Business hotel’s freebie may not be fancy, but it’s exactly what we want.

In air travel, flying business class implies a more upscale experience, with the connotation being that you’re a jet-setting professional with a generous company expense account. The class of accommodations in Japan called “business hotels,” though, get their name from the idea that the people staying in them are in town for work, not for vacation, and so they need only the most basic of amenities.

Because of their low prices and convenient locations, nowadays a lot of leisure travelers use business hotels too, but they’ve still got a reputation for being pretty sparse on luxuries. So imagine our surprise when we checked in to a branch of nationwide business hotel Dormy Inn and saw a card on the desk in our room, with text in both Japanese and English that said:

“As a welcome gift, a complimentary treat is available inside the refrigerator.”

To clarify, business hotels don’t put chocolates on your pillow like fancier hotels do. In terms of complimentary refreshments, pretty much all you can expect is a green tea bag or two, and maybe a coffee packet, to make a drink yourself with the in-room hot water kettle.

Curious to see what sort of treat this budget-friendly business hotel had prepared for us, we threw open the refrigerator door, and waiting for us inside was…

…a cup of purin, Japanese-style custard pudding!

This is part of Dormy Inn’s new Tabi Suru Sweets/Traveling Sweets service. If you’re checking in to a hotel, obviously you’re coming from somewhere relatively far away (if you weren’t you’d just go home and sleep there, right?). You’re probably a little tired and a little hungry, but probably not ready to hit the sack or eat a whole meal just yet. So at that time, what better way to recharge your body and spirits than by having a seat and enjoying some sweets?

This isn’t some cheap, chintzy purin either. It’s smooth-textured and firm, in the classical style served at Japanese dessert cafes.

The caramel sauce even comes in its own separate packet so that you can add it just before eating and keep from making the pudding soggy.

Popping a spoonful into our mouth, the cool, sweet, and creamy sensations were rejuvenating and joy-inducing. It was so good that our taste buds would have been fine eating two or three servings all at once, but honestly the moderate but reasonable portion size is just right: big enough to make you happy, but not so big that you’ll be too full to go sightseeing after you rest your feet. You can even opt to take the purin home with you if you haven’t eaten yours by the time you’re checking out.

▼ The portion size also helps you save room for the free soba noodles that Dormy Inn offers nightly from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

The Traveling Sweets service is being offered at all Dormy Inn locations except those in the Tokyo area. Oh, and the purin is officially classified as “Round 1” of the Traveling Sweets, so we’re already looking forward to what’s going to be in Domry Inn’s guestroom fridges when Round 2 starts.

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