How do you do hotel breakfast?

I’m not going to lie, I like to sleep. When I’m traveling I often arrive to my hotel late at night, so will sleep as late as possible the next day. But of course, I still need breakfast! I will often order room service and then jump in the shower. In the back of my mind I know there’s always the slight possibility that my food will come before I’m out, but in almost seven years of doing this that has never happened. Until today!! I was almost done, and I totally heard a knock on the door. After slapping off the water, I called out, “Just a minute!” while throwing on clothes. It was pretty obvious that I had just jumped out of the shower as I answered the door with water running down my face. Oy.

It got me curious—how do other people have breakfast in hotels? Do you put that card out on your door the night before? Or go down to the restaurant? Do you always stay places with a free hot breakfast? If you order room service, do you ever try to get crazy stuff done before they arrive with your food? Or am I the only one who tries to fit too much in…..

In other news, my breakfast of banana bread French toast was AMAZING.


  1. My company changed its policies within the last year, and now we are forced to take off 1/3 from our per diem if the hotel has breakfast included! It’s part of the system when you enter your expenses. It’s frustrating to lose options – can’t order room service or go out unless you want to cut into your lunch/dinner budget, but I understand the policy. It does mean I’m forced to get (almost) entirely ready & down to the hotel restaurant by about 6:30 in the morning if I’m to be settled at my temporary desk before the 8am meeting. Ugh…

  2. I usually head down to the restaurant for breakfast. But your post has me thinking about getting room service when it is reasonably priced. I can leave the card on the door the night before and time it to when i wake up. Would feel pretty awesome waking up to fresh food delivered to your room. I shower mainly at night so i usually wake up, brush teeth and out the door i go.

    I usually eat a lot so i would probably try it in places with favorable exchange rates (China, for example).

  3. Just came back from Secrets Huatulco and they had a “secrets box”. It was similar to a dumbwaiter. If you left the privacy light on they would deliver room service to your secrets box. It was great not only for privacy but leaving the dishes after we were done. It was an all inclusive resort so we didn’t have to sign for anything and we just left the tip in the box. Here’s a picture from another Secrets resort. Brilliant idea, I wish more all inclusives had this.

  4. I also agree with yasmara’s frustration. We do not have such restrictions as we do not get a per diem unless you travel for longer than 30 days but I never thought about ordering room service since i expected to be too expensive. In the one hotel I checked in China, even dinner (two entrees as they do run small relative to american portions) was reasonably priced.

    Especially when you’re on the road, sometimes you need to be at the restaurant when they open (5:30 or 6am) to get to the customer/client at 8am. I once had to be at a customer for a meeting at 7:30am. That was nuts.

  5. I would never order hotel breakfast, especially not room service – it would consume half of my daily allotment for employee meals! I’m also not a big breakfast eater. So I’ll buy the biggest coffee I can get and a plain yogurt (if I’m working at a corporate office) or venti coffee and yogurt parfait from Starbucks (if I’m not).

  6. I always travel with a colapseable cooler. So I go to the grocery store and buy yogurt with the granola to put in it. That is normally my breakfast. Taking away 1/3 of your per diem if the hotel offers breakfast is kind of excessive. It is the cheapest meal of the day to buy in most areas. If they take away per diem I don’t think it should be more than 10 dollars.

    I always ask the hotel front desk clerk where they like to eat out that is reasonable with good food. I’ve found some amazing restaurant by doing that.

  7. What kind of per diems do you ladies get? I have $35/day for food. Yikes! So, yeah, I always eat the free breakfast (or an Atkins bar or something).

  8. Room service in many countries has been reasonable. In vietnam spent less than 20$ for 2pax for dinner and less for breakfast… Both including 15% tip and delivery at Branded resorts.

  9. I do hotel breakfast by removing the bacon pan from the breakfast buffet and sitting down at a table and eat it…all.

  10. I’m not much of a breakfast eater, but I NEED coffee. I have gotten so used to the in-room coffee machines that I think it’s a crime when a hotel doesn’t have them. Other than that, I might look for a bagel or muffin on my way to my meeting.

  11. Breakfast is the key meal of the day for me because I’m off and running when I travel. I make a point to have a good breakfast, (poached eggs, oatmeal, fruit and nuts, plus loads of coffee), either via room service or in the hotel restaurant. I make up the difference in cost with a much lighter lunch and/or dinner. But when I travel, breakfast is a priority, and time constraints mean I do room service often. And yes, I work to time it with my shower!

  12. I like to prepare a simple breakfast myself with grocery store bought items. Fruit, a muffin or scone and juice. An in-room coffee maker and fridge are definite bonuses that make the whole thing much easier.

  13. To clarify, my per diem is supposed to be only for breakfast & dinner. So taking away 1/3 for breakfast leaves the rest for dinner.

    Now, I happen to think that this is an incredibly stupid policy. The rationale is that when at work, employees are responsible for their own lunches, so the company doesn’t want to pay for lunch while on the road. I just don’t get it. After all, I’m also responsible for eating breakfast & dinner at home too, right?

    It’s not like I can pack a lunch from home when I’m on the road & although I’ve been known to hit the grocery store for some items when traveling (i.e., bottled water when the local water tastes bad), it can be inconvenient or even impossible depending on if I have a rental car, etc.

    My per diem varies depending on the city, but in the city I visit most often (small market), it’s around $36 if I’m remembering correctly.

    As an aside, the new(ish) policy also pro-rates your per diem based on travel time – so, if your flight to your destination from home is after 10am, your breakfast is deducted from the per diem for that day. Similarly, if you arrive back home before 5pm, you have no dinner per diem for that day.

  14. I will normally go down and get my breakfast at 6:30 to 7 AM in the morning due to my clients wanting me to start work at around 7:30 to 8:00 AM. My company has a $30 a day policy starting from either when you pick up your rental car or if you are driving your own car, at midnight.

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