Monday, November 10, 2008

Blissed Out

I am back from my days away and here to share much of the fun. For those of you worried that I flung myself off another zipline you can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that in order to engage in that activity I had to be in a party of 8. Since I was all by myself it was not an option that was open to me. But don't think I wasn't tempted to start knocking on my hotel neighbors' doors to see if I could wrangle 7 people to join me.

Let me begin by saying the Hotel Hershey is really one unbelievably fabulous place to stay. I've never been anywhere that compares to it. Now granted I am not exactly experienced in luxurious accommodations. I am cheap thrifty therefore I'm a tent camping type. If I am feeling like plumbing would be nice I stay in a motel. If I am up for a splurge it's a Day's Inn type place. I understood before checking in that the Hotel Hershey would be beyond all that. I just didn't quite grasp how far beyond that.

Understand I have a great deal of difficulty accepting service without feeling twinges of guilt. It's a function of growing up with a mother who was an exploited factory worker and also having Pennsylvania German values drilled into my head. You don't ask others to do that which you are fully capable of doing for yourself. So when the bellman asked me if he could take my bag as I wheeled it up (after deciding to park my own car before I got to the valet area) I had to take a deep breath before I said, "Yes, thank you." Turn down service? Are you kidding? You're going to fold back the sheets on my bed for me. Really, that's a complete mindbender for me. You can laugh but yes, that sort of thing blows my circuits. I just had to keep telling myself this is what we are paying for. Since I live in a tourist area though and we encounter a lot of very rude and demanding tourists I am always mindful of wanting to be a "good guest." I try to tip decently and be as pleasant as I can to whoever is doing their job for me. I recognize they work hard and I can either make their job more or less difficult with my attitude.

So after checking in and being handed a Hershey bar, I was escorted to my room and given directions for how to find things, briefed on the various amenities in my room, and left to relax for a while before wandering to the spa for....the Chocolate Immersion. My misunderstanding was that I'd be sitting in some sort of tub of chocolate milk, which is an actual service offered at the spa, but the Immersion was not that. I was not in the least bit disappointed though. Forgive me, but I forgot my camera for this part. I got lost wandering around the hotel (it's that big) and looking at the amazing decor and then it was too late to get back to my room to grab my camera before I had to check in at the spa. The next day I took this picture of the ceiling in the locker room area.

After enjoying the spa's steam room, aromatherapy room, and quiet rooms (This picture is the aromatherapy room.) I was ushered into a very clinical looking room with tiled walls, a drain in the floor, and a table draped in plastic in the middle of it. I was thinking surgery or torture or something. She explained things to me and after I was all set up she got to work. First she scrubbed me with chocolaty smelling goo that had ground up cocoa nibs in it. Then she coated me in a mixture of mud, dark chocolate, and cocoa oil before wrapping me in the plastic and draping me with warm towels. She turned the lights down low and started some beach sounds music and told me to relax and she'd be back. Boy, that was hard...not. I think if she had waited just a couple more minutes I'd have been snoring. When she came back she rinsed me off, dried me off, and smeared me up with some cocoa butter. We had chatted a good bit before and after the relaxing bit. She shared what a great employer Hershey is and how well they treat their employees, including kids as young as 15 who are even provided free transportation via buses that run through the city. She also told me that since I was her last appointment and because I was so nice to her she gave me an extra half hour which included some special treatments. That was after she greeted me upon introduction and exclaimed how lovely the grey in my hair was. I was definitely feeling the bliss.

I have to say, knowing that really made me able to let some of the guilt twinges go. I felt a lot better knowing the folks who were making my stay so nice were also being treated well. I also have to mention that every single staff member I encountered from spa technicians, to receptionists, to bellmen, to waiters, to the turn down lady, to gift shop cashiers were, without exception, completely wonderful. They never failed to address me by name and in the most pleasant manner. Everyone seemed genuinely devoted to making their guests as comfortable and as happy as possible. I managed to forget my favorite earrings in the pocket of my spa robe and realized it while I was at dinner. I asked the maitre d' if I could make a call to the spa about it. The spa was closed so I left a message. The waiter asked if I'd like him to call security to have them let me in so I could check through the hamper where I tossed my robe. Since they were not exactly expensive I really couldn't see troubling anyone to that extent but I was impressed with the way folks were willing to do so.

