I’m a travel writer and here’s why the best thing about a holiday is… the hotel buffet breakfast (plus the best strategy to make the most of it)

Forget water parks, temples, shopping, monuments — nothing quite gets my family going like a breakfast buffet.

And the more lavish and ostentatiously over the top, the better.

Towering displays of mini pastries and muffins scattered with decorative strawberries. Yards of beautifully fanned and segmented fruit. Burnished silver domes promising the full English. Juices lined up like a vitamin rainbow.

We have a set routine. First, reserve a table — outside, shade not sun.

Next, we complete one full circuit with no plate. We scope every display area — the egg chefs, waffle stations, yoghurts, birchers and the inevitable Scandi zone of salmon and caper berries — and plan our attack. My younger son, Sandy, ten, makes a beeline for the pancake chef.

Jane Fryer (not pictured) writes a paean to the breakfast buffet, complete with her family’s savvy strategy to savour every morsel of this holiday ritual 

Freddy, 12, might veer into the Orient with spicy noodles and spring rolls. My husband and I usually start with an austere side plate of fruit, and then go mad.

Long in the past, when we were amateurs, we grabbed it all at once. Loosely scrambled eggs leaking into waffles with maple syrup. Sushi and yoghurt sharing a plate with a Danish pastry.

Now, like finely honed army snipers, we run endless solo missions from our family HQ. And we set personal bests —Sandy currently holds the family record of 12 visits in one sitting — which make happy memories to carry us through the dark winter months.

The first step of Jane's breakfast buffet routine is to reserve a table outside in the shade

The first step of Jane’s breakfast buffet routine is to reserve a table outside in the shade 

After a good hour of selecting, piling, eating and admiring each other’s choices — our work is done.

Naturally, we leave with pockets bulging with nuts, nectarines, yoghurts, pastries and, once, a rogue salmon roll.

Because, after all, we’re bound to need a little something before lunch.

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