9780307948342

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

Tomsky, Jacob

ISBN 10: 030794834X / 0-307-94834-X
ISBN 13: 9780307948342
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 2013
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:

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:
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.

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. 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 MMs 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780307948342

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Book Description: Anchor. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 030794834X A veteran of the hospitality business uses humor and irreverence to describe working in the industry, coming clean on the housekeeping department, the unwritten code of bellhops and what really goes on in a valet parking garage. 40,000 first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 16250525

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Book Description: Anchor, 2013. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Praise for Heads in Beds: " 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 "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 "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 "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 "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 " 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.for more than 10 years, he''s got the skinny that would make most travel sites blush. But this is more than a collection of trade secrets; it''s a colorful tale filled with vibrant characters from crazy bellmen to even crazier guests. Tomsky is a solid storyteller who is able to int. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_030794834X

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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. 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 MMs 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780307948342

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