The next day I had a rain shower, which amounts to standing in a round shower stall with about 20 shower heads shooting at you while a technician stands about 8 feet away and hoses you down with a high powered hose. It felt good on the tense muscles in my neck and shoulders but it also made me giggle. It just struck me as funny to pay a boatload of money to have someone hose you down like you were being deloused for prison or something. Ok, I have a warped mind. It was still funny. After that I had a Swedish massage with a masseuse who was quite the chatty thing. I heard her life story as a middle child with a domineering older sister and actually got some insights on how my own middle child may be looking at the world around her so that was a bonus.








Finally, I went to the Oasis Lounge for the buffet lunch. The Oasis is just for spa goers so they can eat while they pad around in their robes and slippers. I had three meals during my stay. One was at the Fountain Cafe, one by room service, and one at the Oasis. There was not a single bite of food I was served that was anything less than fabulous. Everything was perfection. I even had fresh berries for breakfast which were juicy, ripe, and flavorful at a time when they are not exactly in season. I had a nice glass of champagne for dinner. This was for my 40th birthday after all. Did I mention the desserts? This is Hershey, you realize. Milk chocolate creme brulee, chocolate cheesecake, strawberry tartlets.....ooooh, those were just the ones I tasted. The buffet alone had 7 choices. To die for. I'm telling you. I was a happy girl.

The last thing which was included in my overnight spa stay was an admission to the Botanical Gardens. Since I had to check out by noon I headed over there before departing to my friend's house. It's November so there's not exactly a lot to look at botanically speaking (though that sign gave me something to ponder). Fortunately, Hershey, PA has not had the hard freeze my corner of the state has had so although the perennials and annuals were completely done and most were cut down the massive rose garden was still blooming. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that. I wandered all the grounds to make sure I didn't miss anything but I spent a lot of time in the rose garden, which had tremendous variety. I took a ridiculous number of pictures there. I am still weeding through them to decide which are the best to share with you. I doubt any of you has the patience to look at the over 100 shots of roses (and really only about 8 of them were completely unusable). Yeah, I went a bit crazy. It was nice to be able to do that without people hurrying me along to the next thing or rolling their eyes at me by the time I was up to my 20th picture. I will share the best later in the week.

Finally, I pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward my girlfriend's house. We tried to figure how long it had been and decided it had to be at least 6 years. Her sisters came over that night. I had only ever met them at my friend's over wedding 15 years ago. Only one knew I was coming that night but she greeted me warmly. The other one walked in, took one look at me and said, "Michelle! So good to see you. You look just the same!" Now I well know I don't but what a nice way to be greeted by someone you met exactly once that long ago. We just had a great time together until late in the evening. The next day was kind of chaotic as we watched 4 kids under the age of 8 but when the one sister returned from her commitments she watched all 4 kids so my friend and I could go have lunch by ourselves. It was late till we got back and my friend convinced me to stay an extra night so another late night was enjoyed after some fun with the kids.

When I got home the house was kind of a wreck but Diana and Isaac were out and Mr. Lime was on his way out. Calypso had 2 friends here for a girls' chick flick day so I joined in the laziness since I was still pretty blissed out.

Yeah, it was all good. Aaaaahhhh.

39 comments:

Suldog said...

Lime:

MY WIFE and I honeymooned - at least partially - at The Hotel Hershey, Maybe I told you that before? No matter. Tremendous place. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And now, I'm going to try very hard to NOT picture you smeared in cocoa butter for the rest of the day :-)

Cocotte said...

Fabulous......I'm so jealous of the dessert thing. And now I wish I could go work there.

I had that hose spray thing done at a different spa and hated it. It was a bit Nazi-Germany creepy to me.

Breazy said...

It sounds like you had a lovely time and now I am wanting to go visit this wonderful place of body wraps, massages and rain showers. Okay I have to admit that I do have a warped mind as well and when I read that about the rain shower, the hosing part, I automatically thought back to the movie "The Green Mile" where they hose down that mean prisoner Billy something.

Glad you had a good time! :)

Balou said...

What a well deserved pampering! Sounds delicious. Great photos. That sky in the locker room is awesome.

Moannie said...

You have given the place such a great write up, maybe they will offer you a free stay next time.

Sounds like a great place to be...l love spas and all the pampering once I get over the dropping the towel bit.

