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I was trying to book a 4-day stay in Lyon, France, in a 3-star hotel belonging to a major chain. Their website advertised a rate with a slight discount, a counterpart to a slightly restrictive cancellation policy.

The rate was listed as "including breakfast". However, upon requesting details, I was in for a surprise, as the breakfast is only included for the first two days, as shown here :

Excerpt from rate conditions

(Screenshot edited for brevity and to remove the hotel name).

Having travelled quite a bit in multiple countries, I never faced having a service offered only part of a stay. Has it become a common occurrence in an attempt to drive rates down ? Do major hotels actually engage in such deceptive practices or is it likely a mistake or bug in the website ?


EDITED Oct 25th : December 26th and 27th are a Saturday and a Sunday. Breakfast is similarly not included on the 19th and 20th if I try to book a week earlier. However the standard rate (with free last-minute cancellation) does include the breakfast even on weekends.

The cost of two days' worth of breakfasts is about 2/3 of the difference between the discounted and the standard rate.

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    I think its incredibly telling that the days NOT included are Christmas Day and Boxing Day (day after Christmas day). I would say this is specific to those days (and perhaps other public holidays). – Moo Oct 21 at 20:46
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    I've seen hotels that have special holiday brunches that are offered under different terms (e.g. "breakfast is usually included, but on this holiday we're only doing a bit fancy brunch that costs more so it's not included") so perhaps that's the case here. If you ask them, you might be able to get some kind of credit or alternative arrangement since they did promise free breakfast. – Zach Lipton Oct 22 at 0:48
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    @Moo : Boxing Day is not a public holiday in that part of France, only in the northeast that was under German rule prior to 1918. Additionally, I tried the same booking one week earlier with exactly the same result, breakfast is not included on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20. So, no breakfast on weekends ? – Siorki Oct 22 at 7:04
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    Based on the last comment from the OP, I think "breakfast not included on weekends" would be a more accurate title than "only on first half of stay". And yes, a "weekday only" annotation on the service ad would have been appropriate. – CCTO Oct 22 at 20:13
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    The way I read it, breakfast is not included on the 26th and 27th (you get breakfast the morning after your night in the hotel, so the rightmost day listed), which would support 'no breakfast on weekends' rather than 'no breakfast for Christmas'. – Victor Le Pochat Oct 23 at 14:07
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Do major hotels actually engage in such deceptive practices or is it likely a mistake or bug in the website ?

I'm leaning towards mistake/bug, since it is clearly stated breakfast included, and French consumer protection laws are quite good. Since this is happening in France, I'm guessing the reason of this inconsistency is that the breakfast staff is taking some time off due to Christmas.

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Has it become a common occurrence in an attempt to drive rates down ?

Not really. That's the first time I've seen that (and I use hotels a lot)

Do major hotels actually engage in such deceptive practices

They do and it's getting worse and worse. There are lots of hidden fees and taxes that they glob on to advertise an artifically low price. "Resort fee" is good example of that. This has gotten A LOT worse over the last 3-4 years to the point where Internet search sites become almost useless. Extreme examples include Hotwire and AirBnb where the final rate is often more than double the advertised price. But brand name chains like IHG or Marriott do this too.

or is it likely a mistake or bug in the website ?

That's entirely possible too. I would call and ask. "3 days or more with breakfast included" is not compatible with only two days of breakfast.

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    The EU tends to take a dim view of such hidden charges, and the question is about France. The fact that you mention taxes specifically gives me the impression that this answer is not EU-specific. – MSalters Oct 22 at 8:00

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