News & Insights 13 February 2009

The Lightyears’ International 5-Star Hotel Breakfast Richter Scale

 

As you will probably be aware if you have been following our band for a while, food is incredibly important to us. We just got back from a storming tour of Cape Town, South Africa, and the many hours spent anticipating, enjoying and rating the various breakfasts on offer has prompted me to create something which I really should have dealt with a long time ago – The Lightyears’ International 5-Star Hotel Breakfast Richter Scale.

Man cannot live on chord sequences alone and when you’re out on the road it is imperative that you are adequately fed, lest your capacity to rock serious ass is threatened by low blood-sugar levels.

In short, eat your heart out Lonely Planet – this is the intrepid explorer’s real guide to eating abroad. Venues are listed in top five order, with number one representing the crème de la crème of hotel breakfasts:   

5. Somerset Palace, Seoul
The Somerset was our first experience of 5-star hotel breakfast-buffet eating and as a result will always hold a special place in our hearts. It has a simple elegance to it and is the only hotel on this list to offer live TV news during your meal. It opens early, at 6am, which is obviously of no use to us until the morning after the gig, during which we have become infamous for turning up at 6am on the dot, still suited, for a post all-nighter nosh-up before crashing into the jacuzzi and, eventually, bed. Pastries are reasonable, eggs are adequate and the bread-toasting machine is a pleasing little gadget, almost Wallace & Gromit-esque in its inventiveness. Slightly suspicious of the little sausages though. Always gotta wonder about the sausages.

4. The Laguna Beach Resort, Phuket
The Laguna scores points early on for effectively being outdoors. It rates highly on the Yoghurt Counter too for variety of flavours and from what I can remember also serves decent baked beans. Beans are often a problem when one is abroad – some hotels consider themselves too chic to serve baked beans (this is obviously ridiculous) and others go for a sort of posh bean medley containing butter beans, kidney beans, mung beans and the like, which I’m not averse to per se but which if I’m honest only over-complicates a classic breakfast staple. The Laguna also turned a blind eye to us appearing for our morning meal dressed only in matching hotel bath-robes and sunglasses, for which I believe the staff deserve a special commendation. Oh, and where else but in Phuket are you joined for breakfast by a dancing, juggling, harmonica-playing elephant? Mind you, I requested “Love Me Do” and received only a blank look in response. One-trick pony, if you ask me. 

3. The Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town
Like Thailand’s Laguna Resort, the Table Bay boasts the accolade of being one of the “500 Leading Hotels In The World”. However, it inches ahead of it’s Phuketian classmate by the skin of its teeth, thanks to a few high-class cherries on the cake that might surprise even the most discerning traveller. How imaginative, I thought, how recherché, to serve freshly roast duck in hoisin sauce for the opening dish of the day! The sushi was a pleasing touch too, although I couldn’t quite stretch to oysters. It’s one of my many travelling mantras that one should avoid eating anything that closely resembles phlegm for breakfast. Oh, and Michael Jackson, Snoop Doggy Dog, Kanye West and Jack Bauer have all dined here (although I doubt Bauer got much eating done – he was probably too busy uploading government schematics to his PDA and de-wiring suitcase nukes using only his eyelids).

2. British Airways Business Class Cabin, International Airspace
Yes, alright, this is technically not a hotel; however, I feel it warrants its place in the Top Five because we had to sleep in it and nice ladies bought us whatever we asked of them without once ticking us off for being immature and in that sense it mimicked my experience of hotels precisely. Plus I have stayed in hotels with less comfortable beds, believe me, and none of them faced the challenge of being 40,000 feet above the ground and hurtling around at 600mph. The thing about this particular breakfast experience was that, well, the attendants had furnished us with fine champagne before we’d even sniffed a soupçon of the food on offer. And a day that starts with champagne can never, ever be a bad day. What followed was a preposterously sumptuous smorgasbord of delights that included quails’ eggs, salmon roe, truffles and fillet steak. And I got to watch The Big Lebowski whilst I was eating. Everybody left happy. 

1. The Grand Hyatt Hotel, Seoul
And so we have a winner. As a hotel, The Hyatt may not have the flare of the Table Bay or the easy charm of the Laguna, but by George it steals the breakfast crown with flying colours. It has a carvery. It has pastries that will melt your face with desire. It covers every corner of the juice gamet. It boasts a view of the entire city. When we ate there we rubbed shoulders with the Dutch national football team. It has everything – and, most importantly, the Hyatt has Eggman. Eggman stands solemnly by a majestic breakfast hob, awaiting instructions, weaving his yolky magic on request as if it were the easiest thing in the world. He is a mythical figure, very much like Zeus or Agamemnon, except that Zeus couldn’t simultaneously flash-fry five immacuate omelettes whilst also scrambling a cheese, chive, pepper, bacon and egg combo to perfection. He has nothing to do with John Lennon’s eggman, who as far as I know was never employed by the Hyatt hotel chain and in any case can’t speak fifteen languages like Eggman can. He is our saviour. He is Eggman.

And so there you have it. Next time you visit one of these locations on tour you can dispense with your over-priced Rough Guide and instead simply heed my words. For it is impossible to feel sorrow when God bestows upon you a plentiful and resplendent breakfast buffet. 

Munch it down. 

Chris Lightyear

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