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

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

ISBN13: 9780385535632
ISBN10: 0385535635
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Funny, familiar, and revealing, Jacob Tomsky's insider exposé on the hotel industry is an easy and entertaining read. Follow one man's journey through the hotel employment system, from valet to front desk to housekeeping, and learn how to work every angle of the system perfectly to your advantage. Balanced with humorous, dark, and downright ridiculous anecdotes, Heads in Beds will keep you hooked right up until you "check out" on the final page. And along the way, Tomsky will poignantly inform and remind you of what it really means to serve in and be served by the American service industry.
Recommended by Michelle M, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Those who want a hotel up-grade, who must make a same-day room cancellation without getting charged, or wonder why hotel water sometimes tastes like lemon Pledge need look no further than Tomsky's memoir, a collection of stories, memories, and secrets about the hospitality business. Bouncing around various hotel jobs — bellman, housekeeping manager, front desk attendant — for more than a 10 years, he's got the skinny that would make most travel sites blush. Follow his advice and you'll be drinking from the mini-bar and watching in-room movies for free. But this is more than a collection of trade secrets; it's a colorful tale filled with vibrant characters from crazy bellman to even crazier guests. Tomsky is a solid storyteller who is able to intricately detail all the insanity surrounding him. Agent: Farley Chase." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Heads in Beds is Mr. Tomsky’s highly amusing guidebook to the dirty little secrets of the hospitality trade. But it is neither a meanspirited book nor a one-sided one....[H]e winds up sounding like an essentially honest, decent guy. And his observations about character are keen, perhaps because he’s seen it all....If this were simply a travel book of the news-you-can-use ilk, it would be of only minor interest. But Mr. Tomsky turns out to be an effervescent writer, with enough snark to make his stories sharp-edged but without the self-promoting smugness that sinks so many memoirs....Heads in Beds embraces the full, novelistic breadth of hotel experience....[Tomsky] is no longer a hotel employee and now, with good reason, thinks of himself as a writer." Janet Maslin, New York Times

Review:

"Jacob Tomsky is a star. The kid writes like a dream. Heads in Beds is hilarious, literate, canny, indignant and kind — revealing an author who manages somehow to be both a total hustler and a complete humanitarian. I love this book. Keep an eye on this writer. I’m telling you, he’s a star." Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Review:

"And I thought I had it bad when I worked in restaurants! Heads in Beds is a hilarious, informative, and naughty peek at what really happens behind the glitz and glamour of the hotel experience. Not content with dispensing advice on how to get a better room or avoiding the vengeful wrath of bellhops, maids, doormen, and front-desk clerks, Tomsky also spins a touching yarn on how he kept his dignity and humanity intact while dealing with insufferable guests, Expedia wannabes, predatory hotel managers, conniving coworkers, and the occasional pervert. After reading this book, you’ll become either a better-educated hotel guest who constantly receives great service — or realize why you always get that noisy room by the elevator shaft. As a survivor of America’s dysfunctional hospitality industry, I highly recommend this book." Steve Dublanica, author of the New York Times bestseller Waiter Rant

Review:

"In pulling the musty curtains back on the seedy hotel business, Heads in Beds provides first-rate insights for all grades of travelers. But the real revelation here is Jacob Tomsky, whose writing combines presidential suite talent with rack-rate, smoking-room, vending-machine-down-the-hall edge." Chuck Thompson, author of Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

Review:

"Comparisons to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential (2000) are inevitable....[B]oth Tomsky and Bourdain purport to expose the underbelly of service industries with which most readers are familiar, hotels and restaurants. But where Bourdain is all rock ’n’ roll, egotistical bluster, Tomsky is surprisingly earnest and sympathetic; there are, after all, no television programs called Top Desk Clerk. He wants your respect, not your adulation....Indeed, it would be easy to pen a book about crazy hotel guests. But this memoir succeeds, instead, in humanizing the people who park our cars, clean our hotel rooms, and carry our luggage. You will never not tip housekeeping or your bellhop again. Tomsky fell into hotel work and proved to be rather good at it; the same can be said for his writing." Booklist

Video

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 has mastered every facet of the business, worked in many departments, and received multiple promotions for his service. Born in Oakland, California, to a military family, Tomsky now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

McGuffy Ann, March 13, 2013 (view all comments by McGuffy Ann)
Jacob Tomsky began a career in the hospitality industry by default. After obtaining a degree in philosophy, he had no actual direction. He knew he had debt, including college loans that had to be paid off.

Jacob started out as a valet in New Orleans to make much needed money. From there he began to work his way up through the ranks of customer care in the hospitality field.

Through the following decade, Jacob learns much about the many areas of the service industry. He shares behind the scenes information with frankness. He writes of the people within the industry as well as the internal workings of the industry. Underpaid and often overworked, the employees tend to take frustration out on customers.

Naturally, the location and setting of a hotel can also make a difference how the clientele are treated. In a relaxed environment you may be better treatment than in a high stress city. It affects the employees, and therefore the clients.

