Check the Dining Room, then Book the Hotel.

I was thinking earlier today about the places I’ve been on my travels. The total is more than a dozen countries, but it occurred to me that I have perhaps been a bit lazy when it came to my choice of hotels. In some cases, I happened to know something about the hotel in question. But the rest of the time, I just went on line and ended up with one that “looked OK”.

I think that was a mistake. After all, when we’re traveling, a hotel is our “home away from home.” Obviously, we spend the nights in our room, but chances are—in my case, anyway—I’ll be working at my lap top for at least a couple of hours during the day to deal with daily correspondence or produce another posting for this blog. So I’ll probably be a patron of the hotel’s dining room.

In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, as a general rule I prefer taking many of my meals in the hotel’s restaurant, so I try to choose a hotel with an above average restaurant. I can do that before I actually decide where I’m going to stay because most hotels post their restaurant’s menu on line.

By the way, I have learned to be suspicious of any hotel where breakfast is presented as a “breakfast buffet”. Too often, those words are the chef’s way of telling us that our order of scrambled eggs will have been cooked earlier and dumped into a covered container on a steam table.

It’s by no means foolproof, but over the years I’ve discovered one way to decide whether or not a hotel dining room will have a decent menu and will put a reasonable amount of care and attention into the food they serve: Find out if “Eggs Benedict” is on their breakfast menu.

Of course it’s not a complicated dish, but prepared properly, it requires more of a cook’s attention for several minutes while the eggs are poaching. Many mediocre restaurants don’t want to deal with this wonderful breakfast entré.

After all, good food well prepared and nicely served is one of the pleasures of travel!