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What better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed? (Photos.com)
What better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed? (Photos.com)

In praise of room service: $30 French toast is worth every penny Add to ...

Hi, my name is Ryan and I am a room-service addict. Unabashed and willing to pay the price.

Growing up, I had the good fortune of being an “airline brat,” a kid whose parents worked for two major carriers. Needless to say, I travelled a lot.

And while most children enter a hotel room and see only the opportunity to jump on the freshly changed bed, I knew from an early age that true joy comes with room service.

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As soon as I was literate (maybe even before), I would snatch up the menu, combing over the selections with a meticulous eye. My mouth would salivate at the descriptions.

I soon learned the distinction between a continental breakfast and something from the griddle. Knowing my spreads and preserves became a matter of pride. Marmalade or margarine? Honey or hummus? The choices were overwhelming – but still nowhere near as exciting as being able to eat in bed.

Which is why the news this week that the 2,000-room New York Hilton Midtown will discontinue room service in August has me disheartened, and hoping the move won’t become an industry trend.

Yes, my childhood love of in-room dining has stuck with me – even though I don’t have mom and dad to pick up the tab anymore.

Is it a luxury? Of course it is – but to me it’s an important part of the travel experience. Nothing beats the feeling of pressing the room-service button as you sit in a terry-cloth robe flipping through the morning paper. After you hang up, you realize you don’t need to tidy up your surroundings, because the in-room waiter has seen it all.

The knock on the door finally comes and the cart is wheeled in. As it crosses the threshold of your temporary dwelling, the smell of eggs Benny, or perhaps a late-night filet, fills the room. You stack the pillows as high as they will go on the bed so that you can sit perfectly upright, and the second those shiny silver domes are lifted you know this moment was worth every penny. This is heaven.

If the Hilton goes ahead with its plan, guests who want a bite will have to travel outside the four walls of their cozy hotel rooms. Or worse, order in and be served by an uncaring delivery man who simply hands over a paper bag or cardboard box. How pedestrian.

My younger self cringes; my adult sensibilities are offended.

Even if room service revenue is down – room service represented 1.2 per cent of total hotel revenue in 2012, down from 1.3 per cent in 2011, according to data from PKF Hospitality Research – hotels cannot lose sight of the fact that a stay in one of their rooms should be an experience that visitors cannot get at home.

You want to charge me $30 for French toast? No problem! Exploit me, because if I can’t have my breakfast-in-bed, I might as well stay home.

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