When traveling, free breakfast buffets can sustain you all day if need be.
I recently hit the road on a National Tour of Christmas Wonderland to dance and spread Christmas cheer with 17 shows over a three week period. During the tour, I stayed in eight hotels as well as a week at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, and you better believe I hit every single breakfast buffet with Tupperware at the ready in my ever going quest to frugally maximize savings!
I filled up in the morning on the hotline eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal and whatever else that was best served warm, snagged a couple yogurts for lunch, and saved the breads for a to-go peanut butter sandwich for diner. I always was sure to grab fruit and cereal boxes as snacks for long bus rides to avoid pricey gas stations, and ultimately managed to avoid quite a bit of extra spending.
Here’s the run-down of what the complementary breakfasts had to offer!
Comfort Inn, Lexington KY
The breakfast at the Comfort Inn in Lexington, KY was exactly what you’d expect from a free hotel breakfast. The hot food line sported typical southern fare with bacon, scrambled eggs, and biscuits with gravy on the side which I unfortunately mistook for oatmeal. The oatmeal turned out to be in packets to the left next to the cereal station that had special K, frosted flakes, and cheerios. There was also toaster with various breads, muffins, and bagels as well as a fridge with hardboiled eggs and Chobani yogurt. A highlight was the waffle maker… always a hotel breakfast hit.
While the buffet had a descent amount of options, the food wasn’t particularly fresh. But hey, when it’s free, you take it!
Radisson, Davenport, Iowa
The Radisson offered a breakfast buffet for $11 along side an al a carte menu with omelets and breakfast platters that were just shy of $10. As to why anyone would go a la carte over buffet is beyond my frugal brain’s comprehension. I opted for a cup of subpar hot oatmeal for $3.50. It was rather bland, but got the job done in providing energy for the day ahead. The woman was kind enough to give me free hot water for my French press, meaning I saved $2 on what I’m sure was bad hotel coffee.
Holiday Inn Express, Bethlehem, PA
I was pleasantly surprised with the free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express. They offered all the standards including different types of breads, fruit, scrambled eggs, sausage, turkey sausage, oatmeal, yogurt, little egg white omelets and hard boiled eggs, all of which were prepared well. Then they kicked it up a notch with a cinnamon roll station as well as a pancake conveyor belt, a cooking appliance I had never seen before. Pressing start would dispense two piles of batter onto a conveyor belt that cooked the pancakes before being dropped out on the other side. While they tasted like any other pancake, the gadget and experience were highly entertaining.
Best Western, Warren, OH
Very little energy was put into the complimentary breakfast at the Best Western in Warren. Unnaturally bright eggs and small rounds of sausage were the only hot items offered and the other options were limited to a few types of cereal, standard breads, and small sugary Yoplait yogurt cups. Hard boiled eggs didn’t appear until 2 days in, and the “fun” components involved a conveyor belt pancake maker like the one at the Holiday Inn as well as an oatmeal machine. I ate the free breakfast, but would have preferred the $4 avocado toast next store at Nova Coffee.
Baymont Inn, Henderson, NC
While waiting to check in at 2am after a bus ride from Atlantic City, I was already excited to see a mini fridge with packages of hard boiled eggs and yogurt. After a week of terrible mess hall food, my stomach needed some change. Six hours later, and I set out to see what the Baymont Inn complimentary breakfast had to offer. There was a hot bar with eggs, bacon, and two types of sausage next to an array of breads already packed in a zip lock bag, Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, all varieties of packaged oatmeal, cereal, and a waffle iron. I had a piece of sausage and four hardboiled eggs, topped with some hot sauce out of convenient to-go packets as well as a bowl of plain oatmeal.
I snagged a peanut butter sandwich, 4 more hard boiled eggs, yogurt, a muffin, and two packages of oatmeal for later.
The Baymont Inn certainly offers a solid breakfast buffet that does not disappoint!
The Baymont Inn, Columbia, SC
I was hopeful that breakfast at the Baymont Inn in Columbia would be better than the tacky interior of dated carpets and haphazardly placed arcade games. Not to mention, the Baymont Inn in Columbia was fantastic. Alas, it was not. There was no sausage or bacon, just brightly colored scrambled eggs, alongside your standard toast and cereal selections. There was a refrigerator with Yoplait yogurt and milk, oatmeal packets, and a mini waffle maker. It was far from wowing, and there wasn’t even a bowl of apples and bananas. The best part was the hot water I used for my French Press.
Fairfield Inn and Suites, Plant City, FL
The breakfast at Fairfield in Plant City was top notch. The hotline had egg omelets, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage as well as piping hot oatmeal with walnuts, raisins, almonds, brown sugar and dates as mix ins. They also offered cereals, breads, and yogurt alongside a waffle iron with syrup, sugar free syrup, and even agave. The highlight for me was the bar with grapes, strawberries, pineapple, apples, bananas, and my favorite… hard boiled eggs! A nice man in charge of restocking the food was attentive, and I even spotted him testing the temperature of the eggs.
This complimentary breakfast serves up everything you need to get a filing, nutritious start to the day.
The Ramada Inn, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Score: N/A I’ll give The Ramada Inn the benefit of the doubt on this one…..
Waking up to a 5am text saying, “the airport is closed”, was not the ideal way to start my travel day home to Virginia. The night’s massive rainstorm had flooded the runways, but by 6am the airport was reopened, and my flight only had a slight delay; there was hope. I headed to the free buffet to fuel up, and apparently the kitchen flooded as well, resulting in the breakfast options looking rather bleak. There were no eggs, sausage, or bacon, and the choices were limited to toasted bread, donuts, or cereal. In their defense, cooking probably isn’t an option when you have to trudge through a foot of water.
My journeys across the USA made for an adventure of a lifetime. It was my first time doing a full length 2 hour production, and that sensation of finishing a number with my arms in a high V, feet in a beveled position, looking up to the top tier with the lights beaming down on my face and 2,000 people roaring is a feeling like no other. I’ve seen so many shows where I sit in the audience trying to feel what those performers are feeling, and now I know that it surpasses what I imagined.
One chapter has come to an end, and I can’t wait to see what will be next! Stay tuned 🙂
Bonus Tip! Want to spice up your breakfast buffet a bit? Check out these hot cocoa mix hacks!