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Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Heads in Beds: A Reck­less Mem­oir of Hotels, Hus­tles, and So-C

Heads in Beds: A Reck­less Mem­oir of Hotels, Hus­tles, and So-Called Hos­pi­tal­ity by Jacob Tom­sky tells about the author’s decades of expe­ri­ence within the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try. Mr. Tom­sky has started work­ing in hotels as a valet, got pro­moted to man­age­me...
Heads in Beds: A Reck­less Mem­oir of Hotels, Hus­tles, and So-Called Hos­pi­tal­ity by Jacob Tom­sky tells about the author’s decades of expe­ri­ence within the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try. Mr. Tom­sky has started work­ing in hotels as a valet, got pro­moted to man­age­ment and worked in many other roles within the industry.

The book is a per­fect book for the trav­eler, a look into what peo­ple in all lev­els in hotels go through to make your stay smooth and how you can make it smoother. The book is a quick read, funny and some­times offen­sive (in a good way).

Mr. Tom­sky started out his career in New Orleans, but is now liv­ing for a long time inNew York City. The writ­ing reflects East Coast humor, jest­ing which in other parts of the coun­try is deemed offen­sive, rude and would likely get you beaten up or killed in some parts.

In my trav­els, I have tipped room ser­vice and bell hops before but never thought to do so with desk clerks. Now I know that I need to shall out a few bucks to make my stay more enjoyable.

How­ever, unlike other indus­tries where tips are given, in the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try tips go a much longer way. The author claims that when you give a tip to the desk clerk (it’s a bribe, come on who are we kid­ding?) the desk clerk will do a lot to make your stay bet­ter, from upgrades to free “stuff”. Some­thing I will per­son­ally have to try next time I stay anywhere.

The dif­fer­ence between a bribe given to a front desk clerk at a hotel and your friendly neigh­bor­hood politi­cian is that the bribe you give to the desk clerk actu­ally gets bet­ter results. The desk clerk will work and hus­tle for you to earn the money he/she was given and you will enjoy the results (or so the author claims — I'll try it myself at my next hotel stay.

The book could use a bit of edit­ing, not much but some of the sen­tences are too long and sev­eral of the chap­ters skip back and fourth between sub­jects. I read an advanced reader copy (ARC), so please take this with a grain of salt since I don’t know if the final book will be the one I read.

The author’s frus­tra­tion with his cho­sen pro­fes­sion, or a pro­fes­sion which chose him (the case for most work­ing Amer­i­cans if it’s any con­so­la­tion for Tom­sky), comes out with wit and intel­li­gence while spit­ting bolts of fire – a remark­able achieve­ment in my opinion.

At the back of the book Mr. Tom­sky included two very funny appen­dices "Things a Guest Should Never Do" and "Things Every Guest Must Know" which are an excel­lent way to close the book.

posted by Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com on November 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Mmmmm its ok

I read this, and while I enjoyed some of the authors stories, I found his writing style kind of boring. Some of his stories were kind of blah too. I purchased this hoping it would read like Steve DuBlanica's "Waiter Rant", a funny insightful look into the hotel industry...
I read this, and while I enjoyed some of the authors stories, I found his writing style kind of boring. Some of his stories were kind of blah too. I purchased this hoping it would read like Steve DuBlanica's "Waiter Rant", a funny insightful look into the hotel industry. I just did not like it as much.

posted by 10286544 on November 26, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Heads in Beds: A Reck­less Mem­oir of Hotels, Hus­tles, and So-C

    Heads in Beds: A Reck­less Mem­oir of Hotels, Hus­tles, and So-Called Hos­pi­tal­ity by Jacob Tom­sky tells about the author’s decades of expe­ri­ence within the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try. Mr. Tom­sky has started work­ing in hotels as a valet, got pro­moted to man­age­ment and worked in many other roles within the industry.

    The book is a per­fect book for the trav­eler, a look into what peo­ple in all lev­els in hotels go through to make your stay smooth and how you can make it smoother. The book is a quick read, funny and some­times offen­sive (in a good way).

