Two weeks in Thailand and here’s what I remember most: breakfast at the Bangkok Peninsula. Not to say the capital’s spired wats weren’t inspiring or the sugar-white beaches didn’t tantalize, but there isn't a bigger sucker for exotic fruits, tiny jars of jam, freshly baked pasties, and foamy cappuccinos than me. After 24 hours of travel and a jet-lagged night’s sleep, nothing could have looked better on the first morning in Bangkok than the sprawling breakfast buffet at the palatial hotel’s River Cafe and Terrace.
I ate breakfast for two very civilized hours that morning — golden pistachio brioches, dumplings, strips of lemon-yellow jackfruit (which tastes exactly like a stick of less sweet Juicy Fruit) doused in fresh lime juice. The cappuccino was piping hot, the morning pleasantly cool, and long-tail boats plyed the choppy Chao Phraya River just beyond the Cafe’s balustrade.
There’s no underestimating the power of a perfect croissant — the pure mindless serenity of peeling it like a banana, layer by flaky pastry layer, could be the calling card of a relaxing vacation — or orange juice squeezed to order. A dozen vials of curds, marmalades, and preserves? A hassle at home, sure, but a leisurely joy on vacation. But breakfast’s greatest asset is that, more than any other meal, it tells you where you are. In the Carolina Lowcountry, for example, the award-winning Inn at Palmetto Bluff lards visitors with locally milled grits and oats and sticky buns baked in skillets, and on the Baja Peninsula, the bean-and-cheese-topped molletes at the Hacienda del Mar arrive on rolls as long as surfboards.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then resorts across the world should be sinking serious capital into their a.m. eats. From the Eternal City to the City of Brotherly Love, here are some of the ones that do it best.