Early Morning Hotel Coffee

Filed Under: Hotels

I spend a lot of time talking about travel pet peeves. For example, a few months ago I wrote a post about my biggest hotel pet peeves.

I’ve realized I don’t spend enough time sharing positive reinforcement of things in the travel industry that I appreciate. In other words, rather than just point out the things that tick me off, I’ll spend more time sharing the things I appreciate. For example, I recently wrote a post about how much I love hotels with real blackout shades — it’s one of the greatest features a hotel room can have, in my opinion.

Another thing I really appreciate in hotels is when they have coffee available early in the morning. It never ceases to amaze me how many hotels only have breakfast available at 7AM, and there’s nowhere to get coffee prior to that. Yes, there’s in-room dining, but I’m not paying $20 for a pot of coffee, between the delivery charge, tip, and inflated prices to begin with. And that doesn’t even address how inefficient it all is.

One thing I really appreciate is when hotels have a coffee station in the lobby available early in the morning. When I travel I usually naturally get up really early, except I’m not a morning person. So when I wake up at 5AM I’m absolutely desperate for coffee, only to realize the restaurant isn’t open and there are no coffee shops nearby open yet either.


So nothing makes my day quite like when a hotel has a coffee setup in the lobby, whereby you can get coffee in the wee hours of the morning. Best of all they’re usually free. Bonus points if they have croissants as well. 😉


In my case, the funny thing is how much of an impact that has on my perception of a hotel. For example, off the top of my head I could name all the hotels I’ve stayed at this year that had a coffee station available early in the morning. Meanwhile I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head the wifi situation or club lounge quality of most hotels I’ve stayed at.

Am I the only one that places so much value on access to coffee early in the morning when traveling?

  1. I’ve never seen sth. like that in Europe..would be nice tho!
    However don’t you always have a coffee machine in the room?

  2. I agree with you about coffee availability. And I have a similar pet peeve: What about in-room coffee? That’s available 24/7. But It’s usually horrible and very weak – I like my coffee strong. Occasionally I find a hotel that has a Keurig coffee maker in the room which makes passable coffee, but not great. That’s why I started bringing Starbucks VIA coffee packets with me. Not as good as fresh brewed but MUCH better than almost any hotel coffee.

  3. Totally agree. It’s such a small thing – which can make such a difference. Given people on different time zones, jet lag, weird flight arrival and departure times – it’d be great if there could be a basic coffee station 24/7.

    Weird thing is, I feel like a lot of the lower-priced chains do this better than the big guys. At least in the US. My parents love the Hilton Garden Inn – I know not why, and they usually have coffee and water and basic snacks. I’ve seen it at Holiday Inn Express locations too.

    And yes, a lot of hotels have coffee makers in the room – I don’t want to fumble around trying to figure out the machine and the badly written directions – I just want a cup of coffee.

  4. @ Julian — Off the top of my head both the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport and Sheraton Brussels Airport offer them. Both great hotels!

  5. One of the best free coffee experiences I ever had was when I used to travel to Minneapolis for work and stayed at the Hotel Ivy(SPG Luxury Collection). You could opt for either the old fashion wakeup call, or you could have a pot of coffee delivered to your room for free. Unfortunately this only lasted for ~7 months, but it was an awesome 7 months.

  6. @ Tobias — They’re usually a pain to figure out, and I have to wonder whether they’re clean. I’d prefer just getting coffee from a central place with fresh milk, etc.

  7. I also like my coffee strong and in-room coffee is almost always awful. The trend with Keurig (such as at the Hilton Garden Inn in Seattle where I am now) has just made the problem worse and I now travel with starbucks instant packets so I can make strong (although not great) coffee in-room.

    My day also brightens when I see a coffee station in the lobby. Here at the HGI, the coffee they serve in the lobby is pretty good. I carry a Zojirushi SM-KHE48BA Stainless Steel Mug with me and fill it up in the morning….

  8. Nespresso in room will actually make me chose one hotel over another. I’m a huge coffee drinker (5-6 cups/day) and I appreciate the option to wake up and put a cup on right away.. I always request extra capsules and none of that silly decaf stuff….


  9. When they have those Starbucks Kitamu single serve pods or similar I usually double up to get the necessary strength. This can backfire though and make a mess. Definitely prefer in lobby coffee. San Francisco W had good lobby coffee, I agree somehow you remember that.

