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

Overview -

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.  Read more...

Bargain - Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $25.95
  • $4.97
    (Save 81%)

Sorry: This item is not currently available.

FREE Shipping for Club Members

What is a Bargain?
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary


Customers Also Bought

More About Heads in Beds 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.

  • ISBN-13: 9780385535632
  • ISBN-10: 0385535635
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish Date: November 2012
  • Page Count: 247

Related Categories

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-09-10
  • Reviewer: Staff

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. (Nov.)

BookPage Reviews

It's been a pleasure serving you

Employees of the hospitality industry—hotel clerks, restaurant workers, valet parkers—have a unique view of two things: how hotels operate and what hotel guests are really like. After 10 years in the business, in jobs ranging from front desk agent to housekeeping manager, Jacob Tomsky offers a peek behind the counter in an eye-opening, often hilarious new book, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality.

We checked in with Tomsky to find out more about annoying guests and the risks of drinking from mini-bar glasses.

Why did you decide to turn your experiences into a book?

There was a salient moment, as I stood still one afternoon in the center of my hotel’s lobby, watching everyone around me—people checking in, storing luggage, getting cabs, asking for upgrades, demanding to speak to a manager, disputing the bill, having their credit cards declined—and I realized I understood every single thing that was happening, all the nuances of every issue, in full detail. Then I realized that if more people had a broader perspective, some of these problems could be eliminated and we could all be happier and stop misunderstanding each other. And I was pretty sure I could make it funny, too.

Tell us three things you learned about human nature from working in hospitality.

One: People can be horrible to those they consider subservient. And as a hotel wishes to create a sense of home in a traveler, it can, in turn, make the guest believe that the hotel workers surrounding them are in fact servants in their own home. So some people, since they probably don’t get the chance to berate a servant in normal life, and love watching “Downton Abbey,” seem to relish the opportunity.

"Whenever possible, float through the room like a zero-gravity astronaut."

Two: Everyone is cheating on everybody.

Three: Money might shape the soul. Those who have a lot of it expect the world to bend around them like wind. People who have little of it are fully prepared for the world to bend around them like a door to the face. But rich or poor, those who are generous are usually deeply kind in other aspects. Those who are tight will rarely accept just an apology or give you the benefit of the doubt.

What’s the #1 thing guests should never touch in a hotel room?

Whenever possible, float through the room like a zero-gravity astronaut. Further, to avoid towel contact, allow yourself one hour to air dry after showering. That, or don’t worry about it. I would honestly bet that a hotel bathroom is cleaner than your own bathroom. In the book I do mention most housekeepers’ only option is to clean the mini-bar glasses with shampoo or even zesty lemon Pledge. Knowing this, what do I do when I’m thirsty and in need of a glass? Rinse it out in the sink and use it anyway. I try not to care.

What’s the worst “jerk move” a guest can make?

Blaming and yelling at Person A for Person B’s honest mistake—that’s an Olympic-quality jerk move. A guest who accuses a housekeeper of stealing her dog’s lame toy. A guest who accuses the front desk agent of deliberately canceling a reservation. But I am basically OK with jerk moves. Jerks, and their moves, are part of the job.

What are the most annoying words a guest can say to a front desk agent?

Well, maybe: “Come on! You must remember me!” If you have to ask then we certainly do not. But I will totally pretend to, if you’re really hellbent on me remembering. I will put on a screwy face and say, “Wait! I do remember you!” while hoping to god this charade ends quickly. Funniest part is, even if you force me to pretend I remember you, next time, I will still not remember you.

With your experience in the industry, do you still stay in hotels?

You kidding me? I love staying in hotels. If you’re tearing tickets at a movie theater all day, imagine how much you’d enjoy leaning back into a plush seat and letting a movie entertain your day away. Being surrounded by people on vacation means that when I get the opportunity to check in as a guest, I toss myself face first onto the soft bed, peer excitedly into the mini-bar, and strip down to rock that robe as soon as possible. After working in housekeeping, I couldn’t enter a hotel room without checking the cleanliness of the baseboards or dragging a finger for dust along the top ridge of the bed’s headboard. That was professional curiosity, but it’s out of my system now.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, which is worse: staying at a hotel or staying with family?

I suppose it depends on the family. But there is nothing better than pushing into your empty hotel room at the end of a long day with family, arming yourself with a candy bar and relaxing on top of the cool bedspread, watching crap on TV you’d never watch at home. But I’m lucky to have a wonderful family and when I’m in town I prefer to stay with them. It’s just a bring-your-own-candy situation.

Customer Reviews