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Complimentary breakfasts can be a bargain, as well as a significant time saver.  We explore the world of "complimentary breakfasts" and make recommendations about the chains that offer the best breakfasts. 

 

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Travel Advice -  Those Complimentary Breakfasts.

We have found that motels/hotels that offer "complimentary" or "included" breakfasts can save you time and money.

  • In the U.S. most motels/hotels providing this service offer juice, pastries, toast, cold cereal, fruit, and coffee.
  • Quality, quantity, and diversity of the breakfast items offered differ between establishments
  • The "better" providers usually have someone on duty to refill the breakfast items and drinks and make sure that the area is tidy for those breakfasting.
  • In addition, these establishments often have a greater variety of fruits, cereals (including instant, hot cereals) and pastries.
  • Finally, the "winners" have better quality food items (fresher, better tasting, and better looking) than the also-rans.

Our experience has been that a good complimentary breakfast for two can save you between $10 and $15 (food, tax, and tip) compared to eating somewhere else. In respect to time, we believe that the complimentary breakfast can save a minimum of 30 minutes compared to the time that you would spend in a restaurant (we estimate that eating in a commercial establishment will take 60 minutes due to drive time, ordering, waiting, eating, paying, and stopping in the restroom (which will not be as clean as the one you had in the hotel)).

 

European hotels offering complimentary breakfasts usually provide a quality and diversity of items that is a step above what you find in the U.S.

  • In Europe, where breakfast is commonly provided, you will find bread, pastries, cereal, yogurt, cold cuts and cheese.
    • Some  European hotels will provide eggs, omelets, coffee,  juices, and breakfast meats.
    • An important point here, is that if you book many European hotels using Expedia, Orbitz or one  of the discount ticketing services, breakfast may not be included, so check to see.
      • (a provided breakfast is usually worth 10 - 15 Euros depending on the types of food provided.
  • It is difficult to find a good breakfast restaurant in Europe (if you are looking for something other than coffee and pastries) and you should plan to take advantage of the breakfast offered by the hotel.

In the U.S., our experience has been that Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inns, generally do a good job in providing a satisfactory continental breakfast. Others that we have tried have failed, even when advertising a deluxe continental breakfast. Most often, other hotels have been “out” of key items even though we have been at the dining area within 30 minutes of opening. In other cases, the selection and quality has been enough to chase us to a local restaurant.

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