Rating the Hotel Continental Breakfasts

At the Eau Claire Ramada Inn, which has a surprisingly good breakfast for a Ramada.

Being on the road week after week you get to know the differences between free breakfast’s that are served. Most of them are your basic carb heavy offerings of bagels, toast, muffins, cereal, instant oatmeal, and juice. The primo one’s offer up some eggs and either bacon or sausage.

My favorite story of a continental breakfast was at a Super 8 in Kirksville, Missouri. The gig was at a bar called the Golden Spike and it was hooked to a run where you would start in Kirksville, then drive to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and then windup the weekend in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I did this run for Comedy Express a bunch of times and it usually was pretty fun.

Why I mention the whole week is that the Kirksville night and the weekend in St. Cloud you would stay in the 2 dumpiest Super 8’s I’ve ever slept in. The St. Cloud one was run by some people who loved themselves some curry and it would totally overpower you the minute you opened the door. What made this run even more odd was the Thursday in LaCrosse was at a beautiful Radisson, which was the nicest comedy lodging I stayed at during the 90’s.

So the free continental breakfast they had at the Super 8 in Kirksville consisted of orange juice that tasted like watery Tang and a basket filled with Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. Now, I don’t know what continent thinks this is a quality breakfast, but it has to have a lot of 3rd World countries in it. On the subject of Little Debbie and her Oatmeal cream Pies. Deb…even Hostess wouldn’t be duplicitous enough to call these unnatural looking and tasting brown disks PIES.

One of my friends in the comedy biz I contacted to see if he would rate the Hotel free breakfast’s for this site. I chose him because I believe he has made it his life’s work studying this subject.  His diligence to his pursuit has had him keeping a set of room keys to many of the top hotels, so he could walk across the street from the one’s he was staying at to enjoy the pleasures of top-notch offering. Hey people, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  He will go unnamed as I believe some states are very tough on breakfast bandits who steal Yoplaits and Pop Tarts from hotels continental offerings.

From Scott’s Unnamed Comic Friend and 5-star Michelin Rated Continental Breakfast Critic

Like anybody else who travels extensively as part of their job, comedians spend A LOT of nights in motels.  But unlike most of those people, we don’t really have a huge checklist of things we need in a motel to make us happy…………….or at least content for the evening.  A nice bed, decent cable, a good shower, and possibly a place to do laundry is about all we need to survive.  Oh yeah, and a good breakfast in the morning is a BIG plus, too!!  If you can get a good breakfast in the morning, you are usually set for most of the day, and if you can get some sort of discount from the place you are performing that night on lunch or dinner, you can save quite a bit of money while you’re out there on the road……………which is obviously even more important with the ridiculous rise of gas prices at the moment.

                        As a guy who has had the opportunity to have stayed at just about every hotel/motel chain in the country at this point, I have had the opportunity to “sample” all of their breakfasts at one time or another. So here is a helpful guide to somebody who might be choosing a place to stay in the near future………………or might want to “sneak” into a hotel after a long night to re-fill their tank, and aren’t quite happy with their own accommodations  🙂
                       5)    Super 8, Days Inn, Microtel Inn   
                              As a general rule these places are at the bottom of the list……….C- or D+ at best.  They have to put out something in the morning because it says “continental breakfast” in their brochures, and it usually looks that way in the morning.  They usually have some English Muffins, some sort of fruit, possibly cereal and some juice………but that is about it.  I usually bring an empty Gatorade bottle of some sort with me when I travel and just usually fill that up with juice there in the morning, then head over to McDonalds or Denny’s.  The wild-card here is the Days Inn, as I’ve stayed at some nice ones that do have a decent breakfast, but that is about 10% of the time.
                         4)  Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Baymont Inn, Quality Inn, La Quinta Inn, AmericaInn
                               These 6 are usually pretty decent, as I would give them a C to C+. Their breakfasts vary from hotel to hotel, but they usually have cereal, oatmeal, coffee, fruit, 2 or 3 types of juice, muffins, and occasionally eggs and bacon or sausage.  Definitely enough to have a nice meal before you head out in the morning.  Of course with these you’re getting up into the $60 to $70 dollar a night range, so it would make sense they would have something decent out there.
                         3)   Country Inn
                                This one is also a “wild card” as I have stayed at some that had great breakfast selections, and also some that weren’t so great, so I’m going to give them a B grade.  Most have a variety of juices, cereal, eggs and bacon, muffins, and yogurt…………..which is important to me, as that is breakfast staple of mine.
                          2)  Hampton Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn, Springhill Suites
                           You’re getting into serious breakfast territory here, as I would give all of these places B+ to A- grades.  They all usually have yogurt, fruit, several types of coffee and juices, muffins and pastries, cereal, oatmeal, both hard-boiled and cooked eggs, bacon or sausage, and a big bonus…………………waffle machines with whipped cream and fruit topping!!  The Fairfield Inn usually has wrapped Jimmy Dean Sausage and Egg biscuits, and individual fruit cups, too, so you can even take some of those with you…………..just in case you get hungry later.  Of course most of these places are going to run you around $80 to $100 bucks a night, but their morning selections make it a little more worth it.
                        1)  Embassy Suites.
                             I’ve only stayed at a few of these during my career–probably because they’re usually over $100 bucks a night–but their breakfasts are top notch………..definitely an A.  They have all the selections of the #2 motels, plus they have a chef there in the morning to whip you up an omelette, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, or just about any other breakfast food you could desire.  Usually a large dining area, too, which is always a plus if you’re big star like me and don’t want to be bothered  lol
                           There you have it kids!!  The 5-Star Guide to morning cuisine at some of the finest lodging spots in the country.  Happy Dining!!
Thanks to my friend for his very in-depth review. He’s not a pastry guy, so let me offer up this. The quality of donut’s and danish’s have went downhill in the past 5 years.  Holiday Inn Express was smart to sell themselves on their cinnamon rolls. They smell and look great, but to be truthful, they don’t taste as good as you would think. I still can’t stop myself from eating a couple, but I never feel good about it afterwards.  It’s kind of like Holiday Inn Express cinnamon rolls are the tranny’s of breakfast food.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s