Continental/complimentary breakfast

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Uderzo, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Uderzo Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    I intend to travel to US at the end of this year, so I started to look for a hotel. I wonder if anyone can tell me the difference between continental and complimentary breakfast offered in some hotels.
  2. Cathy Rose Senior Member

    Northeast USA
    United States English
    Certainly, and welcome to the forum. "Continental" breakfast usually means a very light breakfast of toast, pastries, cereal, and perhaps bagels. Generally, the other category would be "full" breakfast, which would include hot items such as eggs, waffles, and meat. When a hotel advertises "complimentary" breakfast, it usually means that there will be a continental-style buffet with one or two hot item choices. Keep in mind that the word "complimentary" simply means that there will be no charge for it, so the hotel can really serve whatever they want to. You might call them to clarify the kind of breakfast they serve. I hope that helps.
  3. eden27 Member

    England, english
    A complimentary breakfast refers to the fact that it is free. A continental breakfast is the name for a style of breakfast - (from the European Continent), so you'll get bread, jams, cereal, croissants, ham and cheese and tea and coffee. This is in contrast to an American or English breakfast, which would be a fried breakfast. A breakfast could be both continental and complimentary. Do you understand?
  4. Lexiphile Senior Member

    England English
    It's possible that Eden is being optimistic here.
    It is true that the buffet breakfast available in most (European) continental hotels consists of some combination of the things Eden mentions. But a "continental breakfast" was what the French hotels always offered and many still do! That consists of a cup of coffee strong enough to stand the spoon up in, a croissant (and/or a slice of bread) and a bit of jam. No meat, no cheese, no cereal.

    Cathy was right: it might be wise to telephone and ask.
  5. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    The meaning varies from hotel to hotel. But they all seem to have a single commonality: No real kitchen.

    Most include dry cereal, bagels, muffins, toast etc. Some will include hot plates with scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc.

    These are generally in the category of "help yourself"; that is there is no waiter staff.

    This service is generally associated with "high value, lower cost" hotels/motels. Higher end hotels and motels generally will have a proper restaurant.

    This post is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way should be considered flaws or defects.
  6. Uderzo Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    Thank you all for your kind answer. It's funny how much meaning two words can have (and you can be sure: same happens in Portuguese). This is a very rich forum, I wish I had more time to visit it.
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I can attest that "continental breakfasts" in the U.S. are usually much more extensive in their offerings than the European version. Packard's distinction is the best, in my opinion. Do not expect any food that would require a proper kitchen to cook it. There may be a few fried foods available (sometimes hash browns, cottage fries, or something similar and even omelets in some cases), but for the most part it will be a cold breakfast with cold and hot drinks available.

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