Sunday, November 22, 2009

Breakfast not included

Batteries not included!!?? The most irritating for a kid, when opening a Christmas gift, is to find out that the lovely mechanical gadget from mum, dad, an uncle or aunt needs batteries (that are not included) to run. As a traveler, I am equally unhappy when I find that breakfast is not considered a part of my hotel experience. I am, in these cases, not always inclined to pay for a morning meal that often is highly overpriced.

I have been in Brussels this weekend. When ordering a room in the European capital over the internet there is a wide range of hotel rooms available at a price ranging from €40-200. Many have breakfast included in the price, whereas others charge all from €5-29 for breakfast.

If would gladly pay €5, a very reasonable price for breakfast, but think what meal you could get for €30. In this case you may choose a breakfast to your taste at a fraction of the price.

€6 versus €16,04

I love bacon and eggs for breakfast during weekends. When visiting Barcelona this summer, we found that our hotel, Acta Millennia, charged €16,04 (!) for breakfast. We thought that a little steep, and decided to find a cheaper alternative.

As we roamed through the neighbouring area, we found many small places where you could get a substantial morning meal from €5. I ordered an omelet, bacon, toast, juice and coffee for €6, saving €10 for lunch.

Seated on the pavement, with busy traffic just meters away, it was hardly the best place to enjoy our meal, but there were more than enough food for us to be satisfied to lunch.

When should you pay for breakfasts on hotels?

The answer to that question depends on several factors.

Price is one major factor. If you have paid a low price for a room, and is offered an equally good breakfast deal, take it. As when I stayed at Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge, recently. When I paid less than 100 EUR per night for a room, it was a good price, and paying an additional 8 EUR for a good breakfast is definitely worth the price.

Another point is what you pay for. During my stay at Hotel Alizé in Marseille in 2006, we paid for breakfast once and what we were offered was jam and fine pastry, not my favourite choice. A good piece of advice is to check what is served, before you make up your mind and pay for breakfast at the hotel.

If you help yourself to a small selection of what a traditional breakfast buffet has to offer, you have another reason not to buy a overpriced meal. Whereas I tend to help myself greedily to bacon, eggs, cold cuts and cheese, others only take a piece of pastry, yogurt, or cereal. If you choose to pay 30 EUR for that you'll probably eat the most expensive piece of pastry in your life.

A good alternative if you stay in a five star hotel, and will not use a large sum for that five star breakfast. Do check out the neighbourhood for small bars and cafés where you can get a breakfast to your choice as well as your wallet.

Breakfast stories on Enjoy Food & Travel

Berlin - Breakfast at Bell Chicco

Breakfast at El Fornet d'En Rossen

Breakfast in America

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