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The joy of hotel breakfasts

Saturday 16 June 2012
Breakfast buffet, courtesy of Hotel Carlemany, Girona
(Incredible donuts in view)

I never used to eat breakfast. I was just never hungry first thing in the morning. I used to leap out of bed and head straight to school. My morning routine took ten minutes, and I would eek out every minute of time I could spend under the duvet.
I should point out that I did wash. But I never looked particularly... polished. I still don't, come to think of it.

Even now, I’m not a big breakfast fan. Special K with Red Berries, and I’m done. Nothing fancy.

When I’m away, it all changes. Suddenly, I want a plate piled high with pancakes, bacon and syrup. I want a selection of pastries, I want juice and I want coffee. I want it all! If I'm away in the sun, a good breakfast can usually hold me until dinner, so long as an ice cream is thrown into the mix somewhere in the day. Which is why a good hotel breakfast can make a huge difference to a holiday.

So here is a selection of my latest breakfast victories (and failures).

Hotel Carlemany , Girona

On my first morning, I came down to the foyer to see what the story was with breakfast. I followed someone from my group to the bar, where we saw a tiny menu which pretty much offered toast or croissants. My heart sank. But then all was saved, when another girl pointed me to the actual breakfast buffet. Ahhh. A breakfast buffet.

It didn’t disappoint. A plethora of pastries, a Nespresso machine (which always reassuringly makes me think of George Clooney) and endless platters of fruit. There was a hot buffet I didn’t even touch, a platter of meats and a tank of freshly squeezed orange juice.

I ate… melon, prosciutto, a Clooney coffee, and a Krispy Kreme style donut that haunts my dreams to this very day. Vanity dictated that I only had one, but if I'm ever in that situation again, I'll have four.

Le Plaza, Brussels

Considering it costs an extra €29, it wasn’t the breakfast of dreams I was expecting. There were plenty of mini pastries, a vast selection of cereals and fruits, and lots of hot stuff.
The coffee wasn't great, and there wasn't any selection of hot drinks. A waitress came to the table with either tea or coffee. This is starting to sound a little 'first world problem', right? But when you've been drinking George Clooney, you get accustomed to a certain way of life.

I ate... crepes, American style bacon, maple syrup. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice breakfast, but it wasn't worth €29. Go and find a patisserie instead.

Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco

Typically, hostel breakfasts are rank. Rubbery bread, butter that ISN'T BLOODY BUTTER, and stale cereal is usually the order of the day. But Green Tortoise show that a hostel can do it even better than a fancy pants hotel. They know what you need, and keep it simple.

In the morning, there's a huge tray of different bagels, which you slice in a very exciting bagel slicer and put through an even more exiting toaster oven. Then there's a big variety of spreads: butter, jams, peanut butter, cream cheese etc.

A selection of juices, teas, coffee is next to a platter of fresh fruit, cut into chunks.

Simple, free and exactly what you need to set you up for the day. Well played.

I ate... a sesame bagel with cream cheese, pineapple, mango and banana, and juice.

Is anyone else really craving breakfast now?


  1. You should try breakfast in the Hayfield Manor in Cork - any type of cooked breakfast you like, made to order and served to you and then a buffet with smoked salmon, cream cheese, pastries, bread, fruit salads etc! pricy but worth it - just don't eat for a week before!

    1. Sounds gorgeous! Breakfasts can make or break a hotel, can't they?


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