a gentlemans guide to hotel breakfast etiquette 830x430

A Gentleman’s Guide to Hotel Breakfast Etiquette

Everyone loves a nice breakfast buffet. Maybe it’s the variety or the opportunity to try local delicacies or even the simple pleasure of enjoying the first meal of the day without worrying you’ll miss your train.

For some odd reason, however, a basket full of croissants seems to bring out the savage in all of us and this utterly delightful experience is ruined by bad manners. So here are some tips to make sure your gentlemanly composure remains intact while your waistline expands:

9 tips for the perfect hotel breakfast manners

1. Room service anyone?
Many hotels offer the option of room service for a supplement. If you’re a celebrity travelling incognito or the type of person who hates mornings, you can either order your breakfast on the day or fill in a form the night before specifying what you want and the time it should arrive. Either way, make sure you’re presentable when the waiter knocks on your door.

2. Heading to the buffet
If you decide to make your way to the breakfast buffet, avoid turning up 10’ before closing time and overstaying your welcome because you’ll be surprised to find that the staff has other tasks to attend to. Also, please don’t show up in your pyjamas or swimwear, it’s just disrespectful.

3. Seating arrangements
Choose a table or take the one indicated by the maître and stick to it. If you want to pay a second (or third) visit to the buffet, leave your napkin on the chair to indicate you’ll be returning. As with all restaurants, keep your voice down. After all, it is still morning and most people need some time to adjust to the outside world.

4. Choose wisely
Explore the buffet before queuing for food. This way, you’ll have an idea of what’s available and you won’t hold up the line taking hours to decide.

5. No germs on my food please
The definition of a buffet is that food is shared with other people. Use the serving tongs, avoid coughing or sneezing over the food and, most importantly, put utensils back where you found them. What is just good manners to you, may be a matter of life and death to people with severe allergies.

6. Ask for help
If the dish you are after has run out, politely inform a member of staff as they may be able to refill the trays immediately. Also, if you’re unsure how to use equipment such as coffee machines or toasters, it’s advisable to ask rather than break them which will ruin everyone’s breakfast.

7. The sin of gluttony
It’s very easy to get carried away in the face of such abundance but stuffing your face is quite unbecoming. Some indulgence is welcome, when travelling, but do show reasonable restraint.

8. Taster menu
Some people pile food on their plates because they “want to try a bit of everything” and end up not eating it. Throwing good food, when we’re all aware of global inequalities and the impact of overconsumption on the planet, is a sign of poor manners. Take what you’ll eat and return to the buffet if you want more. If you have company, split portions so you can try more dishes.

9. Something for the road
If you do plan to have a filling breakfast, start with juice and cold dishes followed by warm dishes and then wrap up with tea or coffee. Stocking items from the buffet to eat later in the day isn’t ok. Grab a muffin or pain au chocolat, if you need to rush out, but don’t make your packed lunch out of the buffet.

And now excuse us while we make our way to the buffet for some well-earned breakfast. In the meantime, sign up to our newsletter for a regular dose of style and etiquette delivered directly to your inbox.