Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

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

Author:  Jacob Tomsky

Genre:  Memoir

Published:  November 2012 – Doubleday

Synopsis (partial):  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 has worked in hotels for more than a decade, doing everything from valet parking to manning the front desk. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room service, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late check out, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your mini-bar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. And in Heads in Beds, he pulls back the curtain on the hospitality business, revealing the crazy yet compelling reality of an industry we think we know. It is an incredibly funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life and boy, is there a market for it: in 2010, the American lodging industry generated $127.7 billion in revenue.  Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on the valet parking garage, and the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets.

My take:  Heads in Beds is an interesting peek into the world of Hospitality. In the beginning I found Jacob Tomsky’s memoir entertaining and edgy but by the time I turned the last page I was ready to be done.

I grew tired of the almost whiny tone and the F-bomb laced stories about how and why the upscale hotel’s guests might receive upgrades or be treated poorly. I understand that he and his co-workers feel underpaid but it just seemed wrong that guests who are already paying high rates must pony up extra cash to ensure good service. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem tipping (and always do) after receiving good service. And the valet parking stories? More like horror stories!

That said, I think people who work in the Hospitality industry will enjoy this memoir. They will probably relate to the tales of working in the various areas of hotels from valet and bellman to housekeeping and laundry to the front desk. Tomsky also shares hints on how to improve your stay at a hotel. My hint: if you ever stay at his hotel, take lots of $20s!

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review.

11 thoughts on “Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

    • I can see why you’d ask that question, Kaye 🙂 I enjoy reading a memoir occasionally so when the publisher offered, I happily accepted.


  1. Having just stayed at a beautiful hotel, I don’t think that I would want to know more about what goes on behind the curtain! I am usually anxious about tipping and such, and reading this book might just provoke a lot more anxiety on my part! Excellent review though. I can see exactly why this one didn’t work for you.


  2. I do enjoy memoirs, but some grow tiresome after a while, especially if the author really hasn’t had enough life experiences to be writing a memoir, if you know what I mean. It sounds like a little of this one goes a long way.


  3. I might find this one interesting. It sounds a little like Keep The Change, which is by the author of Waiter Rant, and is about tipping. The valet parking stories in that book were horror stories too. I’ll never valet park again! Unfortunately they’re right about tipping upfront rather than afterwards. My husband insists on tipping upfront (from his experiences years ago working in the service industry) and most of the time we do get better service. (I say he over tips but I’ve stopped arguing with him about it!)


  4. Not too sure I want to know what goes on behind the scenes in the hospitality industry as a bit like hearing about the waiter who spits in the food of the awkward customer I’m sure similar things must go on in the hotel industry as well.


  5. I like memoirs, and actually have the eGalley as well. but yours is the first review I’ve read on this one. The (F) word gets on my nerves when I see it too often in a book…no need really. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  6. Why would you tip BEFORE you received good service? When I sit down at a restaurant I don’t hand over a $20 when I order. We like to stay at nice hotels sometimes and we already shell out a lot of money just to stay there. Can’t say I’d be the most sympathetic reader for this one 😉


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