Floating breakfasts are a popular amenity at Koh Samui's Cape Fahn Hotel.
Courtesy of Cape Fahn
If you follow luxury resorts or travel influencers on Instagram, odds are good that you've seen at least one "floating breakfast."
In case you're not familiar with them, here's what to know: they're your typical upscale hotel room service breakfast -- think toast, fruit, coffee and the like -- served in a pool or hot tub instead of in bed. Usually, they're placed on large platters or colorful baskets, then accessorized with bright tropical flowers to make them even more photogenic.
These breakfasts are particularly popular in Asia and the Pacific, especially at warm-weather private villa resorts in places like Thailand, Fiji and the Maldives.
While these breakfasts have become more common on resort menus over the last five years, the coronavirus pandemic has made them more popular than ever as hotel guests are avoiding buffets and communal dining rooms.
The floating breakfast has quickly become yet another luxury hotel amenity, like afternoon tea or a turndown treat. Amid the pandemic, domestic travelers taking advantage of affordable staycations have also embraced floating breakfasts.
Timo Kuenzli, general manager of Koh Samui's all-pool-villa Cape Fahn Hotel, says that nearly 100% of their guests over the past year have ordered one.
"We can definitely see that the Asian market is way more into having Instagrammable moments to capture than other markets," he says.
And due to its growing presence, resorts have to keep upping the ante in order to make their offering stand out.
Screenshot from Instagram
The Six Senses Uluwatu in Bali serves theirs in a red heart-shaped basket. The Anantara in Koh Phangan, Thailand, has a floating "sunset sushi" extravaganza. Cape Fahn is working on a floating afternoon tea experience.
Are these breakfasts just made to be shared online and discarded, or do people genuinely enjoy eating them?
James Booth, a Sydney-based reporter for DMarge.com, tells CNN Travel that, for him, the lush meal worked better in concept than in execution.
"I realized that because it was a humid environment, leaving your breakfast out was maybe not ideal," he says.
"The coffee had a bit of pool water in it, and the bread was soggy." he confesses.
Regardless of your personal opinion on the merits of Instagram-centric hotel offerings, it looks like these floating meals have gone from fad to mainstay. Just remember to drink the coffee first.