Kimberly Button skips breakfast most of the time. On vacation, however, the hotel breakfast buffet can be a real highlight.

The oatmeal bar is her favorite, as she transforms plain grains with a variety of toppings, including chocolate chips, coconut flake, and berries. She sometimes grabs fruit to bring with her, and she enjoys it throughout the day.

Waffles are $15 per person at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. For stays at non-Disney properties like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Kissimmee, waffles are available as part of the complimentary breakfast buffet.

“I have eaten at many hotel breakfasts, but Orlando’s breakfasts are the most busy I’ve ever seen,” says Button of the Wanderful World of Travel blog. “Why would you ?”

Save time, money and energy

According to the Hilton 2023 Trends Report, Complimentary Breakfast is the most popular search filter on Hilton’s site.

For families and larger groups, a free breakfast can save you money. If you pay $25 for brunch, a $100 room can be practically free.

The convenience and time savings are just two of the benefits. There’s no need to worry about finding the right cafe and then waiting on a long wait list after paying for a cab. You don’t have to debate which restaurant or what entree you should order. You won’t feel deprived while you wait for your jet-lagged friends to get up.

Free breakfast is not all it seems

However, some hotels offer mediocre breakfasts. Some hotels offer free breakfast, while others are quite mediocre.

Vered DeLeeuw worked as a flight attendant for seven years and is now a blogger about healthy recipes. She has been to many hotel buffets. She avoids pastries and eats low carb. She has vowed to eat bland eggs and greasy sausages. She once tried hard-boiled eggs, but found fuzzy green mold everywhere.

She says, “As you might imagine, that incident turned my off for good.”

Many big hotel brands are changing their breakfast offerings to increase their appeal.

More flexibility

Hotels are reducing the number of breakfast buffets that have been left out for too long. They’re instead giving credit to guests for made-to-order meals.

This is the case for Hilton elite members. Hilton elites, who used to be entitled to free breakfast, now get a food credit and a beverage credit at certain properties. Hilton claims it has received positive feedback, mainly from customers who value more flexibility and control over their food choices. Intermittent fasts can eat as they please, while those who aren’t carb-free can swap out a pastry for protein.

Annie Jones, owner of luxury travel agency Telos Travel, says that “plus, the quality is usually elevated.” It also means that there are many options, such as grab-and-go .”

More options available for people with dietary restrictions

The 2023 Hilton Trend Survey cited an increase in demand for healthier, animal-free alternatives such as alternative milks.

The company has also begun to embrace customization, which makes it easier to accommodate people with special diets. Some properties even offer the ability to create your own breakfast bowls. This includes a base of yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal, and toppings such as granola, coconut, or pumpkin seeds.

Get Discounts on Dining

In 2023, hotel prices are much higher than they were before the pandemic. If you are looking for lodging savings, it is possible to look beyond the sticker price and find deals on food that can be saved on lodging — even in hotels that do not offer breakfast.

Walt Disney World offers a unique deal that allows guests to stay at Disney-owned hotels on certain dates in the summer to receive credits of $35 to $150 per night for up to five nights. This is depending on the date and type of room. The credit card can be used to purchase credits at participating restaurants in the Walt Disney World Resort.

$35 could easily cover breakfast for two at a counter-service-style restaurant. A buffet dinner for two at Ohana, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort costs $150. You have the option of pineapple-coconut bread with all-you can eat, Hawaiian-style Ham with Pineapple Compote, and Mickey-shaped Waffles.

This article is by NerdWallet. It was originally published in The Associated Press.

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