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I'm wondering how common it is for hotels to allow people to pay for breakfast even if they don't have a room. In other words:

  1. Come in the morning

  2. Pay a fixed price in reception

  3. Eat breakfast

  4. Leave

I did some google searches, and absolutely nothing came up.

Do you know of any such hotels and/or what it costs?


Edit: I am curious about this because I often stay at places which don't offer as nice a breakfast as many hotels do, and once in a while it would be nice to have a big meal without having to stay at the hotel for one night just to get a good breakfast.

  • 24
    Sure, I've done it, I think most hotels allow it, but it's an expensive breakfast. – ugoren Oct 1 '17 at 18:34
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    Did you search for "Hotel non resident breakfast"? tripadvisor.co.uk/… – Spacedman Oct 1 '17 at 19:57
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    In UK at least, seeing "Open to Non-Residents" on a hotel sign means the bar and restaurant are open for people not staying there. – Spacedman Oct 1 '17 at 20:05
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    What country are you asking about? Or, continent, even? – mattdm Oct 1 '17 at 20:15
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    Sure you can do it, but you might consider just going to a restaurant which serves breakfast. I would expect there to be one in an area with multiple hotels as you describe. Usually, the food there is tastier and less expensive. – dirkk Oct 2 '17 at 11:51
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This is common but it really depends on the hotel, so asking so generically is rather broad.

In many hotels, breakfast is served in a restaurant on the property. Some rooms include breakfast in the price and others may not. Guests that do not have breakfast as part of the package, can pay for breakfast separately and non-guests can simply pay the price too. For anything but small hotels, the same locale is available to paying customers for other meals, regardless if they are guests or not.

Even if you have breakfast included as a guest, you can often pay for extras or for an entirely different breakfast, so it makes sense for the hotel to offer this to non-guests as well. For example, a cold food may be included but people can order warm or cooked-to-order meals.

The time I would expect a hotel not to offer this service if for small ones that usually leave a few food items in a room as breakfast for the guests to self-serve. In that case, there would be no attendant to charge for food. Such places are often not accessible directly without going through reception. On the other hand, hotels that operate as restaurants often have an extra door leading to the outside that is used by non-guests.

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    I would also expect hotels that offer a breakfast buffet in an in-house lounge or dining room not to make it available to non-guests. In my travel experiences, this is exceedingly common. Is there some particular reason you didn't mention it? – David Z Oct 1 '17 at 19:53
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    @David Hotels are usually happy to sell access to those buffets to non-guests. – jpatokal Oct 1 '17 at 20:17
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    @DavidZ - Nearly all breakfast buffets that I've seen offered guest access. Although I stay in many type of hotels, I haven't had the privilege of being in a highly exclusive property, so there's a whole category that is out of my price-range. – Itai Oct 2 '17 at 0:07
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    I'm not talking about bed-and-breakfasts, nor larger hotels with extravagant buffets. I'm talking about moderately priced chain hotels or similar that do nevertheless include breakfast in the price of every room. I guess I don't know if they offer breakfast access to non-guests, since I've never had reason to ask, but it would seem strange. I should check on that sometime. – David Z Oct 2 '17 at 5:55
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    @DavidZ I would find it strange for any moderately priced chain hotel to not offer breakfast (at a charge) to whoever walks in in the morning. I'm 100% sure they make money on the breakfasts and not allowing non-guests to buy their breakfast simply means making less money. – Jory Geerts Oct 2 '17 at 8:36
4

The answer is very simple,

At "large, posh" hotels you can absolutely come in to the restaurant (for breakfast, lunch or dinner) or the bars (for drinks) simply as a normal person, pay money, and eat/drink.

The full service restaurants in "traditional" hotels are indeed simply "restaurant businesses as such".

Indeed, in most cities the most famous restaurants (for breakfast, or lunch or dinner) are indeed the restaurants situated in a hotel.

If the OP is thinking of, let's say, "hotel chains" such as Ibis in Europe, or Hampton Inn etc in the US. At such "hotel chains", simply no, you cannot generally just arrive and take part in breakfast, it's only a thing for hotel guests. The hotel chains don't really have a full service restaurant, they simply have a process where guests get a breakfast in the morning.

So quite simply,

  1. At let us say "traditional" hotels, sure, the restaurants are full-service restaurant businesses in themselves: of course you can go in and have breakfast, as at any restaurant.

  2. If you're thinking of "hotel chains" (Eg, Ibis, Motel6, etc) no, they simply do not have "restaurants" as such. There's just a facility where guests are fed breakfast. There's no sense in which you can "go in and pay for a meal" (for example, they wouldn't even have a cash register, etc).

If you ask "how to distinguish between the two", the only answer is "ask"!

With typical mid-range chains, it's hard to guess which category a hotel falls in. You just call and ask! "Is the restaurant open for breakfast, or only guests?"

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    Many of the European hotel chains do serve breakfast to walk-ins -- a lot of the other hotels in the Accor group do, for example, as do most Premier Inns in the UK (n the attached pub/restaurant) – Chris H Oct 2 '17 at 15:35
  • What about hotels which don't fall into either category, and which will be the majority in many interesting places? – Peter Taylor Oct 2 '17 at 16:09
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    @PeterTaylor - as it says (I gave a long specific example) you phone them and ask. – Fattie Oct 2 '17 at 19:02
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Hotels that include the price of breakfast in the room fee (aka breakfast is available to all guests) need to know about how much they are spending per-person to break even on food costs. The managers should know this number, and if you are polite (maybe even calling in advance), it's very possible they will just ask you to pay that per-person amount and let you eat.

I only know of this in more rural areas where the risk of hundreds of people coming in off the streets to eat breakfast is low, though; it's possible this would be a lot less common in more urban markets.

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    Thats a very good point. – mathreadler Oct 2 '17 at 7:01
  • At a normal "chain" hotel (say, Motel6 or whatever), it's totally impossible to "come in and use the restaurant and just pay" as a non-guest. – Fattie Oct 2 '17 at 12:17
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I just wanted to share my experience, I used to have a gym membership at a large hotel chain here in the UK (Village hotels) and they actually advertised breakfast and the walk in price. I have a membership at Hilton and quite commonly use the gym before work and eat breakfast - they offer discounts for gym members.

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