Tray Cool: Why I love room service breakfast
June 18th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
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At home on a weekday, I generally can't be bothered with breakfast, save for a slug of tepid coffee from the pot my husband has made much earlier that morning.

If there's cold pizza or a few spoonfuls of takeout pappardelle bolognese, I'll wander around, foggily gnawing, but it's not like I'm gonna actually cut, heat or lubricate anything. That's just asking for trouble.

This might go a way toward explaining my over-enthusiasm about room service breakfasts. Mundane foods are made magical by their being borne to my door at sunrise on a lacquered tray, bedecked with freshly laundered linen and America's most widely read (likely because it shows up, unbidden, on hotel breakfast trays) newspaper, USA Today.

It's not as if I'd actually think to spend this much of my own cash (a la carte, $36.88 with delivery, tax and gratuity, per the hotel chain's Web site) on an English muffin, a cup of fruit, a pot of inoffensive coffee and a child-sized Diet Coke, but guests who sign up for a loyalty plan receive all this splendor, absolutely gratis.

Oh, and did I mention the preserves? There are two flavors, both commercially packaged and quite culinarily unadventurous. I go to sleep giddy with the prospect of their arrival. While I rarely, if ever, use jam at home, by God, I shall slather my muffin into fruity oblivion upon daybreak. I will swill perfectly average coffee to the point of nerve damage, for it came in a shiny, stainless steel, prophylactically plastic-swaddled pot, and I am not obligated or expected to share it with another soul.

And the fruit - oh, the fruit. M'lord or m'lady need just tick a box upon a doorknob card indicating preference for sliced, whole or cubed at some point before 1 a.m., and thus it appears. I inevitably opt for the latter for the sake of fanciness. No way am I wielding a fruit knife at any point before lunchtime, nor is it at all conceivable that I'd have cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple on hand all at once - or even separately.

Nope, I'm not under the illusion that any of this food is especially desirable or delicious, and know that an empirically better breakfast could be had at the Chick-fil-A a few hundred feet from the hotel elevator, under the same roof. I'm just a willing sucker for pomp and faux-swankness when I'm traveling for work.

My weekday morning reality often entails picking up dog poop left on the linoleum by an overanxious whippet, then sardine-slipping onto a subway car and maintaining a tenuous accord with a few hundred of my fellow New Yorkers. This private moment, this stab at civility, however manufactured, is gratefully, hungrily accepted when I'm far away from home. Even if the coffee sucks.

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Filed under: Bite • Culture • Travel


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. sang he hong

    Been looking for this article for long time ago and finally found here. thanks for sharing this post. appreciate!

    June 24, 2010 at 12:13 am | Reply
  2. SallyAL

    I too love the room service breakfast, mostly because I can stay in the bed in my PJs, my hair in that just-slept-in style, and no one will see me but the person delivering the meal.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  3. Gene De Lisa

    I wouldn't spend a zeptosecond with the person – real or fictional – described in this post.

    June 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • SallyAL

      I am curious – do you not like room service or just the way the writer presents the topic?

      June 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply
    • MTrop

      Were you swayed by the headline ("Tray Cool") or did you believe that "Why I love room service" would be anything but an editorial sprinkled with culinary-related adjectives regarding why the author loves room service? Did you think that if a person would take the time to write an article about why they love something, they wouldn't put a lot of effort into conveying every detail of their reasoning and experience?
      Just wondering.
      In any case, I can see why room service would be so nice. There are just so many other luxuries I'd rather spend my $40 on than a mediocre breakfast, despite how awesome and convenient it would be to have it delivered to me before I face the world for a day.

      June 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Reply

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