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5 Reasons Why U.S. Luxury Hotels Don't Provide Complimentary Breakfast With Your Room.


You're paying $425 a night for a hotel room at a five star hotel and no free breakfast? 3 star hotels give it away, why not five stars? It is not uncommon for four and five star hotels to charge (high) room rates and not offer complimentary breakfast. There are five main reasons for this. While this might seem unreasonable considering two and three star hotels usually include breakfast, the logic behind the decision makes perfect sense, at least to hotel management.

  1. I went over to Hotels.com and did a hotel search for 5 star hotels under $425 in Washington D.C. yesterday. Two options appeared with 11 hotels sold out. A search for 4 star hotels between $390 and $425 gave me 5 hotel options with 108 hotels sold out. This tells me that the Capitol city is experiencing high demand so room rates are being maximized (they’re high) with no benefits

  2. Five star hotels and most four star hotels do not include breakfast unless you purchase a package deal that includes it and packages are not offered when high occupancy is forecasted. Again, management wants to maximize revenue and not give anything away when they do not need to.

  3. Five star hotels and most four star hotels prepare their food from scratch (five star hotels always, four star hotels mostly) and that means food costs are higher and there are more employees in the back of the house (receiving clerk, cooks, stewarding, etc) and front of the house (manager, server, busser, hostess) to pay than a two/three star hotel. That one cook/server/busser at the three star can easily make powdered scrambled eggs quickly or have waffle mix available where the guest has to make their own. The plates are stryofoam or paper and utensils sometimes plastic. They also clear/clean the tables and throw away the plates which mean there is no need to employ a dishwasher.

  4. Competition dictates it for two and three star hotels. The budget or moderate hotels have little to offer or differentiate from each other. For instance, when I was on the road traveling, I liked staying at Holiday Inn Express b/c their rooms were updated and beds/pillows very comfortable, but their complimentary breakfasts and coffee are served on/in stryofoam. Stryofoam??? Really???? Who still uses that? While the Hampton Inn had dated rooms, beds/pillows not as comfortable but they use cardboard plates which were more sturdy (and they aren’t stryofoam). Country Inn uses china (plates) with silverware and coffee mugs. If any one of these three did not offer breakfast, I would not stay there which is why I never stay at Marriott Courtyard. Now, some four star hotels offer a complimentary buffet breakfast to have a hand up over the competition, but you will rarely if ever see a complimentary breakfast at a five star unless it is a part of a package deal.

  5. Because they don’t have to. This is the bottom line. If you can afford to stay at a five star hotel, you can afford breakfast and price does not factor into the decision for anything at the property. Look at the Four Seasons chain for example. According to the 2017 Four Seasons Press Kit, the average guest’s:

  • Net worth is $4 million

  • Average income is $550,000 p/yr

  • 61% have a Graduate Degree

  • Stay 51 nights of the year at a Four Season

  • 79% fly either First Class or Business Class (26%/53%)

These are staggering figures to most of us. I remember a guest I once checked in at 11:30pm for one night and asked for a 5:30am wake up call. His rate was $425. He could have stayed anywhere and easily of saved $300.

Five Star Hotels DO Offer Regular Buffet Breakfast:

Yes, the luxury hotels do offer a buffet, it’s just not daily (generally speaking). You can count on a very good Sunday buffet which is traditionally done. Also major holidays such as Easter and Mother’s Day.

Fun Fact:

There are two main plans of service that properties use, The American Plan and The European Plan:

  • American Plan includes room, tax, breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • European Plan includes room and tax only

(boy! I had to stretch my memory back for that fun fact to Hotel 101 in college)

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