/ Travel & Leisure

Hungry for a five star hotel breakfast

A hotel breakfast with eggs, croissants and hot drinks

According to Which? members, Travelodge has the worst quality and worst value of breakfasts out of all UK hotel chains. In our recent survey, the chain only got one star for breakfast quality, and two stars for price.

Travelodge charges £7.65 for a hot buffet breakfast (or £6.65 if you book it online). Alternatively you can pay £4.50 (£4.05 online) for a ‘breakfast bag’ – a cereal pot, muffin, croissant, jam and fruit juice.

So what do you expect for breakfast when you stay in a UK chain hotel, and how much are you willing to pay for it? Should the price of a breakfast be included in the room price, or do you like to have a choice? Perhaps you just want a quick cuppa, or you’re on holiday and don’t want to get out of bed early.

I stayed at the Marriott hotel in Durham recently and decided not to have breakfast as I had an early morning meeting. I didn’t think I could manage a full English at that time of the day, preferring instead an orange juice and bacon toastie. Perhaps I should have, though, because the hotel’s quality of breakfast scored five stars in our hotel survey. Instead I ended up walking the neighbouring streets for ages trying to find a café that was open at 8am.

The perfect breakfast

When it comes to hotel breakfasts, I think one of the best I’ve had was at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe, Scotland. It did help that it was a gorgeous morning, and the staff offered to serve us outside. If you’ve ever been to this beautiful part of the Highlands, you’ll know that the mountains surrounding you are breathtaking. Not only was the breakfast hearty, but my plate wasn’t piled too high, the food was as I requested (no egg or tomato, but a little extra haggis!) and it was warm and served in the right order!

I realise now that I can be a bit fussy when it comes to the first meal of the day. I want my tea served first before I start on any cereal or muesli. And I don’t want my toast until my hot breakfast is ready. Far too often I find toast arrives early and just sits on your table getting cold. What I do want cold, though, is the milk. Nothing puts me off my cornflakes more than room-temperature milk. And I’d like a choice of some fruit too, please!

So, am I the only one with dos and don’ts at the breakfast table? Surely I can’t be. What do you want from a hotel breakfast? Have you had any hotel breakfast nightmares?

Comments
Guest
Gina Dutton says:
3 November 2012

I too want mt tea first, but more importantly I want a pot. I don’t want stewed cool tea from a flask. Even the big brand chains are doing this now. I end up asking for a pot of earl grey, just to get a proper drink.

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Guest

Well – I can recommend Treganna Castle in St Ives for superb service – though the Lunch was generally a little light – Evening meal great – Breakfast was superb. It was a traditional English Breakfast – sausages – bacon – fried bread – beans – etc – and enough of it to feel well fed. The 5 star Hotel catered beautifully for dogs – they had a choice of – your supplied meal – their supplied meal – or Chef designed meals (extra) The dogs were fed by waiters at your breakfast table (not in main meal room) so I could and did have all my meals with my three dogs. They could be taken for walks by a maid – They ‘lost’ one of mine because he waited behind the bedroom door and escaped through the hotel looking for me – I simply called him when told.. The rest of the dog owners were lovely. It has a large woods for dog walking – 18 hole golf course allowed dogs on it. – outdoor swimming pool – spectacular walks to the beach.

The snag?? Rather expensive – but worth it as I could take all my dogs with me – keep them with me at all times – I enjoyed all four fortnight long holidays (except for the habit of one dog who persisted in “rolling in ‘smellies’ in order to blend in” :)”

Guest
Tony says:
3 November 2012

English Breakfast at the Grange Hotel in Bracknell is an outrageous £18, and nothing very special, just a serve yourself from chafing dishes affair. 2 weeks after I stayed there I went to the Horizon Hotel in Ayr, much nicer breakfast (served, but certainly enough to eat) and £10 cheaper than in Bracknell.

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Guest

I think I’ve had every grade of hotel breakfast from the sublime to the inedible and the quality is often not matched to the star rating of the establishment. It seems that to me that the grading inspectors do not place enough emphasis on the quality or value-for-money of the breakfast in making their overall assessments. Morover, some hotels award their own star rating and in my experience this is usually over-rated. Of the chains, I certainly agree that breakfast in Marriott hotels is excellent and De Vere can be very good, but staying in those hotels is fairly expensive. Hilton and Holiday Inn are average in my opinion and Radisson are below average. Many independent and family-run hotels and B&B’s do a superb breakfast but, unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of time going through the comments on a reviews website, it’s not easy to pick the best combination of location, price and breakfast quality. One of the best breakfasts we have had in London, several times, was at the Rubens Hotel near Buckingham Palace. It’s pricey but worth it for a treat or a special occasion [like for the night before a ride on the Orient Express, or if you have to pop across the road to collect a gong from the monarch].

Very few hotels now include breakfast in the room rate. This helps them keep the offer price down, or show an impressive discount, on comparison sites. Full English tends to be around £15-20 in central London, less in other cities, and considerably less in country towns and rural places. I agree with Tony that £18 in Reading is outrageous. There is usually a discount for booking breakfast the night before. In biggger towns and city centres there is often a handy Wetherspoons or other establishment that does all-day breakfasts but if you go to Garfunkels, Burger King, MacDonalds or such like then you might end up paying more than at the hotel. Old-fashioned sit-down cafés are thin on the ground nowadays, and as Lorna found, if you’re a stranger in a place you don’t know where to look for one. Hence the hotels have it increasingly on their terms and should try to provide a much better quality product.

Guest
bunny says:
5 November 2012

ive just come back from travelodge, cardiff and i agree, the breakfast certainly wasn’t worth what i paid for it. it was good that it was all you could eat but i didnt really want to go back for seconds. the only good thing about the cooked breakfast were the sausages.

Guest
Clifford says:
5 March 2017

I love hotel breakfasts when I can get them!

For a budget breakfast there’s very little wrong with Premier Inns. Unlike Travelodge you can at least serve yourself to fried eggs there. Last time I went it cost £8.95 off the street. That was in Hampstead.

I find that privately run/more old fashioned hotels seem to offer the best breakfasts. I’m thinking especially of the Ripon Spa (N Yorks) and the Passford House (Lymington/New Forest) hotels as prime examples. I prefer coffee with breakfast but, like Gina (above), prefer it served in a pot, rather than waiting expectantly for refills or having to leave the table just to get another cupful from a machine. Often I find that this alternative is available if you ask for it. The Imperial in Torquay is also good – Castle and Ball in Marlborough (Wilts) OK.

Guest

I love hotel breakfasts when I can get them!

For a budget breakfast there’s very little wrong with Premier Inns. Unlike Travelodge you can at least serve yourself to fried eggs there. Last time I went it cost £8.95 off the street. That was in Hampstead.

I find that privately run/more old fashioned hotels seem to offer the best breakfasts. I’m thinking especially of the Ripon Spa (N Yorks) and the Passford House (Lymington/New Forest) hotels as prime examples. I prefer coffee with breakfast but, like Gina (above), prefer it served in a pot, rather than waiting expectantly for refills or having to leave the table just to get another cupful from a machine. Often I find that this alternative is available if you ask for it. The Imperial in Torquay is also good – Castle and Ball in Marlborough (Wilts) OK.