28 Feb Hotel Breakfasts: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
by Paula Gardner of city travels website, http://www.soothedinthecity.com
If there’s one thing that hotels underestimate in importance, it is the hotel breakfast. In my opinion this can be the making or a breaking of a hotel stay. Breakfasts are a popular part of a stay for people talk about; whether it was well thought out and delicious, or a complete let down. It also says a lot about the thought a hotel puts into its offerings. Does it just dole stuff out in large quantities to get people fed and off and out, or does it offer a well crafted experience that sets a precedent for a great day?
In my travels, I’ve come across breakfasts good, bad and ugly. Here are the highlights (and lowlights). We’ll start with the worst first.
The Worst Hotel Breakfast Mistakes
1. Not having enough tables.
Of course, this can’t be helped in a boutique hotel but in larger establishments there really should be enough places to sit, or at least somewhere to wait. I find it really offputting to nibble on my toast with someone breathing down my back, waiting to jump into my seat the moment I put my teacup down. Even worse are family hotels where the children do a Puss in Boots on you and you have to finish your croissant with a large slice of guilt.
Surely everyone knows by know that food dripping with grease is not good for the heart, complexion or dishwasher? At a recent stay in Newcastle I had to literally hold my bacon over the serving plate for half a minite until the grease dripped off enough for me to want to let it anywhere near my own plate.
3. Tinned mushrooms.
Need I say more?
4. Not having enough.
Surely hotels should have the experience to guage how mnay yoghurts they’ll need. It’s both disappointing and frustrating to go down to breakfast and find only stale pain au chocolat and rock solid baked beans waiting for you.
5. Over complicating it with machines.
If you’re anything like me, you may be a little sleepy first thing in the morning and the last thing you want to do is navigate a number of different, equally complicated machines, or, perhaps worse, wait in the queue whilst someone else does it. If there’s anything technical/mechanical that might give a guest a problem, label it with instructions. Even something as basic as “Turn handle right for cereal” can speed things up. And please, if you’re using coffee machines, have someone come by regularly and mop up the spills.
And the hotels that do it right
To be honest, I’ve found that hotels on the continent seem to do breakfast much better. I have to admit that I don’t hold the Full English Breakfast in as much reverence as some people which allows me to be more open minded. But they just seem to make it look so much more attractive: yoghurts placed on piles of sparkling ice cubes rather than dumped on a metal try, cheeses spread out and nestled next to grapes or olives, rather than vacuum packed and sliced or a plate. And they tend to have cake, and lots of it. You can’t go wrong with cake for breakfast in my book..
1. Good English Breakfasts
Funnily enough, these tend to be served by Scottish B and Bs that somehow seem to manged the full cooked breakfast without the artery busters, and also offer freshly made porridge as an alternative.
2. American style!
Anywhere that offers pancakes as a breakfast option is great in my book. And kids love it!
3. Food Knowledge
Hotels and guest houses that know their provenance and tell you about it, or at least label their dishes. Knowing what you’re eating and where it came from is a huge part of the enjoyment for many.
Real freshly squeezed orange or, even better a selection of fresh juices, is wonderful. It does take a bit of effort, I know, but the appreciation factor is massive. The same goes for fresh smoothies.
5. Coffee and tea brought to you at the table.
Everything else can be buffet service but this one small personal aspect goes a long way. If cappucciono, hot chocolate and soya milk are also on offer then all the better.