    Mr. Tom­sky started out his career in New Orleans, but is now liv­ing for a long time inNew York City. The writ­ing reflects East Coast humor, jest­ing which in other parts of the coun­try is deemed offen­sive, rude and would likely get you beaten up or killed in some parts.

    In my trav­els, I have tipped room ser­vice and bell hops before but never thought to do so with desk clerks. Now I know that I need to shall out a few bucks to make my stay more enjoyable.

    How­ever, unlike other indus­tries where tips are given, in the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try tips go a much longer way. The author claims that when you give a tip to the desk clerk (it’s a bribe, come on who are we kid­ding?) the desk clerk will do a lot to make your stay bet­ter, from upgrades to free “stuff”. Some­thing I will per­son­ally have to try next time I stay anywhere.

    The dif­fer­ence between a bribe given to a front desk clerk at a hotel and your friendly neigh­bor­hood politi­cian is that the bribe you give to the desk clerk actu­ally gets bet­ter results. The desk clerk will work and hus­tle for you to earn the money he/she was given and you will enjoy the results (or so the author claims — I'll try it myself at my next hotel stay.

    The book could use a bit of edit­ing, not much but some of the sen­tences are too long and sev­eral of the chap­ters skip back and fourth between sub­jects. I read an advanced reader copy (ARC), so please take this with a grain of salt since I don’t know if the final book will be the one I read.

    The author’s frus­tra­tion with his cho­sen pro­fes­sion, or a pro­fes­sion which chose him (the case for most work­ing Amer­i­cans if it’s any con­so­la­tion for Tom­sky), comes out with wit and intel­li­gence while spit­ting bolts of fire – a remark­able achieve­ment in my opinion.

    At the back of the book Mr. Tom­sky included two very funny appen­dices "Things a Guest Should Never Do" and "Things Every Guest Must Know" which are an excel­lent way to close the book.

    18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Good quick read

    Interesting insight into the luxury hotel industry. A bit repetative at points but all in all a fun and quick read.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Author: Jacob Tomsky Published By: Double
























    Author: Jacob Tomsky
    Published By: Doubleday
    Age Recommended: Adult
    Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
    Blog For: GMTA
    Rating: 4

    Review:

    "Heads in Beds:A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality" by Jacob Tomsky was quite a interesting memoir read especially for those of us who have travels and stayed in many hotel establishments. This author shared with the reader many laughs, a lots of repetition of anecdotes...with some attitude and his personal life especially his hospitality experience. You are able to follow him from New Orleans as valet.. got promoted to management ..then to work in many other roles within the industry. Mr. Tomsky visit Europe but finally ends up in New York. I felt that this author tells it all.."including the shortcuts the housekeepers take, the hustles the bellhops make, and what is required to motivate your front desk agent to give you a better room (hint: money)."

    The essential points of the memoir aspect of this book are "A degree in Philosophy was useless for him.. working with the general public sucks, and bellhops make good money." A lot of this was humorous for the reader but when you think of it...couldn't this be true? Yes! This was a quick read that was even humorous at times and let me mention that the language was a little offensive... however, I still liked this novel and how this author felt about this job. I definitely felt this novel can make you a lots smarter... for instance...I did learn a little more about the tipping of the desk clerk...hay...they can make your trip more enjoyable. So, why not tip? I also enjoyed the two funny appendices "Things a Guest Should Never Do" and "Things Every Guest Must Know" which are an excellent way to close the book." What is up with the 'crinkly handshake' that you give the doorman? I found out about tips on "how to get out of Movies, Mini bar, Upgraded Rooms, and the best one how to get out of a late cancellation without paying the cancellation fee." Now I am not saying you should do this but.... This is where I say you must pick up this novel and you can get a real awareness of what goes on inside the hotel hospitality system.