  10. Agree with Nespresso. Park Hyatt Paris had Nespresso in the room with plenty of capsules and real cream bullets for my early AM pre walk coffee.

  11. Neil makes a valid point. Some of the cheaper hotel chains seem to do this more it seems.

    I have to say, my best morning coffee experience was in at the HK Penninsula. Wake up, call for a pot, and before I could get my robe on, there was a knock on the door! And the coffee was hot and was like silk!

  12. Nespresso or Illy pods are my favorite. I love a shot or two of a string espresso to start the day. Also, most hotels only include regular coffee (watery American coffee) in their breakfast buffets and charge a fortune for a expresso if you order one. Thus, having an espresso machine in the room is great.

  13. There’s another advantage to cheap motels. When I was in KS/MO, all th hotels had free in room coffee, or free coffee in the lobby 24/7. (It sometimes got pretty cold, though)

  14. The Omni does a great job with coffee. They have a deal where if you are a member of their loyalty program they will deliver a free coffee service to your room every morning. You just fill out a card and hang it on the door at night, then they deliver it at the time you said, and will usually just leave it outside your door. It’s a great perk, no status required.

  15. Part of my loyalty to SPG has been the coffee. Between executive lounges with machines and/or free in room Sbux and tea, it’s of huge value to me. I have found most lower cost chains (i.e. Comfort Inn) have free coffee but it’s watered down, usually cold. Kudos to Philadelphia Le Meridian which offers free Illy in the lobby by 6 am.

  16. It’s usual practice of Radisson BLU in Europe to offer coffee and some pastries at the lobbby every morning from 5 am or so 🙂

  17. You don’t have to be travelling for cafe` in the morning!

    Europe most local cafes are open from 5am and the coffee is way better than the hotel. Nth America is coffee lovers desert while things have improved it still is very hit and miss, miss, so it’s double shot small, tiny, diet size or whatever they call small and Lavazza pods.
    Have an espresso machine at home for 30+ years (boiler), one for travelling (heat exchanger) and even a stove top. Cafe` without cremea is not coffeeeeeeeeee.

    I take pride in Starbucks not being able to stay in business in Australia except for the odd tourist spot. “Australia is the most sophisticated coffee market we have encountered”.
    The purest cafe` doesn’t have de cafe, soy, fat free oh and ask for a flavour and watch the reaction. Order the blend, the extraction method oh and they must go together or the server will give you at least a funny look? Life before coffee…….

  18. Espresso machines in lounges often run extra water through when you push the “double shot” button this saves them money and weakens the coffee. Push the single shot when the coffee hits the cup count to three remove cup if machine is still pouring coffee let it go, repeat process and you have a better double shot. That might even taste like coffee. If you want milk with it I.e. Latte and machine does both at once same process you waste some milk.

  19. The problem with in-room coffee is that it’s terrible quality. Doesn’t matter if it comes in a bag or a pod or a tiny cup. It’s the beans and the roasting method that suck. That and however many months its been ground up, packaged, and left sitting in various warehouses and stockrooms. Coffee is such a simple thing to get right. Too bad it’s even easier to get it totally wrong.

  20. In that situation I usually just ask the front desk “Where can I get a cup of coffee at this hour?” and if there’s no obvious source they just produce one from their own supply.

  21. The Shangri-La Makati (Manila) is great for having the Nespresso set up at 4AM, which is a good thing since a large number of guests are working at nearby BPO locations that operate on US hours. Stumbling out of a van with your driver and into a dark hotel lobby is made all the better when the Nespresso is waiting for you to get you through the 2nd half of your day/night.

  22. I absolutely love the convenience of having a fancy coffee/espresso machine in the club lounge of my most-frequented Sheraton hotel. It was a huge bummer when the machine broke down – took them months to fix it up but it’s back and everything is well 😀

    Sure, it’s simple enough to make a coffee using an in-room coffee maker but I usually try to get a room on the same floor as the lounge specifically so that it’s very quick for me to make a coffee/tea/snack run.

  23. Couldn’t care less about coffee (don’t drink it!) but agree how annoying it is when even supposed ‘airport’ hotels don’t start serving breakfast until 06:30/07:00 – if you’re on an early morning flight you already need to be at your gate by then!

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