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

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

by Jacob Tomsky
3.9 107

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Overview

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

In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential and Waiter Rant, a rollicking, eye-opening, fantastically indiscreet memoir of a life spent (and misspent) in the hotel industry.

Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.

Heads in Beds is a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.

Along his journey Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307948342
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/30/2013
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 163,790
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jacob Tomsky is a dedicated veteran of the hospitality business. Well-spoken, uncannily quick on his feet, and no more honest than he needs to be, he also is the founder and president of Short Story Thursdays, a weekly, email based short story club. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, O Magazine, The Daily Beast, and other venues. Born in Oakland, California, to a military family, Tomsky now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

www.jacobtomsky.com

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Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting insight into the luxury hotel industry. A bit repetative at points but all in all a fun and quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If work in a hotel or have ever worked in a hotel (lifer myself) you will LOVE this book. I cant say enough how great this book is. So just do yourself a favor and read it.. you can thank me later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As good as Kitchen Confidential!
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
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.
DaveA31 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
SherryInk More than 1 year ago
My husband commented "I hate it when you find a really good book." 'Cause I had trouble putting this page-turner down. I thoroughly enjoyed following the author from his first job as a parking valet in New Orleans to his last job as a front desk guy in New York. All the little behind the scenes politics, minutae and fun, without being gross or scary. I highly recommend this read for all writers, travelers and hospitality industry workers. Bravo, Mr. Tomsky!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It started out great. Held my interest, and was hysterical and true, But it quickly became repetitious and a bit boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I happened to read the review of this book while traveling. It sounded interesting so bought it when I got home (I had nothing to read on the plane so looked for it at the airport in Miami - it hadn't been released to airport stores yet.) As a frequent traveler, I really wanted to love this book. Other than being an elite member of a chain of hotels, I was hoping to learn the secrets to securing upgrades and freebies. While I was surprised to learn that front desk agents welcome "tips", little else about the book gave me concrete advise. I felt the pain and frustration that "Tom" often experienced with his employer - yet I'm sorry to say that unless one stays in hotels on a regular basis, I don't see much reason for reading this book other than getting into the head of a guy that is unhappy, frustrated and has little direction in life.
Mystery_Rdr More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining, funny, and educational!
Piano More than 1 year ago
Jacob Tomsky rocked it!!! Well written, hilarious with such an easy flow. He explains from all points of view from front desk, to valet, to bellman, to doorman,...to guests and their etiquette. He covers a lot of detail and opens your eyes in such a concise witty book.  What you will get from this book is excellent details and tips on how to book and get better rooms, how to cancel a room and not pay a penalty, how to use the mini bar, and not at your own expense, how to treat the bellman to get tourist guide, or for anything you need from directions to sports or best plays and restaurants without bothering the concierge. It's quicker anyway. And most importantly, how to approach the front desk and get them to give you the room you really want, after all, the  check in clerk has access to the computer and sees its layout, not the doorman or concierge, so treat accordingly;-).  You will get all this useful info through funny stories, laid out matter of facttly, from the man that checked in celebrities, tourists, and locals. That's right, he includes all types and it's insightful.  Again he rocked it! Solid integrity to hospitality! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, loved the writing voice, loved the characters, loved the details of the hustles. Should be required reading for anyone with a platinum or higher AmEx card.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
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.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny and informative
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trash. This book has a very shallow plot and is laced with profanity. The author loves the F word and other 7th grade vocabulary. I usually give away books when I finish them. This time I will throw the book away.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Couldn't put it down. Laughed and learned a lot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had me laughing throughout the entire book! I work at a hotel so I felt like I was able to relate to the characters mentioned because they remind me of fellow co-workers! Great book!
Love_To_ReadLK More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed the book!  It was funny, entertaining, informative and easy to read.  What an insight to the ins and outs of the hotel industry!   Let's just say, I'll never drink from a glass in a hotel room again.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a seasoned road warrior this book.was to the hotel industry what kitchen confidential was to restaurants. Deliciously fun to read. Tore through it in less than 3 days on this week's trip. Will never treat the front the same again and as one who so often does not have cash a few baby bricks will be in my ever ready toiletries bag going forward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago