Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

387 of 464 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm conflicted about HEADS IN BEDS. I really wanted to like it. I spent some time in hospitality myself, and I think there are great stories to be told from both sides of the check-in desk. And there are some interesting stories in this book, at least in the 85 pages of it that I got through before putting it down.

And why did I put it down? Mostly, because a memoir needs a likable, or at least, engaging, narrator and Tomsky comes across as neither.

An example: early in the book, he decides to impress us by giving us some historical context for the development of the hospitality industry. I guess he and his editor thought that three paragraphs of history was too dry, so Tomsky decided to spice it up. "So in 1794, someone, some ---hole, built the very first 'hotel' in New York City..."

If Tomsky really feels that way about whoever opened that hotel, I've got to ask, why? What did he ever do to him to earn that kind of vitriol. And if he doesn't really feel angry enough towards him to use that word, then he's the worst kind of literary poseur: a YouTube commenting keyboard warrior with an agent.

Tomsky does this quite a bit. It's one thing to have the profanity and pseudo-tough guy language in your dialog. It can even come out of your narrator's mouth when speaking out loud. But when the narrator uses this kind of language to talk directly to the reader, it's trying too hard to be edgy.

He does this throughout, and it feels completely inauthentic to me. It makes me not trust the narrator, and that's the kiss of death for a memoir.

What finally killed the book for me was the narrator's sense of entitlement. I needed a break after page 82, where the narrator was distraught over not being able to spend the rest of his life hanging out in parks in Copenhagen smoking marijuana, and having to return to the US to work after his money ran out. I put the book down for a few days, then dove back in, but tapped out three pages later when the narrator complained about living expenses in New York City being too expensive, and the difficulties of getting a job outside of the one field where he has actual experience.

I've got to confess that I just couldn't keep reading after that. Newsflash: most people who work in hospitality don't do it because they really get off on showing up to work ten minutes before their shift and waiting on other people all day. They do it because they are adults who other people are depending on to be responsible. I try to finish every book I start, but at that point, I figured that the author wasn't treating his readers with any respect, so I didn't feel compelled to read on.
2121 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
128 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Did it not occur to the author that at least three of the tips on the list of ways to get the most out of your hotel stay were illegal? Watching a movie and indulging in the minibar and then saying you didn't do either of those things is outright theft. Saying you didn't get a robe when you did and then stealing the extra is lying and theft.

What kind of morally-bankrupt, selfish person blatantly lies and then steals and then tells other people that it's an excellent way to get something for nothing? Did you give one thought to the poor cleaning woman who will come under fire for not stocking the room properly? Actions have consequences. Are you so hard up for a bathrobe that you're willing to risk a hotel cleaning woman's job?

Shame on you Mr. Tomsky. You've not given us a how-to book to hotel stays. You've given us a lesson on your own selfishness. You are one of the reasons hotels are now so expensive. Who do you think ultimately pays for your so-called freebies? The next guest down the line.
88 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
90 of 106 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 28, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Prior to my current vocation, I worked in hotels and resorts for 10 years, serving people, making money, and having all sorts of fun- I love it and it was hard to leave. I can tell you- the tone of this book and the things that are happening and have happened is just an attempt to cash in on the whole "Waiter Rant" snarky tone in memoirs today.

The author of this book comes across as entitled, snobbish, and horribly detached from customer service. The reason most people stay in those jobs is because they like the interaction with people, the money is secondary, and the location is a perk. Attracting drifters and those who can't settle down is a secodary aspect of the profession- and they don't last long. From past experience, anyone with an attitude half as nasty, condescending, and vitrolic as Tomsky's would be out of a job so fast they wouldn't have time to drop the key off at the front desk on the way out.

