I’ll stomach the free breakfast if I’ve already got my eye on a good Roadfood place for lunch; keeps breakfast samll so I gan splurge more later![:D]
The cinnamon rolls at Holiday Inn Express are pretty darn good. I know they’re frozen and warmed up under the Holiday Inn Express heat lamp but I like them. They also have lots of cereals, bread, english muffins, biscuits and sausage gravy and coffee and juice. Overall, much better than other ‘free’ breakfast buffets at these type of hotels.
The Emabassy Suites (up until last year at least) had the cooked to order breakfast (no problem getting sunny-side eggs) with crisp bacon and good (per my girlfriend) coffee. They also had the happy hour in the afternoon with beer, wine, and a few liquors like tequila, rum, vodka, etc. Not premium stuff, but good and included in the room price. Hooray for Garfield! [:D]
As for folks taking enough food for seventeen people, as Laura Linney pointed out in the movie You Can Count on Me; "…the world is a horrible place and people suck…."
I currently work at 2 privately owned inns and previously worked at another. Here’s what they do for breakfast:
#1: about $150 a night right now. Static menu that changes every other day, no cooked to order, cereals, muffins, Danish, cinnamon rolls, bagels, egg patties, sausage, Englsh muffins, juice, milk, waffles, pancakes, and a few more I’m probably forgetting.
#2: Up to over $300 per night. Varied menu depending on who went to buy the breakfast stuff. No cooked to order, but do-it-yourself waffles every day, name-brand breakfast pastries, cereal, bagels, muffins, English muffins, oj, milk, etc.
#3: Starting at $450 per night. After the early morning offering (5:30 for early risers, prepared from scratch by 2 pro pastry chefs) a full, off-the-menu breakfast prepared by one of the top chef staffs in the country
And now, my favorite continental breakfast story ever. A friend and I were going to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire many years ago (never got there, by the way–mudslide). We stayed at an inexpensive place in southern Maine the night before, one that offered a continental breakfast in the lobby. We get up and head for breakfast–which (I swear) turned out to be a toaster and a loaf of store-brand bread.
I prefer to stay at the brands in the Choice Hotels line. Some are better than others, but they offer wonderful military discounts that you can book online. Some offer free breakfast. Most of the Comfort Suites do. A better one, like Newport Ky (across the river from Cincinnati) can become a favorite stop. Pour-your-own waffle, great coffee, fresh local fruit in season, cereal included a bran variety, instant oatmeal and grits are sometimes found. What a view from that dinning room!!
Many of these places offer coffee and whole fruits (apples & oranges) all day long for guests who want to sit and relax.
I will some days opt for a waffle and fruit. Peanut butter on waffles, or sugar free syrup are a must, else I skip it. I like to have a coffee maker in the room, but there is seldom enough condiment packets to get the coffee the way I like it (light and sweet), so I go down to the lobby for creamer/splenda supplies. I never take more than I need for the 4 cup pot I’ve just made in the room.
I like the convenience. The waffles are good IMHO. I know nothing is free, and it is included in the price all patrons of the hotel pay. I will also venture out for breakfast if it is too crowded, dirty, or i see something served that isn’t in a servable condition (ie moldy cheese cubes).
I often book B&B’s when on vacation type trips, and those breakfasts just can’t be compared to chain hotel free breakfasts. There is a trade off though…when a chain hotel makes a mistake, they usually are interested in making it right to keep your business. But when a B&B makes a mistake, they say sorry and (in my experience) aren’t interested in making it right to keep your future business. It’s a shame really!
At a minimum, I like the option of breakfast being available on-site, free or not, even if I don’t partake of it.
Around NYC and Southern Connecticut, I have encountered edible bagels.
Otherwise the stale, bread circles … I can’t even call them bagels … offered at many hotels should be outlawed.
It’s gotten better over the years, but these free breakfasts are usually pretty unappealing. If they have protein (like peanut butter, a hard-boiled egg, or cheese), I’ll grab it, maybe make a sandwich, but if it’s just bad doughnuts or microwaveable danishes, I’ll pass. Coffee usually sucks.
Funny story: an old BF of mine is a sucker for free coffee, no matter how foul. I had to wait because he insisted on grabbing a cup on our way out of a motel near the airport in Chicago, even though we were headed out for a real breakfast; first thing, he spilled the coffee on his sweatshirt. Served him right!
