So This Is What The €25 Breakfast In The Westbury Looks Like
And no, that sausage isn't made from unicorn and magic
In case you missed it, the Westbury in Dublin became the latest target of public ire earlier this week.
A user on Twitter posted a receipt showing that she'd been charged €25 for a breakfast, and €5.40 for an Americano – a price list that made several question whether Ireland was returning to the worst rip-off excesses of the Celtic Tiger.
But value and cost are two different things, and sometimes a high price tag can be justified.
Was this the case in the Westbury? We headed along to find out – and the answer, sadly, is a big fat no.
The original receipt that caused all the ire
They seemed a little surprised to see a non-guest come in for breakfast
There was a bit of internal discussion, before one member of staff concluded ‘yes, we can do that’.
It really does cost €25
Like, actually. That receipt wasn't an error.
Coffee prices aren’t listed
Your coffee comes free with the full and continental breakfasts – so I'm not charged an additional fee as the original tweeter was – but this doesn’t change the fact that the list price for an Americano is €5.40.
And, given that the coffee prices are not on display anywhere, you could be very badly stung if you join someone for breakfast and order just a coffee for yourself.
This is what it looks like
There is a continental option – but nobody tells you about it
It’s behind you as you come in the door, and alluded to on the menu – but there’s actually a pretty impressive continental buffet tucked away in one corner of the room. It's €15, which is perhaps a bit ludicrous in itself, but then that depends on how hungry you are.
The only problem? Nobody actually tells you about it, or points you in its direction when you sit down or order. This was the issue that the original tweeter had, and sure enough it's the issue I find myself.
There is no option on the menu to order the full Irish without the continental buffet
So there’s no option to pay less than €25. For this.
The service is… grand
After the kerfuffle over whether to accept me or not, the staff are sound. It’s nothing spectacular, and food takes its time to arrive, but they’re pretty sound all the same.
But they do that really annoying thing with the butter
Served up so rock hard that you can NEVER USE IT.
And, given the toast comes in that unique soggy form so beloved of hotels, this creates problems...
And the rest is pretty basic
The potato cake is very dry, and the muffin feels like it was toasted earlier in the day, but to be fair, these would be minor complaints at any other price point. Even as they are, they're not worth bringing up unless you want to be that customer.
The rest of what’s on the plate – aside from the eggs, which are very nicely poached – is just profoundly underwhelming, basic, unimaginative and generally disappointing. There are so, SO many things you could better spend that €25 on in this city that it's seriously saddening.
Okay. So a fair price would be…
Approaching this from a consumer point of view, and based on other Dublin prices, €9 at a push – maybe €14 if you throw in the continental offering they keep so well hidden, based on how little of it one would actually consume alongside a full Irish, and the coffee.
Sure let's be sound and say €16, at a push, if you add in the fact it's in a hotel.
If the Simpsons has taught us anything, it’s that buffets aren’t supposed to be priced on the basis that you eat literally everything that’s available to you – and even if you did, and paid €25 for the pleasure of feeling nauseous, you’d still feel the cost wouldn’t be justified.
Then what are we actually paying for here?
Five-star surroundings and top-grade service? No. Neither of those elements are good enough to justify that much of a discrepancy.
To be fair, the A La Carte options actually look really decent, and far more reasonably priced – so it’s perhaps a case of ‘buyer beware’, and just avoid this specific item – but there’s no getting away from the fact that this is an utterly obscene price for what you get.
Based on the clientele I heard around me and the reaction I got as a ‘walk-in’, this is a place aimed squarely at captive hotel guests – with the aim of squeezing an extra euro or 10 out of tourists, and ensuring they go home thoroughly underwhelmed by the food on offer in Ireland.
This is the Ireland we’re heading back towards. And this is the very sort of behaviour we have to avoid and reject if we’re to prevent this from happening.
Like I said, there are plenty of places where €25 would go a hell of a lot further than here; places where you wouldn't be pleasantly surprised to find that your eggs had been properly poached.
So to hell with places like The Westbury – let's use them, and encourage our visitors to do the same.