Friday, January 7, 2011

Ten Tips For a Great Hotel Breakfast

  1. Service It’s okay to select your own fruit and cereals from a well-stocked buffet. But who needs to run around the room queuing and collecting? Tea, coffee and everything else should come to your table. With a smile.
  2. Linen Call me old fashioned, but I like a pristine laundered cloth on my breakfast table. It's quiet, it's civilised. And it prevents the staff giving the spray/wipe treatment to the empty adjacent table while I'm eating.
  3. No Pre-Packed Portions This is a hotel, not an airplane. There is no reason to offer a basket of long-life milk-substitute. I want milk, in a jug. Preserves in tiny glass jars are okay; anything in a little plastic packet is not.
  4. Fresh Fruits Notice the plural. I want a choice of fruits, some whole, some prepared. Genuine freshly squeezed juices score highly.
  5. Choice As with the fruits, so with the cooked dishes. There should be many ways with eggs, porridge, kippers and vegetarian options alongside the bacon and sausage. None of these should be sitting around in a tray.
  6. Bread Top quality bread, made on the premises or sourced from a good local baker, speaks volumes. This is very different from part-baked bread, finished off in the kitchen, hot and crispy outside, steamy and soggy within.
  7. Provenance Any chef worth his salt and your money should be sourcing local produce. It's a good sign if you know which breed of pig, or which farm, your bacon came from. Vague phrases, like 'farm-fresh eggs' mean nothing.
  8. Leaf tea Okay, this is a personal eccentricity when I’m traveling. But I don't want a label hanging out of the pot (or worse, out of the cup). Also, the pot should pour well. If the hotel tolerates dripping pots, what other mess do they accept?
  9. Fresh flowers It may only be one, in a bud vase, but it brightens the day.
  10. Tranquility I will walk out of pretty much anywhere which serves up canned music for breakfast.
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