Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? It definitely is for major hotel chains across the country!
Many economy and midscale hotels nationwide have been improving their complimentary breakfasts recently because customers are demanding a fresh and healthy start to their day.
Read more: The best and worst hotel chains in America
Top U.S. hotel chains that offer free breakfast
Think about it this way: It can easily cost $40 for a family of four on vacation to get a traditional American breakfast at a Denny’s or IHOP. By including breakfast in the room rate, the hotels on our list are providing guests on a budget with one less thing to worry about.
Although what’s on the menu will vary by hotel, we’ve noticed a few trends. First, the days of just setting out hot coffee and a few pastries are mostly over. Many of the hotels that offer complimentary breakfast are serving hot items, from eggs and bacon to waffles and pancakes.
There’s also a push to add more nutritious items to the breakfast buffet, including fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and oatmeal. Some hotels are increasing the number of breakfast choices for people on restricted diets by adding gluten-free and non-dairy milk options.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a high-protein Paleo diet or counting points on Weight Watchers, the best hotel breakfast spreads will have something for everyone.
Which hotel chain is your #1 pick for a free breakfast? Share your thoughts after reading our list!
Read more: Clark’s hotel booking guide
The majority of the 11 brands from Choice Hotels, including Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites, offer free breakfast. The most notable thing about Comfort’s breakfast is probably the waffles, which may include flavors like blueberry, chocolate and cinnamon. In addition to traditional eggs and bacon, Comfort also has a number of healthy options: whole fruits, Greek yogurt and oatmeal — just to name a few.
Here are the other Choice brands that offer some type of free breakfast:
- Sleep Inn: Full hot breakfast
- Quality Inn: Full hot breakfast
- Clarion: Complimentary breakfast at many locations
- MainStay Suites: Continental breakfast with oatmeal station
- Econo Lodge: Continental breakfast
Breakfast just got an upgrade at Hyatt Place hotels. Guests can now choose from themed breakfast bowls or Greek yogurt parfaits. Here’s a sneak peek at the menu that’s new for 2017:
Classic American Bowl: Cage-free eggs, all-natural bacon or sausage, and a sweet side of pancakes or waffles (available Saturday-Monday)
Southern Comfort Bowl: Cage-free eggs topped with southern skillet potatoes, sausage gravy and hot sauce (available Tuesday)
Little Italy Bowl: Cage-free eggs topped with roasted Parmesan potatoes, all-natural sausage links and tomato bruschetta (available Wednesday)
California Dreamin’ Bowl: Cage-free eggs topped with ancient grain and kale blend, all-natural bacon and avocado salsa (available Thursday)
Burrito Bowl: Cage-free eggs topped with roasted corn and black beans, oven-roasted sausage and potatoes, salsa and lime crema (available Friday)
Bananas Foster Parfait: Oikos nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt topped with bananas Foster compote and caramel (available Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Tangy Berry Bliss Parfait: Oikos nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt topped with berry compote and French toast croutons (available Tuesday and Thursday)
Also part of the Hyatt family, the Hyatt House brand introduced an “Omelet of the Day” to enhance its made-to-order omelet bar. Fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal and Greek yogurt round out the offering.
Country Inns & Suites By Carlson
Most hotels serve their breakfast on disposable plates, but Country Inns & Suites uses classic dining ware. The chain features two hot entrees that rotate every day, plus a selection of pastries, cereals, oatmeal and fruit.
Here are some of the hot entrees that are on the rotating menu:
- Create your own omelet
- Biscuits and gravy
- French toast
- Eggs Benedict
- Bacon, eggs and toast
- Breakfast burrito
The La Quinta Inn & Suites and La Quinta Inn brands both start your day with a free breakfast. The former appears to have a little more to choose from.
La Quinta Inn & Suites: Scrambled eggs (most locations) and hard boiled eggs, a rotation of bacon and sausage, a selection of hot and cold cereals, yogurt, seasonal fresh fruit, fresh-made waffles, muffins, pastries and breads. Some locations also serve potatoes and biscuits with gravy.
La Quinta Inns: Hard boiled eggs, a selection of hot and cold cereals, yogurt, seasonal fresh fruit, fresh-made waffles, muffins, pastries and breads.
InterContinental Hotels Group
Holiday Inn Express guests wake up to the Express Start Breakfast Bar every morning. Some of the items available include egg white omelets, breakfast meats, yogurt, cereals and pancakes from its one-touch pancake machine. In addition, the hotel chain is partnering with Cinnabon for an exclusive cinnamon bun recipe.
Another IHG brand, Staybridge Suites, also has a complimentary hot breakfast buffet with a variety of fresh and healthy items.
A handful of Hilton’s brands serve complimentary breakfast for all guests. Tru by Hilton’s “Top It” breakfast is one of the more unique concepts. It features 30 toppings — from granola to marshmallows — to help you create a morning masterpiece.
Here are Hilton’s free breakfast highlights:
Home2 Suites by Hilton: There are over 400 breakfast combinations to choose from! Options include a variety of cereals, artisan breakfast sandwiches, waffles, oatmeal, grits, yogurt and plenty of toppings.
Tru by Hilton: The “Top It” breakfast features 30 sweet and savory toppings. Breakfast foods include bagels, donuts, yogurt, granola, hard-boiled eggs and oatmeal.
Hampton by Hilton: Enjoy a hot breakfast every day with fresh-baked waffles and hearty oatmeal with toppings. For guests in a rush, Hampton by Hilton offers free breakfast bags for a healthy meal to-go.
Homewood Suites by Hilton: Breakfast includes something new each day, from hot meals like eggs, bacon and potatoes, to quick grab-and-go snacks like fruits and pastries.
Canopy by Hilton: This delicious artisanal breakfast is made with fresh ingredients and local produce. It’s served in the hotel cafe or can be delivered directly to your room.
Embassy Suites by Hilton: Guests can enjoy omelets made the way they like them with their favorite fillings, an assortment of pastries and fruits and other breakfast staples like bacon, potatoes, eggs and oatmeal.
Breakfast is available at no charge at most Best Western hotels. The menu will vary by location, but selections may include French toast, omelets and hot breakfast sandwiches. Best Western also provides healthy choices, plus gluten-friendly and non-dairy milk options.
Wyndham Hotel Group
Wyndham says breakfast is one of the most important parts of a hotel stay, so most of the company’s midscale and economy brands provide at least a continental breakfast — and some offer hot breakfast buffets.
- Baymont Inn & Suites
- Days Inn
- Super 8
- Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
- Howard Johnson
- Wingate by Wyndham
- Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
Baymont Inn & Suites recently launched a new role called the Hometown Host, a breakfast attendant to make sure guests feel welcome and food is abundant. Baymont teamed up with The Arc, the nation’s leading advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to help hotels fill the new role.
Meet Billy Jake, the first Arc-hired Hometown Host in Celebration, Florida:
“The extras aren’t extra” is the slogan at family-owned and operated Drury Hotels. Its free breakfast features scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, make-your-own Belgian waffles, potatoes, sausage and pastries.
Marriott’s website lists a collection of 30 hotel brands, but only a handful of them highlight complimentary breakfast as one of the featured amenities. They include:
The best hotel breakfast in America is…
An informal USA Today survey found that its travel panel liked Embassy Suites’ breakfast the most. Hampton by Hilton, Holiday Inn Express and Marriott’s Residence Inn were also highly-rated.