Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Say No to the Breakfast Buffet

A development on the hotel front in recent years has me wondering what we've got ourselves into. Hotels chains are almost all offering a "free" breakfast when you stay with them. At first this seems like a great idea, but I'm not sure. It can work out okay, but it can be annoyingly disappointing too. I just can't help but think that hotels feel the pressure to offer this, but I'd happily get three bucks off my bill and go without.

These breakfast buffets generally involve rather pedestrian options, often with shortages of what you'd like most, as well as line-ups for use of the popular appliances such as the toaster. The level of elbowing is somewhere between what you see in an NHL game and what I remember of Eaton's bargain basement. Seating is at a premium. If you don't mind eating a waffle standing up without syrup because they've run out and using a spoon to eat it since they've run out of forks then you probably won't mind the hotel breakfast buffet. Me, I think I'd rather find a coffee shop or restaurant nearby and have the hotel stick to the business of beds and leave the breakfasts to somebody else.

The problem is that it seems like you've already paid for the hotel breakfast, so going somewhere else seems wasteful. Nevertheless, I think that's going to be my game plan from now on, unless my hotel is in the middle of nowhere with no other dining options nearby. Either that or if I'm in the mood for a so-so cup of coffee and a very plain bagel in an unappealing setting while competing for the toaster with someone who must be related to Gordie Howe.


  1. Disagree. Although you're right about the coffee. It's usually horrible. Then again, who needs good coffee? Just get the caffeine in you, and some sustenance, and get on with your day. Also, I've never had a problem finding a seat or waiting an unreasonable length of time for the toaster. The hotel would have to knock way more than 3 measly bucks off the bill, too. My M.O. is to cram as much food into me at the "free" breakfast so that it'll last me and I won't have to get lunch.

  2. The food is usually mediocre, but hey, breakfast in many spots when travelling can be.I assume your blog is in response to being at the Chemainus Theatre Inn? You are right the food is average at best there, but the rooms and theatre package cost the same as they did before the free breaky, so why not enjoy it? As for the elbows at the toaster? Imagine you are under the hoop waiting for a rebound, get your feet planted, and bum out. Ha sounds like Coach Shower's ? A couple of summers ago we had an amazing free breaky at a Hampton Inn in southern Idaho, followed by the server actually making us a couple of bag lunches when I explained we were going hiking in the " Badlands". Cheers, xelA.

  3. Jack, you are off your rocker on this one. 'Free Breakfast' at a hotel/motel is a huge plus, do you not watch Rick Steves' Europe? Fill up on breakfast, ask staff if you can take some fruit, buns and jam with you, tada, you only have one meal a day to pay for out of pocket.

    Tangentally, I have really noticed that the nicer the hotel, the poorer the 'free' amenities, wifi, breakfast, etc.

    If I stay at the grungy Best Western on Kingsway I get free wifi, free in room coffee/tea, a pretty nice free breakfast spread... all for around $79. On the other hand, I recently spent some time at grand tacky old Caesar's Palace, where, for $200/night you earned the privilege of paying an additional $12/day for the use of the in-room coffee/tea maker, paying an additional $25/day for wifi (per device!) and paying $14 for the breakfast buffet.

  4. Do you make a habit of staying at the Best Western on Kingsway?

    Signed, your wife.


  5. I WORKED there! (so long ago) And took great pride (well, not really) in setting up that breakfast buffet...

  6. I know you worked there, honey! why do you think I married you?

    I agree with Jack, though--I think the breakfast buffets are mediocre (at best) and I'd rather find a little cafe somewhere (and save a few bucks on the room).