I confess I’ve grown spoiled in my expectations of free breakfasts. If I’m staying at a hotel, I only book properties where I can enjoy free breakfast.
Yes, it saves me a little money and helps keep my travel habit affordable. But it also makes traveling easier, scratching one less worry off each day’s itinerary. You just stumble to the elevator, and the next thing you know, you have a cup of coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other.
But not all hotel breakfasts are created equal. Whether you’re looking to save money, time, effort, or all of the above on your next vacation, you can count on these hotel chains’ free breakfasts.
Hotel Chains With Free Breakfast
Surprisingly, free breakfasts dominate the lower and middle ranges of the hotel market, not its upper echelons, where free breakfasts are often just elite-level members.
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As a quick note on terminology, a “continental breakfast” is usually cold. Common options include cereal, instant oatmeal packets, yogurts, pastries, bread, fruits, and sometimes deli meats and cheeses. If you’re lucky, they might include a self-operated waffle iron along with premixed batter. They also usually include beverages like coffee, tea, and juices.
“Buffet breakfasts” typically include hot food. At a minimum, buffet breakfasts should include a chafing dish with scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage. But they could also include many more hot food options in addition to cold fare like cereal and fruit.
The best breakfast buffets also include made-to-order stations, where staff members cook omelets or other dishes to your custom specifications. In some cases, you can also order off an a la carte menu. Or there may be no buffet at all, and you order the entire breakfast from a menu, all included with your stay at the hotel.
While everyone has their own morning culinary inclinations, these national hotel chains offer the best free breakfasts on the market.
Many of Hilton’s 15 hotel brands offer free breakfast of one sort or another. Keep an eye out for these Hilton hotel brands where you can eat cheap on your next vacation.
- Hampton by Hilton. The Hampton by Hilton chain offers continental breakfasts, and most include a waffle iron and packaged instant oatmeal with hot water for at least a couple of hot breakfast options. One nice twist Hampton offers on the continental breakfast is free on-the-go breakfast bags you can snag on your way out the door.
- Home2 Suites by Hilton. A step up the breakfast food chain, Home2 Suites offers a couple more hot breakfast options. It rotates hot artisan-style breakfast sandwiches and bowls daily in addition to the standard continental fare. Other highlights include hard-boiled eggs, grits (sometimes alternated with the oatmeal), and a table in the breakfast area with power outlets to charge your devices.
- Tru by Hilton. In addition to standard-issue continental breakfast fare, Hilton’s Tru brand offers a limited hot buffet breakfast with scrambled eggs, chicken sausages, and waffles. Top your waffles, oatmeal, or yogurt with an impressive 35-plus toppings, such as craisins, coconut, granola, nuts, and almond butter.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton. Homewood Suites features basic hot breakfast foods like scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, and breakfast potatoes. It also includes continental breakfast staples like pastries, cereals, oatmeal, and fruit.
- Canopy by Hilton. Along with several other Hilton-owned brands, Canopy transitioned away from free breakfasts to a food and beverage credit in late 2021. In most cases, you get a $15 per day credit toward any on-site restaurants and bars — which you can use toward breakfast if you like.
- Embassy Suites by Hilton. With a full hot buffet breakfast including eggs, bacon, and oatmeal, the Embassy Suites also features a made-to-order omelet station. After chowing down on a la carte omelets, squeeze some fresh fruit in your breakfast from the cold foods section.
At other Hilton hotel brands, you may still score a free breakfast if you have Gold or Diamond status. At least outside the U.S. — within the States, even those elite status-holders just get a food or beverage credit.
2. Best Western
Best Western claims more than 4,700 franchised hotels around the world, with roughly 2,000 of them in North America. Almost all include free breakfast, as the brand strongly encourages but doesn’t require franchisees to offer it.
The quality and quantity of options of those breakfasts vary by location. Some go all out with full hot breakfast buffets with eggs, sausages, bacon, potatoes, and even breakfast sandwiches and a la carte omelet stations. Others limp by with yogurts and other continental breakfast options.
