What’s the Best Hotel Breakfast?

Reader Christian asks,

What are the best breakfast buffets in Asia? In no particular order. Thanks.

I haven’t tried them all of course so I can’t make a claim about which is best. In general,

  • I prefer cooked-to-order breakfast over buffets. But I like lingering over breakfast while on vacation, looking out at a nice view and enjoying several cups of coffee. A sometimes-sterile restaurant where you get up to serve yourself isn’t my number one preference.

  • There are several ways a hotel can improve on a buffet experience.

    1. View
    2. Not being too busy/crowded
    3. Offering good service, make it easy to get frequent coffee/juice refills
    4. Bringing around hot items and pastries which aren’t on the buffet.

  • That said, there are breakfast buffets in Asia serving amazing bounty. You’ll even find generous options in some club lounges in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and further south.

  • If I had to pick a single city where the quality and variety was the greatest I’d pick Kuala Lumpur.

The most impressive breakfast I ever experienced was at the St. Regis Bali two years ago. Back then all guests received complimentary breakfast regardless of rate. That meant even a non-status member would receive free breakfast using points. That’s no longer the case, although this remains an option for Platinums as their amenity of choice (and paid rates often include breakfast).


Caviar


Seared foie gras with eggs


Lobster


Lobster


Sashimi

The breakfast offered oysters and wagyu beef tenderloin as well, plus a full buffet.

One breakfast buffet I especially enjoyed was at the Le Meridien Chiang Rai when the hotel first opened (and fewer than 10 rooms were occupied). I understand it isn’t at the same quality level as it used to be, unfortunately.

Perhaps my single favorite breakfast experience has been at the Park Hyatt Maldives, largely because of high quality food and good coffee trumped by an incredible view and slow pace.

In the US my favorite hotel breakfast, not a buffet, is the Andaz 5th Avenue where Diamonds can order complimentary room service and I can’t imagine not having the lemon poppyseed pancakes.

Although it’s hard to beat the Diamond complimentary room service at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris.

My favorite club lounge breakfast belongs to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for the view and service.

Other notables include the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur and Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (much improved since it first opened).


Club lounge chef at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

For fantastic restaurant breakfasts, a nod has to go to the Park Hyatt Saigon (for the Saigon baguette with grilled pork, pate, pickles, chilies, and mayo) and to the Park Hyatt Siem Reap (for the soups).

The chain that offers the best elite breakfast benefit is unquestionably Hyatt.

  • Marriott doesn’t offer breakfast at resorts or Courtyard properties
  • Starwood’s breakfast is only guaranteed to be continental, and you have to give up your points amenity to get it.
  • Hilton’s breakfast is only guaranteed to be continental
  • IHG doesn’t promise breakfast

Hyatt in contrast offers a full breakfast when there’s no club lounge available for up to 4 registered guests in the room.

Personally I’ll take a good quality restaurant breakfast (not the standard US airport hotel buffet) over a club lounge, foregoing evening options. But for a mediocre restaurant breakfast I’ll prefer the quick service of the lounge.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Hyatt is definitely one of the best (in trying to come up with this list I came up with 4 Hyatts to add), but don’t forget about Four Seasons when staying on a preferred partner rate. I have had some of the most amazing spreads at FS SIN, FS BKK (which is no longer a FS) and FS DEN all are great…and PP rates add NOTHING to the rate you can regularly book.

  2. Just curious – where do you rank the buffet at SGS Bangkok compared to those you mentioned above? My wife and I thought it was pretty solid if not spectatular.

    Have to say though the best breakfast at any resort we’ve experienced was at the Komaneka resorts in Ubud. Unbelievable.

  3. The St Regis Bali is BY FAR the best! I have been to a lot of very good breakfast buffets, and they are several times better than any other I’ve been. I’ll be back there in a couple months and can’t wait to have it again.

  4. Starwood Sheratons and most Westins suck domestically and are typically very over priced
    Bad breakfasts and club lounges with stingy offerings .I’ve stopped staying with them
    W and St Regis satisfactory on average but I’ve moved over to Ritz Carlton (really nice breakfasts)
    Def better overseas for Starwood. They have killed their program by over pricing most of their hotels for point redemption. I stay at Hyatt Ritz,InterCon and even a few Hiltons/Conrad’s over Starwood just to avoid getting ripped off

  5. I have always found let meridians to have great breakfasts. Even in New Orleans, it’s among the best.

  6. Yeah, breakfast is so much better in Asia compared to the US. I am staying at a Courtyard for 2 weeks and a full hot breakfast is included. 🙂

  7. I love breakfast. My top 5:

    1. St Regis Bali
    2. Four Seasons Bangkok
    3. St. Regis Abu Dhabi (the city one, not Saadiyat)
    4. Grosvenor House Dubai
    5. W Hong Kong

  8. Thanks for the response, Gary. My wife and I are looking at Seoul, Bali, Phuket, Bangkok, and Hong Kong in the next 6 months, so I thought some “wow” factor might be a great surprise for her. I’d thought about Hyatt Tsim Sha Tsui, but now may reconsider the Grand Hyatt. Just finished the Diamond challenge, so Hyatt is my first choice for a while.

  9. Dhara Dhevi Chiangmai was spectacular at breakfast. Food and view. Grazing water buffalo and live flute added to the moment.

  10. The breakfast at LeBua State Tower Hotel in Bangkok, although a buffet, is absolutely amazing! Best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had anywhere.

  11. Please! Don’t leave out the Ritz Carlton in Singapore. The most incredible buffet and cooked to order feast all in one.

  12. I’ve only had Sunday brunch at the St. Regis hotel in Bali, but OMG that was amazing.

    Plaza athenee bkk had and awesome breakfast buffet. Like Gary, I like cook to order. These really stood out though.

  13. In the US, the breakfast buffet at the Hyatt Regency at Poipu Beach (Kauai) has been spectacular all three times we have been there. The view doesn’t hurt, not to mention the mountains of perfectly cut-up gorgeous fresh fruit.

  14. St Regis in Bangkok used to be the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen – a mixture of Asian and continental foods with omelet stations and custom soup station, incredible variety of exotic fruits, delicious breads. Service was great and the view over the racecourse was nice. On our last visit, we were disappointed to find they had cut back on the sushi and several other Asian foods. Hopefully that was an aberration.

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