The Ultimate Hotel Breakfast Scam

It’s one of the great ironies of hotels that the higher room rate, the less likely it is to include breakfast. And if you want a good laugh, just take a look at the room service menu, where breakfast always seems to have the highest markup. And the hotels make the morning meal so tempting, especially those who offer the order forms that you just check off and hang on your doorknob in front of the Do Not Disturb sign. And if you opt for the restaurant instead, a nice hotel breakfast can cost a good deal more than dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. So while breakfast is always a bit of a scam ($10 bread basket, anyone?), it was truly a scam at the Belvedere Hotel in New York City where the controller saw it as a way to get rich.

According to a story in the New York Post, Mary Comis pled guilty to embezzling $208,000 from the Belvedere Hotel and she got most of it from breakfast. There are two rates for breakfast there: Continental ($13.95) and American ($19.95). Comis made it look like everyone chose the cheaper option and then she kept the difference. It would be great if the hotel changed the American breakfast’s cost to $13.95, since they hadn’t gotten the extra money for it for years anyway. But somehow I doubt that will happen.

6 Responses to The Ultimate Hotel Breakfast Scam

  1. Anil September 10, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    I’m always amazed by the variety in quality of hotel breakfasts and prices. You’d think that a higher price would get you a better breakfast but they don’t seem to be related from my experiences.

  2. Amy @ The Q Family September 10, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    Yes. Why is that 5 stars hotel will nickle and dime you? I am researching hotel for our next trip and found that most 4-5 stars hotel will NOT have free breakfast, free WiFi or even free parking. But if I look for mid range hotel, I will get all those for free! Make me wonder what do I get for the 4-5 stars price. :)

  3. brian from September 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Nope it won’t happen.
    Continental breakfasts are a joke. And $20 for essentially eggs, toast and coffee. Crazy. Your best bet is to leave your hotel and hit the streets for food.

  4. John Bardos - JetSetCitizen September 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I agree that there is a huge variety in quality of breakfasts.
    I never order room service because it is ridiculously over-priced but I do love a great breakfast buffet. When booking hotels online, I generally try to find one with a full buffet breakfast included. It makes for a better start to the day and the quality is generally very good.

  5. Nancy September 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    In Europe it is more standard to include breakfast in the room rate? Seems to me that every time i’ve been to the UK or Italy I eat like crazy and steal rolls and butter from the breakfast room so I can skip paying for lunch! But it has been a few years so maybe free breakie is a no go there now too…

  6. Kim September 15, 2009 at 5:38 am #

    I think we should start a campaign to encourage hotels to include breakfast. The one that gets me is usually the ONLY option is the FULL buffet. Regardless of how much you eat (coffee and toast).

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