What Is Complimentary Breakfast In Hotels? (Is It Free?)

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If you’ve ever booked a hotel room before, you may have seen the term “complimentary breakfast” pop up during your search.

What does this mean, and is it worth it to look for a hotel that offers this service?

This blog post will explain more about complimentary breakfasts, what they are, how they are offered, and why you’d probably like to have one during your next stay!

What Is A Complimentary Breakfast?

The term “complimentary” means that the breakfast is free, and included during your stay. It can be either continental or full service. There may be exceptions to this depending on certain hotel policies, but it’s usually offered as a courtesy for guests who have paid for their room at the hotel.

Complimentary breakfast is often offered as a way to entice guests to stay at a certain hotel.

It’s usually advertised as one of the benefits of choosing that particular property over others in the area.

I would highly recommend taking advantage of the complimentary breakfast at your hotel as it’s usually a great way to start your day.

On to of that, you’ll save some money on food as well which you get to spend on more important things while on vacation!

In the United States, a complimentary breakfast typically includes light morning meal options like fresh fruit, fruit juice, and pastries or bread products (and of course fresh coffee!).

Some hotels may offer a complimentary hot breakfast buffet that includes hot food items like scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage.

There may also be customizable options available, such as a make-your-own waffle station or a build-your-own yogurt parfait bar.

Elite status members, such as World of Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy members, may have access to additional breakfast options, such as a complimentary continental breakfast or a pre-made cheese omelet.

Some high-end hotels may even offer a full English breakfast, whole-wheat bagel or black pudding.

It’s important to note that hotel buffets may have different food items available depending on the time of day and room temperature.

As a complimentary breakfast is a celebrated experience, it’s a popular option for travelers and a great way to save money on food during a hotel stay.

What Is Included In A Complimentary Breakfast?

Complimentary breakfast can be offered in a few ways. The most common way that hotels offer it is through a buffet breakfast. This usually includes items like cereal, oatmeal, toast, bagels, muffins, pastries, yogurt, fruit, cheese, and coffee or tea.

The best part about a complimentary breakfast is that it’s usually all-you-can-eat. That means you can try out lots of different items and not have to worry about the cost.

Some hotels will also have a menu available for guests to order from, so if you have a more specific taste they can accommodate it.

However it is important to know that the opportunity to order from a menu is certainly not the case at every hotel and is more often a service offered by hotels in the higher price range.

What is Complimentary Hot Breakfast?

A hot complimentary breakfast is a breakfast that is offered by a hotel free of charge to its guests. The breakfast is often served in the restaurant or in a designated area. The items offered can vary but typically include cereal, toast, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit.

The difference between a hot and a ‘regular’ complimentary breakfast is that the hot breakfast will usually include warm items.

The exact items that are served during a hot breakfast may defer per hotel, but usually a continental hot breakfast is served along with an egg dish, pancakes, bacon, and sausage.

If you can, choose a hotel that serves a complimentary ‘hot’ or ‘full’ breakfast as this will definitely make your stay more enjoyable.

A more simple complimentary breakfast may solely contain some toast, coffee and tea, cereal, cheese, jelly and a piece of fruit.

Check with the hotel of your choice if you want to make sure what type of breakfast is served and what’s included.

What Hotels Have Complimentary Breakfast?

Most large hotel chains tend to offer a complimentary breakfast to their guests. Some of the most popular chains that usually offer this perk are Marriott, Hilton, IHG (Holiday Inn), and Wyndham. However, there are many smaller hotels that also offer complimentary breakfast.

If you’re looking for a hotel that offers this service, you can check out a hotel booking website like www.booking.com as this is often stated along with the hotel information.

I would always recommend checking the hotel’s website or contacting them directly if you want to make sure what type of breakfast is included during your stay as this may defer per location.

Can You Take Complimentary Breakfast To Your Room?

Some hotels will allow you to take the complimentary breakfast items back to your room, while others do not. Be sure to ask when making your reservation if this is something that is important to you. Some hotels may not appreciate taking food back to your room without asking.

If you’re already in the hotel, the reception desk should be able to tell you whether this is an option or not.

If you’re not sure, it can’t hurt to ask!

What Time Does Complimentary Breakfast Start?

Complimentary, or free breakfast, for hotel guests often starts around six or seven in the morning. However, this can vary depending on the hotel and what time their breakfast buffet ends. It is best advised to ask the hotel when making your reservation.

Rush hour usually starts at around eight or nine in the morning and ends about 10 or eleven (depending on the day of the week and the hotel).

So if you’re looking to avoid the crowds I would recommend getting down to the breakfast area before then.

How Much To Tip For Complimentary Breakfast

Even though it is not expected, many guests still choose to tip their waitstaff for providing them with a complimentary breakfast. The customary amount is usually around $1- $5 per person. However around 1-2 dollars is generally fine and highly appreciated.

When the breakfast is served in buffet style, tipping is not something that is expected, as the waitstaff usually doesn’t provide table service.

Deciding whether and how much to tip does also depend on the country you are visiting.

In some countries like Japan, tipping is not customary at all and can even be taken as an insult.

It is therefore always a good idea to do a bit of research about the local tipping etiquette before you go visit a specific country.

While there is no set rule of thumb for tipping hotel staff for a complimentary breakfast, it is generally appreciated to leave a small tip for the server or attendant who assists you.

What Is The Difference Between Complimentary And Continental Breakfast?

If you are given breakfast as part of your stay at a hotel, then it is complimentary which means it is included in the price. The term “continental breakfast” usually refers to a type of breakfast that may have pastries, cereal, yogurt, and fruit. Sometimes there might be meat or cheese as well.

A complimentary breakfast can be a continental breakfast, but it can also be a full breakfast which additionally contains hot items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes.

It just depends on the hotel you are staying at so it is always best to ask what is included.

Other Questions You May Have

Are there gluten-free options available for a complimentary breakfast?

Many hotels now offer gluten-free options for their complimentary breakfast, such as gluten-free bread or muffins.

Are there customizable options available for a complimentary breakfast? 

A lot of hotels have customizable options for their complimentary breakfast, such as a place to make your own waffles or a smoothie bar.

Are there any additional costs associated with a complimentary breakfast? 

A complimentary breakfast is included in the room rate and does not have any additional costs. However, guests may be required to pay sales tax on the meal.

In Conclusion

Quite simply, complimentary breakfast means that you’ll be able to enjoy breakfast at the hotel free of charge when you have booked a hotel room.

Varying per hotel, the breakfast may be served in the hotel restaurant or in a designated breakfast area.

It is best advised to ask the hotel when making your reservation whether complimentary breakfast is included and what items are included in their breakfast.

Many large hotel chains offer a complimentary breakfast to their guests and smaller hotels are starting to do the same.

The time for complimentary breakfast generally starts at six or seven in the morning and goes until around ten or eleven.

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is customary to tip around 2 dollars per person when the breakfast has table service.

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