Most offer at least a waffle iron, pancake griddle, or French toast to add another hot option beyond oatmeal. Plus, most include a healthy assortment of fruits.
3. IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)
Several of IHG’s chains advertise free breakfasts, although they vary both by chain and property. Again, do your homework before counting on a gourmet spread.
- Holiday Inn Express. Given a makeover back in 2018, the free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express hotels now includes fare like egg white omelets, bacon and sausages, cinnamon rolls, and a one-touch pancake machine. It also spruced up the continental side of its breakfast foods with Chobani yogurts and whole-wheat English muffins. If you oversleep, it also provides prepacked to-go breakfast bags as well.
- Staybridge Suites. This IHG brand promises a hot buffet breakfast including scrambled eggs, bacon, and waffles. Don’t expect any bells and whistles, but you can find the full continental breakfast along with a basic hot breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, it looks like many locations paused serving breakfast during the coronavirus pandemic, and many probably liked the savings enough to keep suspending it “for guests’ safety” long after they should have.
- Avid Hotels. The breakfast at Avid Hotels is more continental, mostly consisting of oatmeal, fruit, cereal, slices of various breads, and yogurts. However, it provides hard-boiled eggs and some on-the-go options, such as breakfast bars you can grab on your way out.
4. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
Few Radisson hotels provide free breakfasts, at least without elite member status. But Country Inn & Suites is an exception.
Hotels in this chain provide two tempting hot breakfast entrees every day. Customizable breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, an omelet station, eggs Benedict, French toast, and bacon with eggs and toast feature in the rotation.
Beyond the hot entrees, you can expect the usual waffles, oatmeal, fruits, and cereals. One standout option is the parfait station, allowing guests to build their own perfect yogurt parfait.
Other Radisson hotel brands offer free breakfast for Platinum status-holders, which you earn through frequent stays at Radisson hotels. But read the fine print, as the status-holder must be the registered guest, and other guests may not get free breakfast, even if they’re booked in the same room. It’s perfect for frequent solo business travelers but may leave their significant others or kiddos in the lurch on vacation.
5. Marriott Brands
Most of Marriott’s 30 hotel brands aren’t required to offer complimentary breakfast. But many individual Marriotts do, and a handful of brands are required to offer it, depending on where you travel. These Marriott brands are your best bets.
- Residence Inn by Marriott. The extent of these breakfasts varies by location, but the brand promises a “full American breakfast.” Expect a basic continental breakfast with a couple of hot options like eggs and bacon.
- Springhill Suites by Marriott. Although mostly continental fare, such as yogurt and fruit, some locations offer minimal hot buffet foods, like eggs, jalapeño-cheddar baked souffle, and spinach quiches.
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Most TownePlace Suites properties offer a basic hot buffet breakfast that includes eggs, sausages, and waffles in addition to the cold continental options.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. This brand offers a few hot options, such as eggs and breakfast meats, along with a waffle iron, fruit, toast, and the usual corporate continental breakfast foods.
- Element by Marriott. Element offers the standard Marriott limited hot buffet breakfast, with a few hot options on top of the continental fare. As a bonus, many locations offer a complimentary adult beverage in the afternoon to boot.
Note that other Marriott brands do offer free breakfast for certain elite status-holders. Marriott features six status tiers: Member, Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite. Customers in the highest three tiers enjoy free breakfasts at many Marriott properties around the world. Breakfasts range from a full hot buffet up to completely customized a la carte breakfasts.
But it doesn’t make sense to spend more than you otherwise would have to save a little money on breakfast. Spending an extra $50 to earn $25 in benefits is a losing proposition. So don’t join unless you could also use the other membership benefits.
6. Wyndham Brands
Many Wyndham chains provide at least a continental breakfast, and a few offer basic hot items as well.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites. In addition to the usual continental options, La Quinta now offers a few hot options, including eggs and breakfast meats.