S said...

What? No pictures of you wallowing in a bath o chocolate?
:O

It's amazing, the times we forget out cameras, or our batteries die...happened to me AT the Taj Mahal!

You still look pretty blissed out in that pic with you pal! Sorry you had to babysit, though, ack!

Welcome back!

furiousBall said...

wow, that looks nice. that's a real smile right there in that last photo.

lime said...

suldog, i do recall your post and that you also raved about the place. words just don't do it justice though, do they>?

cocotte, yeah, the hosing down was a little creepy that way.

breazy, if you ever have the chance i'd highly recommend the place. just amazing

balou, that sky painting was rather amazing

moannie, i'd love if my write up got me a free stay!

s, yeah i felt like a dope for forgetting. the babysitting wasn't too bad though.

furiousball, ah, it really is. it was so good to see her.

lecram said...

OK... the prison thing crossed my mind too at the "hose down" reference. lol. But yes... it all sounds wonderful. I too am a bit of a skinflint and I too am very wary of really good service.

Cheers and glad you are back and blissed.

coopernicus said...

I had the same reaction as furiousball....you look so relaxed in that last photo with your friend...good to see the glowing Lime..

lime said...

lecram, i am so glad i'm not the only one who had the prison thought.

coopernicus, "glowing lime" well i was close to three mile island. hehehe. yes, i was very relaxed. ahhh

Sis B said...

I thought of Mrs Doubtfire when Robin Williams is doing the fake nanny phone calls and says, "Cletus! Don't make me get the hose!" I guess I'm not as hardcore as all you prison people. :)

I totally know what you mean about the service people. I'm much better at serving than I am at being served. I feel apologetic and I always feel like I relate more to the people providing the service than I do to the other people receiving it. I can never just stand there and watch, I always pitch in to help and then I feel bad like I'm insulting them.

I'm glad you had such a fabulous time. :)

citizen of the world said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. You just can't go wrong with a chocolately get-away.

Desmond Jones said...

How very, very decadent. . .

;)

Kat said...

I am eating chocolate as I read this, by the way. ;)

It sounds like pure bliss. Heaven!

I will admit that I am the same exact way about being "served". I really do feel guilty. I really do think a lot of it has to do with upbringing. And I can NOT imagine having someone turn my bed down for me. HAHAHA!!! So bizarre.

When my hubby and I went to an all inclusive resort for our honeymoon I felt so ODD when the waiters would bring me a drink and I didn't even tip them. I felt horrible, so we would tip them once in a while anyway (though we were asked not to).

So glad you had such a marvelous time. :)

lime said...

sis b, the mrs doubtfire line is a good one. ;)

citizen, maybe i should have titled this "chocolate bliss."

desmond, that is the perfect word.

kat, yes the turning down of the bed just felt so over the top. the lady was so sweet though.

mssolitaire said...

How wonderful!!! :)

Such a good time relaxing! It must have been very nice!

barman said...

Oh does that not sound absolutely awesome. And I have to ask you ... wouldn't you love to work there if you were going to work? You almost want to go to a place like this to see all the wonderful service. I mean there was this one restaraunt by me that had the best service I ever went to and the food was excelent. Even if the food was not excelent however I would still have come back. The service was just that wonderful. And weren't they awesome treating you to a little something extra because you were so nice to them.

You had me smiling throught your entite description of the spa. I am so happy for you to have such a wonderful time. You deserve nice things at least every now and then.

Again another big smile with how the friends sister greated you. Oh my, is Pensylvania just that super friendly? I think I am missing out on something.

I hope your batteried are all recharged now.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I'm so happy you had a wonderful, relaxing & pampered time on your trip. It sounds like a great place to visit and to work at...umm, maybe I'll push my husband a little harder to move to PA...:) Or at least visit that Spa!!
Now, you know I'm a Massage therapist and instructor. We teach our students that talking is a no- no. The clients are there to relax...but, somethnes the clients get chatty and well I must admit when I worked at a spa I was chatty at times also.

I used to have another job where I traveled once a year to a convention for a week. I used to have lovely suites and enjoyed the turned down beds and mints on the pillows...but, I would be very tidy and keep the room clean! :D

I'm easy to please and can sleep most anywhere within reason. I to did not grow up in riches...:(
I always felt I was born to the wrong family...that, I should have been born into royalty in Europe somewhere...oh, well...such is life....Looking forward the rose pictures! Dutchess Lulda signing out...LOL

RiverPoet said...

