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Free Hotel Breakfasts

Free Hotel Breakfasts

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Old Apr 12, 08, 9:53 pm
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Free Hotel Breakfasts

Many hotels now offer free breakfasts - Holiday Inn, Choice Hotels, Best Western etc. Frequently you see a sign on a highway leading to the hotel advertising this fact (as well as free internet access). One thing I have noticed is that at no point do the signs say you must stay to get the free breakfast.

So what would happen if you just showed up at the hotel in the morning and helped yourself to the breakfast? Is it theft or merely an offer and acceptance based on their advertising? Just curious
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Old Apr 12, 08, 10:02 pm
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IANAL, but when a hotel sign advertises free HBO, free local calls, etc. - I suspect there's an implication that you have to be in one of their rooms to get them.

(That said, on more than one occasion I've pulled into the parking lot of a hotel offering free wi-fi, or a hotel in a chain that I was pretty sure offers free wi-fi, to check e-mail or look up a Web site on my laptop.)

Some hotels, especially in areas where they might get walk-in traffic, check room keys or check names against a list. Others just let anyone in. Maybe they figure that if the breakfast is worth enough to you that you went all the way to the hotel to get it, you're welcome to a bowl of cold cereal, a muffin and a glass of cheap OJ.
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Old Apr 12, 08, 10:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MapleLeaf View Post
Many hotels now offer free breakfasts - Holiday Inn, Choice Hotels, Best Western etc. Frequently you see a sign on a highway leading to the hotel advertising this fact (as well as free internet access). One thing I have noticed is that at no point do the signs say you must stay to get the free breakfast.

So what would happen if you just showed up at the hotel in the morning and helped yourself to the breakfast? Is it theft or merely an offer and acceptance based on their advertising? Just curious
I've seen local police officers at breakfast at the Embassy Suites. That's really the only free breakfast I'd consider doing this for. I think a few bucks in the tip jar near the omelet guy would make sure everybody looked the other way.
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Old Apr 12, 08, 11:04 pm
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Originally Posted by zdave View Post
I've seen local police officers at breakfast at the Embassy Suites. That's really the only free breakfast I'd consider doing this for. I think a few bucks in the tip jar near the omelet guy would make sure everybody looked the other way.
slightly off topic, a friend of mine is a police officer and they get free (or very very discounted) food and drinks from many restaurants. He jokes about how certain restaurants participate in "the program". It's really a win, win situation... the cost of a coffee, a few eggs and strips of bacon is very cheap way to have police officers present in your establishment.
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Old Apr 13, 08, 6:27 am
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I've wondered about this, as Mr. Kipper and I occasionally stay at a Hilton Garden Inn that is right next to a Hampton Inn. The Hilton Garden Inn's biscuits and gravy are horrible, according to Mr. Kipper, while the Hampton's are outstanding. He's considered walking over to the Hampton Inn for breakfast.

As far as free wifi, I'll admit to using wifi for a minute or two in a hotel parking lot. When I was really desperate to find an address, the only hotel around was a Hampton Inn, so I walked in and asked if I could use the wifi for a minute, since you need to enter a code. The front desk clerk had no problem with it, gave me the code, and told me to use the wifi as long as necessary.
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Old Apr 13, 08, 7:27 am
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We stay in many of these motels, especially my husband, who travels a lot for business. Outside the United States, they check your room key, but in most of the motels within the southern U.S. where we seem to use this feature most, they almost never check. Oh yeah, and I just remembered, we stayed at one in Ontario where no one checked the room key either, but we were obvious birders (like everyone else at the motel, it was in Leamington in May) and clearly fit in.

I think if you are clean and well-dressed, then you could get away with a one-time drive-by of the motel breakfast. But if you came by every day, you would eventually be identified as a free-loader. I don't know if you would be charged or simply eighty-sixed from the property. Many times, my husband can't eat the breakfast, only the coffee, since he is on a low carb diet. Tell you what, Maple Leaf, if we happen to be in the area when you need breakfast, let us know and we'll let you have one of ours. Some of the Choice hotel breakfasts are actually good, some of the Super 8s are pretty scary though unless you're into the whole muffin and doughnuts thing.
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Old Apr 13, 08, 11:43 am
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Seriously, I would consider it theft....