    With that being said, Yes, I would really recommend "Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality" as a good read. If you are looking for a funny read with a lot of interesting experience ....you have come to the right place. Now..... let me also say: This is a ADULT READ...due to its language.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    Having been in the travel industry for 10 years and, more recent

    Having been in the travel industry for 10 years and, more recently, been a corporate traveler, I learned a great deal from the stories Tomsky told. And no, I didn't realize tipping/bribing the front desk clerk would get me an upgrade, etc. This is a must read for all travelers.
    However, the F word was used entirely too much. I'm not a prude (heaven knows, I use the F word myself) but there were times it seemed to be thrown in for shock value or just because. That made the last few chapters drag for me. I wanted to know whether he left the industry or stayed on but forced myself to read to the end.
    By the way, the information he tells is invaluable to all travelers so I guess it was worth the reading.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    Working as a Front Desk Manager (read that to mean Assistant Gen

    Working as a Front Desk Manager (read that to mean Assistant General Manager since he's not around much), in a much smaller hotel, I can say there is a lot of truth in Heads in Beds. Although we don't have bellhops, large housekeeping staff, restaurant, etc. I think I've met most of the guests he describes! My wife kept asking "what" when I'd laugh or comment on what I was reading. I just wish we got the tips he did (I think I've gotten $10 in two years ...). Liked this book so much I bought two more to share with my Hospitality friends!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A delightful book!  Lots of humor, lots of tips on how to "

    A delightful book!  Lots of humor, lots of tips on how to "work the system" when staying in American hotels.  Am I the only person who hasn't thought to tip the desk clerk?  Just hadn't thought of it, and to think of all the benefits a bill or two could possibly come my way.  Even without the tips, this books is well worth the read.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Not what I Expected

    An excellent book. It gives great advice tucked in a well written narrative. The protagonist has a gift of the gab about his world and the book is a smooth entryway into it. Its so good, I wish it was longer!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Funny!

    I worked for a ski resort, so I can commiserate. Fun, quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    what a fun read

    dont do big travel myself but loved the book.....what a life to lead and what a great guide for wordly travelers..i will NOT tip ever ever

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Staying Alive in the Hotel Business

    A punchy but entertaining exposition of one man's love-hate relationship with a career in the hospitality business in New Orleans and New York. Along the way the author points out, with many examples, how people on both sides of the check-in desk do and don't get their way. We learn that union membership has benefits for job security as well as what can happen when guests do not tip appropriately and what happens when guests do tip appropriately. For the author, the rewards of staying in the business outweigh the frustrations, but one comes away from the narrative with the sense that anyone who makes a career out of hospitality must of necessity be made of sterner stuff than the average career person.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Enjoyable. But not great literature

    You learn some things. Enjoyed his valet parking stories. Seems to be well-paid work, if you can tolerate the hours.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. Although I admit I had been hoping

    I really enjoyed this book. Although I admit I had been hoping to learn some of the dirty little secrets of how a hotel runs (you know, the stuff that would make me never want to stay in a hotel again), I really enjoyed reading about the author's accidental career in the industry. I was mostly impressed with how he managed to be harassed and annoyed by co-workers and customers alike, yet still somehow cares about providing quality. So many people out there obviously don't care, whether they started out that way or if it was beat out of them, I don't know. But when he gets back in the game, I hope it is for someone who appreciates that he cares about the outcome. Written in a natural, conversational style (a little too much gratuitous swearing, but you get used to it) Well done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    I enjoyed reading this book!

    I loved this book especially since I'm from New Orleans and work in the hospitality industry. I read and I can relate to everything in this book from guests to employers and employees. Great book! I gave it a four star rating only because of the strong language but even then it's a great read!

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  • Posted February 3, 2013

    I totally loved this book, full of great information and very en

    I totally loved this book, full of great information and very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Recommended Reading

    An entertaining and informative read from the operational front lines of the hotel industry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Entertaining read

    NT

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    A great read. It's especially interesting if you work in the hospitality environment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Recommend if you travel much

    Very informative!

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A great read. I really enjoyed his writing style. Would love for him to write more on his life and adventures !

    Great read! Im not in the business but learned alot about it from an insiders point of view without it being a lecture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    Fun Read

    Shame on people who are rude and nasty to anyone in the service industry. Nice to have a book that brings a light to some of the hidious behavoir from hotel guests. The management in the hotel was worse than the guests, dispicsble.
    I wish the author well & thanks for the helpful tips about the industry. There didnt need to be so many F words in the book. One question. If my electronic key doesnt work at some point - does that mean I was key bommed?

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