, ‘why not just have a chocolate spa, since after all, we are in Chocolatetown USA,’” says Wayland-Smith. The Spa features a variety of services that use chocolate flavors and smells, and one of the most popular is the Sweet Feet Pedicure. “It’s our signature pedicure, and it uses a chocolate sugar scrub, chocolate fondue mask, and cocoa massage oil. It’s really all about the chocolate!” The Spa also features a Cuban Hands and Feet treatment, and other Cuban-themed services, which reflect Milton Hershey’s love for Cuba and the sugar plantations and mills that he once operated in the country. The Cuban Hands and Feet treatment begins with a Mojito sugar scrub to soften and smooth the skin. A refreshing mask and paraffin dip are then applied, and a final Mojito moisturizing massage caps off the relaxing treatment.
Though The Spa only offers natural nail services, the wide variety of manicures and pedicures allows customers to find one that is suitable for them. There is a gentlemen’s pedicure, specifically for male clients that includes an exfoliation with products rich in vitamins and minerals, and also incorporates a foot and lower leg massage before finishing off with a paraffin dip. There is also a private pedicure, where guests can enjoy a one-on-one service in a private room while heated basalt stones are smoothed over their lower legs and feet.
The manicures and pedicures start at $55 and $75 respectively, and there has been no shortage of customers. “The biggest challenge in managing The Spa has been managing the growth,” says Wayland-Smith, “The Spa has seen growth in total revenues and total services year after year since we’ve opened.”
The Spa also provides plenty of full day services, and takes advantage of the nearby hotel to offer overnight spa-getaways. There are packages that offer multiple overnight stays at the hotel, where guests are treated to Hershey Rain Showers, massages, and a catered lunch in the nearby Oasis Lounge, where spa-goers eat in the comfort of their bathrobes. The setting is quite serene atop Pat’s Hill, as Wayland-Smith says, “The Spa overlooks the town, and even though there are residential areas below, it’s still very quiet, and you really are very secluded from the rest of the town.” There is also an extensive rose garden nearby, featuring unique breeds of roses that were actually named after Milton Hershey.
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