When booking a vacation hotel or resort room, travelers are often given the choice of booking a room only or a room with breakfast included, aka, the “breakfast package”. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I love hotel breakfasts so I often book my hotel stays with the breakfast included. And in my many years of travel, I’ve had so many amazing hotel breakfast experiences. However, there have also been a few breakfast packages that have left me disappointed, either because of the food itself or the cost of the breakfast compared to what was included. In the last several years of travel, I’ve applied a few easy strategies to evaluate my hotel room/breakfast options in advance. These strategies or considerations have been a tremendous help in determining if I will spring for breakfast at the hotel or try my luck at another local restaurant.
4 Things to Consider Before Booking a Hotel Breakfast Package
QUALITY – Consider the quality of the hotel you are booking, because I’ve found that, in most cases, the higher quality hotels will present with higher quality breakfasts. That’s not always the case, but it’s the general rule I follow. And quality doesn’t mean a lavish brunch-style buffet that includes Champagne and harpist (although those are amazing!) There are plenty of basic hotel breakfast buffets and a la carte menus that are fantastic because they use quality ingredients, prepare a variety of items fresh daily and display their food in such a way that it appears well-maintained (buffet is nicely decorated and food is replenished often and appears tidy). But if you’ve never eaten at the hotel, how will you know the quality of the breakfast? There are plenty of sites and blogs that provide reviews and photos of hotel breakfasts and I use these all the time when I’m getting ready to book my trips. Just google the name of your hotel and the word “breakfast” and you’re sure to find someone’s breakfast review or photos. I especially love when travelers post photos of their hotel breakfasts (yes, those photos do come in handy!) because they not only show you the actual breakfast food, but they also often show how the tables are set, what types of tables are used and how the breakfast rooms are decorated – all of which can contribute to the overall quality of my breakfast experience.
VALUE – While the cost of a hotel breakfast may be less expensive than the listed price on the menu when it’s booked as part of a room package, that is not always the case. I’ve seen instances where the room/breakfast package provided no actual discount to the breakfast at all (it just allowed you to pay for your breakfast in advance) – so you are really not saving any money. However, if you find that, after you assess the cost of the room-only rate, that adding breakfast to the package makes it cheaper than buying the hotel breakfast outside of the package, then it provides a greater value to you. Also consider what’s actually included in the breakfast package, as some hotels, even the better ones, will include the continental breakfast only, which is not really a value if you are thinking you are paying for the full buffet. Other hotels will give you the option of the buffet or a la carte – some may even throw in room service breakfast! Finally, check to see if the package includes breakfast drinks – even the inclusion of tea, coffee or juice can be a bonus rather than having to pay additional for those items.
TIMING – Consider the time you will eat breakfast while on your trip – will you get up in time to enjoy it or sleep until noon? If you have a really early morning for work, site-seeing or to catch a flight, will you even have time to eat breakfast? There have been times where I have been very tempted to get the breakfast package with my hotel room but then I realize that I won’t even be at the hotel during breakfast hours on 2-3 of those mornings. So if you’re too busy to eat or like to sleep late, you may want to forgo the breakfast package and give yourself the flexibility of eating anywhere at anytime.
GOALS – When debating the room/breakfast package, think about the type of trip you want to have. Having a hotel breakfast in a foreign city can be a great way to explore the flavors of that country or region. However, it also limits you to eating breakfast at the same place each day. So if you like to get out and try new restaurants and foods or like being spontaneous, then booking the hotel breakfast in advance may not be for you. Finally, hotel breakfasts can get quite pricey, even when they are part of a package. This can easily drive up the cost of your trip. So if your goal is to stay within a strict, more modest budget, then you may want to eat outside of the hotel.
Happy Travels Everyone!