Along with telling tales of behind the scene operations, Jacob shares tips for getting the most out of hotel stays, including dos and don’ts. It is an entertaining and factual book, full of anecdotes and stories; Jacob Tomsky shares it all with honesty and humour.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
stormydays, January 5, 2013 (view all comments by stormydays)
This book kept me throughly entertained from introduction to the ending. I had to stifle many laughs thoughout as I read next to a sleeping husband :) Anyone who travels will appreciate getting the lowdown on the industry and having some upfront knowledge before they make those reservations. I was rooting for Jacob all the way and hope that there is another book in his future. :) It will be a book I recommend to my friends and family and what more can you say about a book than that!!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
JohnLee, December 18, 2012 (view all comments by JohnLee)
I really enjoyed this book: It's funny and you get an exclusive insight in the hospitality industry. Some anecdotes, especially in section of house keeping, are quite disgusting and should be running under the heading: 'What you never wanted to know'. Still, it's written in a style that you can relate to the character and I often thought back to my own behavior in similar situations. The description of the upgrading and punishing system for cooperation / annoying guests was enlightening and I think everyone who has stayed his/her fair share in hotels will testify to its truth and to the power of the front desk agent. Besides funny stories, you get to know the quirks of bellmen, doormen, front desk agents and housekeeping staff, and also a little on the terminology used in the hotel industry, which is quite interesting. Definitely a good read for everyone who wants to know more about hotels and especially about the people who work there and how to work with them in a way that makes you both happy.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385535632
Subtitle:
A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality
Author:
Tomsky, Jacob
Publisher:
Doubleday
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20121120
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.61 x 6.44 x 1.04 in 1.18 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Anecdotes
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Narrative
Biography » Business
Biography » General
Business » General
Business » Management
Business » Writing
Children's » General
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » Foreign Language and Travel
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Doubleday - English 9780385535632 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Funny, familiar, and revealing, Jacob Tomsky's insider exposé on the hotel industry is an easy and entertaining read. Follow one man's journey through the hotel employment system, from valet to front desk to housekeeping, and learn how to work every angle of the system perfectly to your advantage. Balanced with humorous, dark, and downright ridiculous anecdotes, Heads in Beds will keep you hooked right up until you "check out" on the final page. And along the way, Tomsky will poignantly inform and remind you of what it really means to serve in and be served by the American service industry.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Those who want a hotel up-grade, who must make a same-day room cancellation without getting charged, or wonder why hotel water sometimes tastes like lemon Pledge need look no further than Tomsky's memoir, a collection of stories, memories, and secrets about the hospitality business. Bouncing around various hotel jobs — bellman, housekeeping manager, front desk attendant — for more than a 10 years, he's got the skinny that would make most travel sites blush. Follow his advice and you'll be drinking from the mini-bar and watching in-room movies for free. But this is more than a collection of trade secrets; it's a colorful tale filled with vibrant characters from crazy bellman to even crazier guests. Tomsky is a solid storyteller who is able to intricately detail all the insanity surrounding him. Agent: Farley Chase." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Heads in Beds is Mr. Tomsky’s highly amusing guidebook to the dirty little secrets of the hospitality trade. But it is neither a meanspirited book nor a one-sided one....[H]e winds up sounding like an essentially honest, decent guy. And his observations about character are keen, perhaps because he’s seen it all....If this were simply a travel book of the news-you-can-use ilk, it would be of only minor interest. But Mr. Tomsky turns out to be an effervescent writer, with enough snark to make his stories sharp-edged but without the self-promoting smugness that sinks so many memoirs....Heads in Beds embraces the full, novelistic breadth of hotel experience....[Tomsky] is no longer a hotel employee and now, with good reason, thinks of himself as a writer."
"Review" by , "Jacob Tomsky is a star. The kid writes like a dream. Heads in Beds is hilarious, literate, canny, indignant and kind — revealing an author who manages somehow to be both a total hustler and a complete humanitarian. I love this book. Keep an eye on this writer. I’m telling you, he’s a star." Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
"Review" by , "And I thought I had it bad when I worked in restaurants! Heads in Beds is a hilarious, informative, and naughty peek at what really happens behind the glitz and glamour of the hotel experience. Not content with dispensing advice on how to get a better room or avoiding the vengeful wrath of bellhops, maids, doormen, and front-desk clerks, Tomsky also spins a touching yarn on how he kept his dignity and humanity intact while dealing with insufferable guests, Expedia wannabes, predatory hotel managers, conniving coworkers, and the occasional pervert. After reading this book, you’ll become either a better-educated hotel guest who constantly receives great service — or realize why you always get that noisy room by the elevator shaft. As a survivor of America’s dysfunctional hospitality industry, I highly recommend this book."
"Review" by , "In pulling the musty curtains back on the seedy hotel business, Heads in Beds provides first-rate insights for all grades of travelers. But the real revelation here is Jacob Tomsky, whose writing combines presidential suite talent with rack-rate, smoking-room, vending-machine-down-the-hall edge."
"Review" by , "Comparisons to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential (2000) are inevitable....[B]oth Tomsky and Bourdain purport to expose the underbelly of service industries with which most readers are familiar, hotels and restaurants. But where Bourdain is all rock ’n’ roll, egotistical bluster, Tomsky is surprisingly earnest and sympathetic; there are, after all, no television programs called Top Desk Clerk. He wants your respect, not your adulation....Indeed, it would be easy to pen a book about crazy hotel guests. But this memoir succeeds, instead, in humanizing the people who park our cars, clean our hotel rooms, and carry our luggage. You will never not tip housekeeping or your bellhop again. Tomsky fell into hotel work and proved to be rather good at it; the same can be said for his writing."
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