Including both vacations and business travel, a calculator is required to add up all the hotel breakfasts I’ve consumed in my life, and of those thousands, there are only three stand-outs. Caneel Bay Plantation in the Virgin Islands serves the freshest fruit on earth along with a hummingbird that hovers above the raw sugar bowl. Hotel de France in Vienna, Austria serves a piping hot Gulaschsuppe amidst its lavish buffet and is the only way to begin a snowy day spent hiking down through the Wienerwald. Lastly, there is the Ritz Carlton on Shanghai, China that, goodness knows how, renders up the most perfect bacon in either hemisphere.
The other side of this coin distinguishes itself, for the most part, with plastic cutlery and barely edible microwaved eggs and grey sausage patties. One does a quick U-turn past the yogurt cooler and grabs an indifferent cup of brown liquid casually named “coffee” before heading out to a busy and challenging day. One learns quickly to have no expectations when it comes to the hotel breakfast and thus is never disappointed.
Imagine my surprise earlier this week while staying at a Sheraton in Herndon, Virginia and discovering that the silverware was actually made of metal, the coffee was Starbucks and the orange juice both fresh and properly chilled. My stony face at 6:45 a.m. started to relax into a smile, especially when the bread turned out to be top-shelf and the toaster in proper working order. Big delights continued with a chafing dish offering up corned beef hash and poached eggs, crispy and soft and delectably savory. Three thumbs up for this hotel breakfast and the first thing I did when I got home was to reprise the whole thing!