Buffet Breakfast Wars: Uncovered!

One of the things I was most excited about on my solo-travel adventure was – and I’m aware of just how tragic this will sound – the hotel buffet breakfasts. What can I say? I’m a sucker for multiple breakfast dining options.

I’d booked each hotel room with the buffet included in the package, so I was definitely all about getting my money’s worth – in other words, eating way more than is normal/comfortable, and squirreling away a few items for later. It’s like a weird compulsion I have – no matter how full I am and regardless of whether I even want it, I have to sneak something away with me, wrapped up carefully in a napkin or slipped into a handbag. It’s my secret shame.

Anyway, I’d decided in advance that I would rate each breakfast and then declare one city (or, at least, one particular hotel’s fare representative of that city) the Overall Breakfast Buffet Champion. It’s true. I really know how to have fun.

First up: Munich (Hotel Cocoon)

Breakfast room at Hotel Cocoon

Munich meats & cheeses

Munich cakes, pastries & breads

Pumperknickel and cheese, yes please!

A fine assortment of stolen buffet goods

And the ratings breakdown (out of five):

Variety: 4
Quality: 5
Presentation: 5
Local flavour: 4
Ambience: 4

Salzburg (Hotel Elefant)

Hotel Elefant breakfast room

Salzburg spread

A familiar-looking plate of goodies

Variety: 3
Quality: 4
Presentation: 3
Local flavour: 4
Ambience: 4

Venice (Hotel Abbazia)

Venice cakey delights

Meats & cheeses

Boiled eggs in a basket

Look mum, no crusts!

Breakfast of champions

A nice wee meal for later

Variety: 3
Quality: 3
Presentation: 3
Local flavour:
Ambience: 4

Well, clearly, Munich takes the prize. And in all honesty, even before I left Canada I was looking forward to my German breakfast the most, knowing how good my Nana’s spreads are and the German love for all things meaty, cheesy and cakey. Munich scored well for ambience, with the Hotel Cocoon’s breakfast room light, bright and modern, but really it was the beauty of presentation (flourishes of ham! Spirals of cheese!) combined with the variety of selection that did it for me.

Salzburg was at a disadvantage due to its following Munich – it was a pretty hard act to follow, that’s for sure. Though, it did get points for its classy dining room, and the fact that the waiter disappeared often enough for me to sneak away with a full napkin unnoticed.

I appreciated the boiled eggs of Venice (even though eggs make me feel ill so I didn’t actually eat any) and the cute, crust-free bread, ready for toasting. But it lost points with its poor selection of juice, with only grapefruit on offer.

Therefore, congrats go to Munich! I like to think I’ll take inspiration from its amazing spread with my own breakfasts back home. I know my stomach will be expecting a three- to four-course meal each day. Sadly, for the sake of my physical health, I’ll probably have to revert back to porridge, but at least I’ll have the memories …

** Late contender and special mention!

So it wasn’t part of my solo travel, and I’m now a bit further down the road of my big trip, but I just had to include a late contender: Krakow, Poland.

Eden Hotel, which was picked and booked the night we arrived in Krakow, after a quick driving tour of the old town, proved to be a bit of a gem in the brekkie buffet stakes. There wasn’t an ounce of meat in sight (which, in that particular part of Europe, is a feat in itself, and therefore was a welcome change) and instead there were an impressive nine different cheeses on offer!

Nine cheeses to heaven

I can honestly say I never thought I’d get to enjoy nine cheeses as part of one breakfast sitting, so I’m happy to be able to cross that off my bucket list. Thanks Krakow!

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