Did a lavish morning buffet in a hotel’s dining room or the prospect of croissants and a pot of hot coffee being enjoyed in the privacy of your hotel room ever entice you out of bed early? Once hotels around the world reopen, health concerns may change how food and beverages are served to guests.
Are you the type of traveler who loves having breakfast in bed? Do you wait for the knock on your door, the waiter rolling in a cart and arranging tiny jars of honey and jam next to a basket of warm croissants, juice and a pot of hot coffee to enjoy while dressed in a fluffy bathrobe in the privacy of your hotel room?
Perhaps the hotel’s outstanding breakfast or brunch buffet might entice you to leave the comfort of your bed, get dressed and head down to their dining room for your morning breakfast.
When my husband and I travel to Austria or Germany, we usually stay at wellness (spa) resorts in small towns in rural parts of the country. The price for the room is per person and includes not only wonderful amenities but full board. That means it includes a nutritious breakfast buffet, an afternoon snack buffet as well as an evening multi course dinner served from their daily changing menu. The first course is often chosen from a beautiful appetizer buffet and at the end of the meal, there is usually a cheese and dessert buffet as well.
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If you think a wellness hotel serves bland “health food”, you would be wrong. Eating right and enjoying good food is one of their main focuses as they believe pampering brings balance and inner peace to their guests.
Our favorite resorts in the Austrian Tyrol, the German Black Forest and the Bavarian Alps are not only surrounded by beautiful scenery where outdoor activities are encouraged but their food is excellent. Their well known restaurants are some of the top rated in their country, some with Michelin stars. Obtaining a reservation is highly sought after by guests as well as locals from the surrounding areas and may take months to get.
Each chef uses ingredients that are incredibly fresh, with local meat and dairy products often coming directly from their own nearby farms for every dish they prepare. Each of these fine resorts guarantees that not only will you get a good night’s sleep but you will start out the next morning with a wonderful breakfast buffet that is a big part of the whole experience.
The selections that are offered, with many regional specialties, seems to be the reason breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal of the day when traveling. Whether it’s a luxury five star hotel or a smaller hotel in a rural area, you will typically find a selection of crisp wholegrain rolls and bread, fresh honey and locally made jams, a large selection of local cheeses, free range eggs cooked to order, ham and cured meats, smoked salmon, marinated vegetables and salads as well as fruit, yogurt, cereal, muesli, and nuts.
There is a number of regional dishes that you often feel compelled to try at least once and the delicious breakfast usually tides you over until dinner later in the evening. That is unless you want to try a slice of delicious cake from the hotel’s selection of freshly baked cakes and pastries from the decadent afternoon snack buffet.
Once countries open their borders to travel and let hotels start receiving guests again, many changes will probably be made and I wonder what the new “normal” will look like. Will traditional buffets of all kinds have to evolve into something different or will they become a thing of the past? I wonder if guests will identify their selections to servers behind plexiglas shields who will then dish it onto your plate, cafeteria style. Might servers bring a selection of dishes to your table for you to make your selection. Perhaps there will be separate stations where servers personally hand guests small, individually plated foods as each guest passes by.
Hopefully in the months to come covid cases will diminish as vaccinations increase, borders around the globe will reopen and countries will once again welcome travelers. However, travel may never return to what we once knew as new health and safety standards and protocols are put into place. As hotels are allowed to reopen, it will be interesting to see the creative ways they deal with new health regulations and still ensure that guests have a memorable stay.
Instead of popular buffets, hotel meals might only be available from an à la carte menu and served by waiters in gloves and masks. What will become of the personalized room service that so many of us enjoy? Instead of a server rolling in a linen topped table laid out with silverware and a dome covered breakfast plate, will your coffee arrive in a to-go cup along with prepackaged snack packs like granola bars and left outside your hotel room door?
Getting on a plane again for long distance travel is going to be a challenge..perhaps it will happen in 2022. It will be interesting to see the changes that our favorite hotels and restaurants have made, that is if they have even survived at all. If those amazing breakfast buffets have to be eliminated, while I might miss picking out a beautiful seeded roll, cutting my own wedge of regional cheese and selecting a perfectly ripe fig for my morning meal, it won’t matter as I will be beyond happy just to be able to travel once more