How could anyone presume that they are providing a free breakfast for anyone who just saw the sign driving by and decided to partake?

I would so embarrased if I ever got caught trying that one.
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Old Apr 13, 08, 4:07 pm
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To me it's just ethics. Would you like someone walking into your home and helping themselves in the kitchen? No!

Would you allow someone to ask for directions and show him your maps? Yes. (a previous poster asked to use wifi to get directions).
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Old Apr 14, 08, 8:11 am
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I think it's akin to stealing. I agree with those who said the presumption is that you get free b'fast with a stay in one of their rooms. I differentiate wifi use because there's not the same cost of goods sold involved. One person using the wifi doesn't preclude others from using it. At b'fast, on the other hand, if you go in and devour their bacon & eggs, that means someone else can't (or at least, the hotel has to cook up more and use up more inventory).

I honestly cannot think of a "free" hotel b'fast that I'd ever want to "steal", however. Seems to me that most of the ones I've had were of the "continental" variety.

Last edited by dchristiva; Apr 14, 08 at 1:20 pm
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Old Apr 14, 08, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by MapleLeaf View Post
So what would happen if you just showed up at the hotel in the morning and helped yourself to the breakfast? Is it theft or merely an offer and acceptance based on their advertising? Just curious
What about if you have friends/colleagues staying at a hotel that offers free breakfast? Is it ok to eat for free then even if that isn't your hotel? I did it (once) and didn't feel bad about it (although I don't think I could make a habit of it).

Is this any different than inviting your non-status friends up to the club lounge for an appetizer after work?
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Old Apr 14, 08, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by wharvey View Post
Seriously, I would consider it theft....

How could anyone presume that they are providing a free breakfast for anyone who just saw the sign driving by and decided to partake?

I would so embarrased if I ever got caught trying that one.
I didn't say I would go for a free hotel breakfast, it crosses the ethical and moral line for me. It was more a question of is it theft? My thinking was yes it is theft but a couple of other people I have talked to said they didn't view it that way as it was offered via the sign, and they accepted.

Honestly I would have to be really desperate before I would help myself to a free breakfast at a hotel I didn't stay at, thankfully I am not like that.
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Old Apr 14, 08, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by zdave View Post
I've seen local police officers at breakfast at the Embassy Suites. That's really the only free breakfast I'd consider doing this for. I think a few bucks in the tip jar near the omelet guy would make sure everybody looked the other way.
The Embassy Suites near Disneyland makes a killer breakfast and as a local it's mighty tempting to grab a bite (I've stayed there with friends so it's legit that I know that) but when you really think about it, a meal at ihop or dennys is far from expensive and probably about the same quality. I'm a fan of free but not of ripping people off from something with a true cost...
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Old Apr 14, 08, 4:05 pm
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I remember the front desk staff at some motel/hotel in Raleigh mentioning this was a problem.
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Old Apr 14, 08, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by dchristiva View Post
I honestly cannot think of a "free" hotel b'fast that I'd ever want to "steal", however. Seems to me that most of the ones I've had were of the "continental" variety.
Most I would not consider, but I would (if I did ) go for Embassy Suites' cooked to order full breakfast!
Originally Posted by bitburgr View Post
What about if you have friends/colleagues staying at a hotel that offers free breakfast? Is it ok to eat for free then even if that isn't your hotel? I did it (once) and didn't feel bad about it (although I don't think I could make a habit of it).
I stayed at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, and invited some (local) friends out for dinner. We met at the hotel before going to dinner. Embassy Suites offers a "manager's reception" consisting of free drinks every evening.

I (as a guest) did not have any problem. My friends also got a drink, but when they offered to pay the bartender, they were told "The drinks are free for guests!" - they tried to pay, but was told otherwise!
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Old Apr 14, 08, 8:44 pm
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There's also a long thread from last year on this subject that's a good read.
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