Thursday, August 14, 2014

Complimentary Breakfast: Vice & Virtue

I am somewhat picky with my choice of holiday accommodation. It has to have a clean bathroom. Cleanliness is next to godliness, as is with quietness. I avoid “party” hotels and hotels near them, of which there are a few in Bali. Quality of sleep is very precious to me. What don't factor in my decision are the complimentary breakfasts.

Although it is convenient not having to worry about where to to eat first thing in the morning, more often than not, hotels I’ve picked have been ones without the frills, for the simple fact they’re cheaper than ones that do offer the free meal. In saying that, during my stay in Makassar and Bali last year, all the hotels I stayed in coincidentally served complimentary breakfasts.

I’m most fond of the breakfast served in the villa we stayed in Ubud. The ritual started with submitting our choices for breakfast the preceding night to the reception, in the morning the meals that have been personally prepared for us were delivered to our villa, whereupon they would be unloaded from the bamboo trays and set beautifully on the small table by our private pool. Typically our choice would be local, mie goreng, or the most beloved Indonesian fast food of choice nasi goreng. For the western touch, croissants and pain aux raisins. A pot of unsweetened green tea or black tea helped neutralise the butteriness of the pastries. Slices of tropical fruits papaya, pineapple and watermelon satisfied my craving for sweets after the finish of a meal.

Not everything was always as agreeable. Our last accommodation before leaving Bali was in a four-star hotel in Nusa Dua. Knowing that Nusa Dua is the posher resort end of Bali, meals should’ve been exceptional. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Buffets of overcooked, over-fried and under-seasoned food are not my idea of a good breakfast.

You might interject that meals served in a hotel buffet can never be as good as specially prepared meals in a private villa. Au contraire, my friend. The other stellar breakfasts we had was at the hotel we stayed early in our trip, in Makassar. Every morning we’ll be excited to see what deliciousness awaited us in the dining room. The variety of food, as well as the daily menu change, kept me from descending into boredom. From the requisite nasi goreng to the stomach-calming soto ayam, from the stir-fried vegetables of carrots and chinese cabbage, the pastries and the fruits to the cute petit four-like traditional Indonesian desserts, each and every meal were prepared carefully, putting its dry and tasteless counterparts in Nusa Dua to shame.

With breakfasts like these almost every day of our 2-week holiday, it was no suprise we gained the plump on our cheeks (and on other body parts which will remain concealed) I like to call our "holiday glow". Not surprisingly complimentary hotel food can be good, but they are a mixed bag. I admit the certain convenience of it, but when given the choice, I would always select the cheaper hotel without the complimentary breakfasts and spend the money saved at a nearby eatery of our liking.

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