- Wingate by Wyndham. Wingate hotels offer a basic hot buffet breakfast with eggs, bacon, waffles, and continental breakfast options.
- Hawthorn Suites. Hawthorn Suites provides simple hot options like eggs, breakfast meat, bagels, and oatmeal.
- Travelodge. Most Travelodge locations offer a free continental breakfast with minimal frills, but you should at least get some basics like fruit, toast, and yogurt.
- Howard Johnson. HoJo offers a free Rise & Dine continental breakfast in most locations. Expect the usual cold options.
- Baymont Inn & Suites. While Baymont advertises a hot breakfast, the only hot items at many locations are waffles and coffee. Expect a standard continental breakfast.
- Days Inn. Wyndham knows its marketing and pushes the “healthy breakfast” angle for its Days Inn brand. But it’s just a standard continental breakfast.
- Super 8. This chain provides continental standards, including waffles, fruit, and cereal.
- Microtel Inn & Suites. This brand provides a continental breakfast, which usually includes bagels (with access to a toaster) in addition to the classics.
7. Choice Hotels
Most Choice Hotels brands offer free breakfast in one form or another.
- Sleep Inn & Quality Inn Brands. These basic hotel chains provide a free hot breakfast buffet for all guests, including eggs and breakfast meats. They rotate the exact options but sometimes include biscuits and gravy, sausage patties, or pancakes in addition to the ubiquitous waffles.
- Comfort Inn. Comfort Inns provide free hot buffet breakfasts. You sometimes have a few waffle flavor options for at least a little variety across multiple mornings.
- Clarion Pointe. In 2018, Choice Hotels separated its Clarion brand into several sub-brands, and most standard Clarion hotels stopped offering free breakfasts. The slightly higher-grade Clarion Pointe-branded properties still offer a free basic hot buffet breakfast with eggs and breakfast meats in most cases.
- MainStay Suites. The MainStay Suites brand offers free continental breakfast, although many properties include an oatmeal station so guests can customize their hot oatmeal with a range of toppings.
- Econo Lodge. This basic hotel chain provides a standard free continental breakfast.
8. Drury Hotels
Most Drury Hotels provide all guests with a complimentary hot buffet breakfast. It includes eggs, sausage, breakfast potatoes, the seemingly ever-present waffle iron, fresh fruit, oatmeal, and all the cold continental options.
The family-owned hotel chain touts “The Extras Aren’t Extra” as its slogan, and its free breakfast doesn’t disappoint. Even better, Drury Hotels provide free happy-hour drinks and snacks with their 5:30 Kickback.
9. Hyatt Properties
While most Hyatt hotels don’t offer free breakfast to the typical traveler, some provide it for members. The Hyatt corporation offers a four-tiered membership program called World of Hyatt. Tiers include World of Hyatt Members (free), Discoverists, Explorists, and Globalists.
Different membership types earn you free breakfast at different Hyatt hotel brands. For example, the following Hyatt brands provide free breakfast for members at all four tiers if they book directly through Hyatt’s website:
- Hyatt Zilara/Ziva
- Hyatt Place
- Hyatt House
- Hyatt Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts
Many other Hyatt brands only provide free breakfast for members at the Globalist level, such as:
- Grand Hyatt
- Hyatt Regency
- Hyatt Centric
- The Unbound Collection
- Joie de Vivre
At all properties, diners can expect at a minimum a full hot breakfast buffet, often with a la carte options like an omelet station, and sometimes a full a la carte breakfast menu.
There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but a free breakfast? Sometimes…
Note that many hotel chains are owned by franchisees, and not all properties participate in the company’s free breakfast program. Even among corporate-owned hotels, some properties don’t offer the standard free breakfast, either. Check each individual hotel before booking to ensure it offers free breakfast for guests.
And don’t ignore bed-and-breakfasts either. Some of the best vacation breakfasts I’ve ever had weren’t at hotels at all but at local mom-and-pop inns.