I have yet to go to Hershey (though I'm not that far away), but now I MUST. What a terrific recommendation this post is! They should be paying you. Hmm, maybe a spring getaway will be in order.

Peace - D

SignGurl said...

I feel less tense having just read this. :)

Beach Bum said...

I'm like you in that my past history had me staying in places that I brought along a couple of flea collars to wear so I could get some rest at night. So when my wife started bringing me to places this country boy only knew about from television having all that attention and service freaked me out.

Awesome post about Hotel Hershey.

G-Man said...

WOW Trini....
You sure look beautiful AND relaxed!
Must be all those shower heads!!
And massaging hands...
And chocolate...:-)

VE said...

Nice pampering. You kept the robe too, didn't you??!!

Ella said...

what a great time you had! i've always wanted to go on vacation all by myself. what you've written describes exacty how i'd want my time to be! kudos to you!

The Zombieslayer said...

Wow. You did a good job of selling that place.

Very nice pictures too. I want that ceiling.

Jocelyn said...

1) Don't. Let. ANYBODY. Ever. Tell. You. You're. Not. A. Party. Of. Eight. All. By. Yourself. Limeygirl.

2) This description and the photos left me all blissed out, too. Thanks for the free pick-me-up.

3) You are just so gorgeous.

~Tim said...

Chocolate cheesecake? It might be worth a trip just for that!

Palm Springs Savant said...

Lime- HOW FABULOUS! I am rally happy for you, you deserve a little treat now and then. I think I would just melt away if I were there!

misticblu said...

We are at a point now where hubby sees your familiar page from across the room and says "What is Lime up to?" and I read him your posts!
He wishes I could have a standing reservation there 2 days a month.
Or at least it gave him some ideas!
Thank you for sharing a wonderful experience and can't wait to see the flower pics!
( I also feel dreadfully out of place with such extreme high end service, I am sure you made their day!)

lime said...

solitaire, it was amazing

barman, yes, i could see myself working there. wonder if free chocolate is a perk?

lulda, i like a little bit of conversation so i know it's a person but this gal was a bit excessive. though i was glad for the insights she gave me. i have received so much deep tissue therapeutic massage over the years too that a relaxatory massage doesn't feel like very much to me, lol.

riverpoet, it is expensive but if you can swing it i highly recommend you go there.

signgurl, gooooood

beach bun, it does take some getting used to for us simple folk

gman, perfect combination of relaxing factors!

ve, actually the spa robe was more tempting than the room robe, but no. i didn't keep them

ella, if you want to flu solo this is a great place.

zombie, i could do a post just about the decor.

jocelyn, lol, i considered working up 8 separate personalities but i was sure that would get me a trip to the looney bin rather than down a zipline. and now you have me blushing too.

tim, the chocolate cheesecake was heaven on a plate.

savant, awww, thank you. i really didn't want to check out to be honest, so i guess that means i adjusted well to such luxury. hehehehe.

lime said...

misticblu, awww....even my own husband doesn't read my blog. i am touched. tell your husband thanks. and as i have told others. this place is pricey but if you can swing it at all, even just once, it is worth every penny.

Rob said...

I want to be the hoser in the Rain Shower area. I have experience as a hoser. I'd work for free... :-D

Moosekahl said...

Chocolate bliss...it sounds wonderful! And I can't think of a more deserving person. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

KFarmer said...

Lime Honey, it just don't get no better than that :)

cathy said...

I'm so happy you had a fabulous time.
I can't stop smiling:)

seventh sister said...

I think I might take a little while to relax in a spa since I hae worked in several of them. Your story about your earrings reminded me of something that happened in FLA. A very well known (think household name at one time)client came into the spa on a Sunday. I think everyone of us who was there worked on her. Monday morning I was just about to put some robes into the washer when the owner of the spa came back there yelling. We searched the pockets of the robe I had in my hand and found several large diamonds the client had been wearing. Now I always aske people ot put their jewelry in their shoes or I do it for them.

airplanejayne said...

This is where I want to go next year for my birthday. Let's plan a roadtrip, okay?

I am SURE we can find a pole nearby.....

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