Land of Chocolate
What’s special: Chocolate and roller coasters make for a fun combination at Hersheypark, a 120-acre amusement park. This year, the park opened its 13th coaster, Laff Trakk, the first indoor, spinning glow-coaster in the United States. The park also offers shows, a boardwalk, and water rides. At nearby Hershey Story Museum, you can learn about Milton S. Hershey and the town that bears his name. Visit Chocolate World to see where and how chocolate is made. The elegant Hotel Hershey, built in 1933, sits high overlooking the town. The hotel has swimming, golf, a luxurious spa, Segway tours, hiking trails, appearances by Hershey characters, and an array of restaurants. Or you can stay at the Hershey Lodge, where there are indoor and outdoor pools, s’more roasts, Hershey-character appearances, an indoor game room and a Wii room, a miniature golf course, and a variety of restaurants.
The deal: The Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free package, for those under 17, includes accommodations, free kids’ breakfast, admission to Hersheypark, admission to the beautiful Hershey gardens, and admission to the Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. In addition, guests at either the Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge benefit from the Hershey Resorts Advantage, which affords a complimentary shuttle to and from the park and early access to it. Rates start at $369 at Hershey Lodge and $469 at the Hotel Hershey, a savings of more than 25 percent. Mention Washingtonian when booking to also receive four snack vouchers, a $20 value. To book, call 717-508-1956.
When: Valid for stays on selected days through September 2015.
The Good Life
Where: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, 36205 Snake Hill Rd., Middleburg, Va.; 540-687-3333.
What’s special: The luxurious Goodstone Inn & Restaurant sits on 265 acres of countryside and is an easy drive from Washington. Enjoy a full breakfast in the morning (included in the room rate) and complimentary afternoon refreshments in the Carriage House. The elegant guest rooms and suites are done up in English and French country styles. The inn offers vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a property that features exquisite flowers, woodlands, orchards, and kitchen gardens for its farm-to-table restaurant. You can hike the property, have a treatment in the spa (housed in a renovated barn), or swim in the gorgeous pool. Off the property, you can drive into Middleburg to shop at its antiques stores and boutiques or visit nearby wineries.
The deal: Goodstone’s Wine and Strawberries Package includes one night of accommodations, a $25 credit toward food and beverage at the Restaurant at Goodstone, a complimentary tasting for two at a local winery, chocolate-covered strawberries, and 20 percent off current rack rates for additional nights. Rates start at $385 for midweek stays, $475 on weekends. Mention Washingtonian when booking.
When: Valid for stays through August 31, 2015.
Smoky Mountain High
Where: The Swag, 2300 Swag Rd., Waynesville, N.C.; 800-789-7672.
What’s special: The all-inclusive mountaintop inn sits on the edge of magnificent Smoky Mountains National Park and offers breathtaking views and serenity. All guests get to choose and keep their own walking stick, made from a variety of beautiful woods, as well as a free picture frame. Both rustic and luxe, the inn’s common rooms feature wood-beamed ceilings and giant fireplaces—making them perfect spots to sit and read. Outdoors, you can take anything from a short stroll to a challenging hike to a walk across a swinging bridge. Or simply lounge on a hammock, soak in the hot tub and gaze out over the mountains, play croquet and marvel at the 50-mile view, or sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the hummingbirds flit by. Beyond the inn, you can visit historic Biltmore Estate (50 miles away), raft the whitewater rivers, and zipline through the forest. Meals are special, too, starting with the breakfast buffet, which includes made-to-order omelets, cider-simmered oatmeal, breads, bacon, country sausage, and fresh juices. For lunch, the inn will pack you a picnic—a sandwich, fruit, a chocolate dessert called a Swag Bar, chips, and coleslaw. Don’t want to hike to enjoy the picnic? Climb into a chair at the treehouse. Evening starts with a free social hour of hors d’oeuvres before the chef’s four-course meals featuring such dishes as local mountain trout. Cookies, nuts, and ice cream are available for free all day. The resort has no liquor license, but you can bring your own wine or alcohol.
The deal: Prices start at $495 for the room and all meals. Mention Washingtonian when booking to receive a free cheese-and-fruit platter, a $30 value, as well as either 50 percent off one massage or two massages for the price of one.
When: Valid for stays August through September 2015.
Where: Pier House Resort & Spa, 1 Duval St., Key West, Fla.; 305-296-4600.
What’s special: This waterfront hotel features a private beach and pool, a spa, two dining options, and the Chart Room bar, where Jimmy Buffett played early in his career. The hotel is a short stroll from such attractions as the Ernest Hemingway House, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (where gold bars, silver coins, emerald jewelry, and other precious cargo from 17th-century shipwrecks are on display), the Sunset Pier, and Mallory Square with its street performers. Don’t want to walk? The hotel has a free shuttle. Water lovers will be interested in Danger Charters for sailing and snorkeling and Sunset Watersports, both near the hotel.
The deal: Readers receive 20 percent off the usual room rate. Book online here.
When: Valid for stays August 23 through September 30, 2015 (except blackout dates September 5, 6, 7, 18 and 19).
Paradise by the Sea
Where: El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village, 1000 El Conquistador Ave., Fajardo, Puerto Rico; 787-863-1000.
What’s special: Atop a 300-foot bluff on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, this resort spans 500 acres overlooking the convergence of the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Guests have a choice of 23 restaurants, bars, and lounges ranging from gourmet to casual, many with ocean views. Play golf on a championship course, relax at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, enjoy water sports on the resort’s private island, or splash with the kids at Coqui Water Park.
The deal: The Best of Waldorf Astoria promotion includes a $100 resort credit based on a two-night minimum stay, plus a $50 credit for every additional night. Mention Washingtonian when booking to also get two complimentary Coqui Water Park tickets, a $40 value.
When: Valid for stays through September 2015.