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Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels,…

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called… (edition 2012)

by Jacob Tomsky

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5465418,349 (3.38)35
Title:Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality
Authors:Jacob Tomsky
Info:Doubleday (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Tags:hotels, front desk employees, memoir, corporatization, hostelry, hospitality industry

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



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English (53)  Italian (1)  English (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
So yeah, hotel guests can be jerks, but this memoir kinda makes it seem like hotel employees are douchebags.

But now I do want to tip more, so I guess it worked. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
The tips on tipping are gold. ( )
  dele2451 | Mar 30, 2016 |
I've been feeling a little stingy with the stars lately, but this was a solidly enjoyable read. The writing feels a little frenzied, as though maybe he knocked out the first draft on a two-week vacation, but it's a consistent voice and probably communicates some of the stress and constant rush that comes with being a front desk clerk, especially in New York.
There's not a whole lot of substance; this is mostly a set of semi-interesting, semi-scandalous stories based on his experiences working in "luxury" hotels with bad managers and occasional celebrity guests. There's also some advice on how to get upgraded or treated better, but all of that advice boils down to this: tip. The overall theme of this book is probably this: People in the hospitality industry love tips, period.
As a side note, I learned that "brick" is slang for a hundred-dollar bill, and "baby brick" means a twenty. I am on the lookout for an appropriate way to integrate this new knowledge into my everyday conversations... ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

★★★ ½

After I randomly picked up this book at the library, I checked reviews and they seemed pretty bleak. People just didn’t seem to like it. But me? I did. I thought it was a well written, revealing look into the world of hotel work, especially high-end ones. The author sort of grinded me the wrong way at first, he seemed childish, but then again he was also young when starting his time into hotel work. But then as time went, I began to relate to this guy. I think anyone who has worked in a customer service position, whether it be waiter, hotelier, retail, etc, can relate to some extent on what this poor man had to deal with. He dealt with angry customers (in my case, I once had someone throw a backpack and various hard plastic items in my face when the customer thought it should be cheaper than it rang up). He dealt with the crazy customers (in my case, the couple of the same race as me who complained way up the ranks that I was racist when I escorted them to the correct department for their return). The customers in need (in my case, the time I surprisingly purchased a suit for a customer who was trying to figure out how to afford a funeral suit for her own child’s funeral). And the kind customers (I think I might have had a few of those somewhere in there). I’m not one who travels and stays in hotels often – maybe a handful of times in my life – and I’m sure not ALL hotels or ALL employees are like those described within this book, but I did enjoy it more than I expected after reading others reviews and there are some handy tips in there (if not always moral tips ;)). It reminded me of a toned down version (but with about as much cussing) of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. If you’ve ever worked with public, you’re bound to relate to this guy to some extent. If you haven’t worked with the public ever…well…lucky you.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
Got pretty repetitive about half way through. I would find my mind drifting as I read, bored with something I could not seem to pay attention to. Yikes. I'm out.
  Marion_B | Jan 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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I've worked in hotels for more than a decade.
I am standing on St. Charles Avenue, uptown New Orleans, a few months out of college and a few weeks into summer.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385535635, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: Always tip. If you can’t tip, be nice. And if you can’t manage either, you might be better off unwrapping a new toothbrush every day. That’s just one lesson to be learned from Jacob Tomsky’s gonzo account of his years as a front-desk clerk at hotels in New Orleans and New York. From the glad-handing doormen to the unsung workers in the “back of the house,” Tomsky exposes the machinery and machinations that make luxury hotels run (if not always smoothly), advising his potential guests about whose palms to grease (and how much) in order to get that coveted park-view upgrade. Informative and mildly salacious, Heads in Beds is an entertaining peek inside the places people go to get away, and the stunts they pull when they get there. --Jon Foro

Amazon Exclusive: An Essay by Jacob Tomsky

When I started working in hotels the computer screens glowed in one color, alien green, and the monitors were the size of boulders. We used to confidently toss comment cards in the trash (or, as we referred to it, file them in the “T” file) making them disappear forever. I used to cash checks by picking up the phone and speaking to another human being. Music in the lobby was usually provided by a piano player, who would swivel his head at passing guests with a ridiculous, pasty-looking smile as he tapped out non-offensive cover songs played with a non-offensive classical flourish.

Now, mid-volume, beat-heavy techno seeps from recessed speakers built into the lobby’s crown molding. The screens are flat. You can’t manage to direct anything from Trip Advisor into the “T” file and all the guests want to hook up their iPad to the toilet or whatever. And if you pay with a check I still have to pick up the phone, which is extremely irritating because who pays with checks anymore? Stop it.

But all of that change means nothing. Because I’ll tell you what hasn’t changed: The front desk agents, the bellmen, the doormen, the housekeepers, the room service attendants, and the managers. Hotel employees are still version 1.0 and I guarantee if you brought me to a bar and sat me next to a front desk agent from 1897, we’d over-drink and swap the same type of hilarious stories about the same type of insane guests. Hospitality, no matter how slick it gets, will always be a business run by people who serve people. It will always be about service. It will always take a person to explain that, no, you cannot hook up your iPad to the toilet but you can use it to control the lights and wirelessly play music through the in-room speaker system. And guests still, and hopefully will forever, hand me physical comment cards, which I will continue to throw in the trash.

During all these renovations (while I said things like, “Wait, they made the internet wireless? It’s in the goddamn air now?”) I was always writing. I grew up reading novel after novel and that’s all I wanted from life, to give back and write something good. After years of hotel work and relocations that took me from New Orleans to Paris to Copenhagen and ultimately New York City, I finally conceived the idea for Heads in Beds. I put everything I had into it, all my knowledge of the industry and the writing skills I’d developed since I was a child. I truly hope you find it funny and informative and that it helps you navigate the crooked halls of hospitality. That has always been my goal, to write something good.

That and hang out with a front desk agent from 1897.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

"A humorous memoir by a veteran hospitality employee that reveals what goes on behind the scenes of the hotel business. Includes tips on how to get the most out of your hotel stay"--

(summary from another edition)

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