I’ve only once been served hot food as part of a hotel/motel deal in the U.S. (though I am an extreme cheapskate when it comes to motels) – in Astoria, OR, at a restored elegant hotel, they gave us vouchers for breakfast at a nice place across the street; that was good. Now in England, on the other hand…! (I guess B&B’s don’t count in this question…)
If I am traveling with kids or Grandchildren I usually opt for it. It is convenient and usually has something they like such as juice, cereal yogurt,etc. However, the last time I traveled to a convention we stayed at the host hotel, a Doubletree. Due to a time limit (had to make a meeting) we decided to avail ourselves at breakfast there. For what most hotels offer for free they charged an extra $8. In fact, it was exactly like the Comfort Inn i stayed at last summer(with a baby) and ate for free. Linda
A recent visit to Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village was a confirmation to me that there is better stuff to eat besides the hotel’s offerings. I was there with my whole family tree and many of them had coupons for the free breakfast. I did not have these coupons but I went into the dining area to scope out the offerings. There were steam tables with hot meats and things, including scrambled eggs and French toast. I was about to join the rest of my family, but learned that it would cost $35.00 !!!! No way was I going to go for that.
I decided to strike out on my own and check out any nearby places for breakfast. I discovered a treasure among the tourist spots. This place may be one of the best places for breakfast that I have ever eaten at, and I say this as someone who has won awards for the breakfasts that I made. It deserves to be listed in the Roadfood guide, it is that good. I can say many things about this place, but it is things like how they make the waffles and top it with whipped cream the size of a softball. Here is a link to their website, check out the photo album….
Holy smokes Mike, $40.00 is an expensive breakfast.
It really should be brought to a manager s attention; servers have a hard enough job without being asked to be a food cop. We’re not talking about someone taking an extra donut, etc, but the real abusers. If a manager ignores this abuse I would not stay at that location again as I am obviously subsidizing it instead of them controlling expenses.
I don’t enjoy the "Free Breakfast" program at most hotel/motels. It’s just bedlam.
Everyone in a hurry to grab and prepare boxed cereal, picking over fruits, waiting
impatiently for someone else’s bagel or toast to pop up, and frustration over crowded
lines and empty coffee pots. I just get O.J. and toast. But I know it is nice to
have something in the morning, especially when the belly is growling and the kids
The best free breakfast experience for me was at the Sheraton in Virginia Beach. I went
down to their restaurant, ordered hot food from their menu, and enjoyed a serene, quiet
time reading a book and enjoying the view of the ocean. It just started the day off perfectly.
Many of these free breakfasts feature previously frozen bagels, donuts fresh out of the refrigerator, and industrial tasting danishes. I think that they are great for people traveling with young children who can have cereal and fruit before they go on the road or head out for the day while on vacation. I always opt for a sit-down breakfast with an omelet station if available if traveling alone. When with my wife, I have a coffee while she is getting ready and we eat at a breakfast type restaurant on the road, many of which I have found on Roadfood. Just last month my wife and I were at a hotel with a "free breakfast" as described above, but only 12 miles away was "Mo’s Midtown", (http://roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1476), an outstanding place for breakfast reviewed by the Sterns. We opted for Mo’s and we were not disappointed. The moral of the story, always check Roadfood.com when traveling out of town.
As John A stated…IT IS NOT FREE. However the jerks loading down w/ oranges are not stealing. There is not , in my observation, a sign stating you can only have what you can eat in the room.
Hotels don’t want to PO the customers. 99% are reasonable or 30% don’t eat at all. The jerk taking a box of oranges is figured into the mix.
I am one who some will consider a thief. I rise and leave before the kitchen or buffet is ready and eat breakfast at another of the same chain a few hours later. I have been told by workers at the next place this is fine. Haven’t a clue if they care or not. I know each place is not owned by …Hampton Inn…but they accept a road warrior w/o question. I haven’t even asked about it in five plus years…desk clerks blew me off too many times to worry about it anymore.
We just returned from a spring break trip to Tucson. The morning buffet at the Holiday Inn Express was a welcome addition to our stay. Bagels, juice, yogurt and cereal. Each day there was also a hot item. I stayed away from the pre fab eggs, but the bacon/sausage was okay. The last morning we were there, they served refried beans. A real eye-opener for my 10 year old daughter. She loves refried beans, but it never occurred to her for breakfast.
Weeks before it ever arrived at the hotel. They bought them in a one or three gallon bucket from a company like Sysco…nothing wrong w/ it but I’ll stick w/ you and go for yogurt and fruit. I do mix my yogurt w/ bran, well you know why.
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