This book isn't so much a tell all as it is a mash-up of a "10-things-they-won't-tell-you" lists, "Waiter Rant's" pissy attitude, and some of the good ole "look-at-me-I'm-serving-rich-people" melodrama thrown in for good measure. Nothing special or spectacularly revealing here.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
168 of 206 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The title is funny, but it's just the beginning of this factual, entertaining, and even informative look at the hospitality industry.
Jacob Tomsky graduated from college with a philosophy degree and a college loan. Without really intending to pursue a service career, he initially took a job in the Big Easy as a valet at a pricey restaurant viewing it as a temporary job and way to take a stab at getting that looming loan down. Before long, the innocent valet comes to the realization that his job is the pits. With that he rushes off two apps to hotels in New Orleans in search of more meaningful (I.e., more lucrative) employment. What follows next is a chronicle of life in the hospitality industry.
Over the next ten years Jacob's career goes from valet to front desk and almost every point in between. He introduces his reader to stories from the trenches and a large cast of characters that range from a crafty head bellman Alan(aka the "Gray Wolf") to Julio the night manager who pulled a disappearing act for hours on end as he conducted business of another kind. In the world of hotels, luggage takes a whacking, employees sample room service, and amenities are carried off like contraband. For the most part hotel employees are often poorly paid, treated badly, and angry.
The reader also learns that hotels can be very different. In New Orleans things were far more relaxed than in New York where check-in becomes a five second process of shuffling in the cattle/guests and being optimally productive while not even being provided a stool.
Tomsky offers tips on getting the most out of your hotel in regard to perks. Pretty obvious stuff actually but it's always good to be informed and even better when you are not.
I received this book at 8 a.m. and took to it like Grant took Richmond and shot through it in 3 hours. It was honest to an extreme point of bluntness, interesting, darn funny, and well written.
This is a fact and anecdote driven book that is perfect for a do nothing day.
1010 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Amazon won't allow post links (and with good reason) but do google his recent Lifehacker article ("Confessions of a Hotel Insider"). Rude and obnoxious ... not someone that deserves your money (or should work with customers directly).
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Leeching from the popularity of better written "insider" memoir pieces the author relates many exaggerated tales about his alleged experiences as hotel staff in New Orleans and Manhattan establishments. The quality of the writing is on par with filler articles in online magazines or posts in gripe forums for customer service workers. The stories are pretty much what you might imagine, and the "insider" tips are just underwhelming.

What turned me off the most is that much of this book comes across as pandering diatribe against stereotypes of bad customers. It feels like the poorly written diary of a teenager who is just realizing that work is hard, and people can be unpleasant. While it reminded me of some foolish and irresponsible things that I did when I worked in jobs I didn't appreciate, the arrogant tone that pops up throughout the text just makes Jacob Tomsky out to be childish and unlikable. The conflicting ethics he advocates make him out to be still irresponsible and unwise.

I wouldn't pay to read this. This guy has nothing important or interesting to say.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have worked in the conference planning industry for over 10 years now and have dealt with my share of hotels. I was looking forward to reading "Heads In Beds" to get some additional insight into working with these properties. In my experience most hotel employees are good, hardworking people who genuinely care about customers. The book starts out fairly interesting with a few good ideas, but by the end the author has become so jaded and annoying, with such a horrible entitled attitude, that I just wished for the whole thing to be over. I have a second job where I work for tips too and this book is just embarrassing to those of us who actually care about our jobs and realize that the key to maximizing your tips is actually caring about the customer and taking pride in your job.

First, the good part of the book. A few of the ideas presented are helpful. Tip the front desk clerk upon check-in. Tip the bellman. Mostly just tip. (Interestingly enough, he does not mention tipping the room maids, but they should be tipped too). You would be shocked at the number of people who either don't know to tip or who simply ignore it. People in these industries depend on tips to feed their families, and I firmly believe everyone should hold a job where they are dependent on tips for a year to see what it is like.

The book quickly slips into a sense of bitterness and entitlement, however. Early on author Jacob Tomsky tells the union organizer for his New York hotel that he is afraid unions will lead to "laziness" at the hotel. He finally signs for his union card and later begins to take advantage of the situation himself. He repeatedly calls in 2 days sick (counted as 1 sick day by the union because it is 1 "illness") on either side of a weekend, thus creating a 6 day vacation "out of thin air." The author tells readers how to get in-room movies and minibar charges taken off the bill (basically lie outright to the hotel), even going so far as to tell the reader how to steal them by checking in to a room, emptying the mini bar, and then quickly requesting another room. This practice bothers me because it drives up prices for the rest of us unwilling to lie or steal. How would the author like it if everyone stole copies of his book instead of paying for them? I am in an industry that books room blocks at major hotels several times a year, and seeing abuses like this being performed by guests makes me angry. The hotel has to raise room prices to cover such losses, and honest guests coming in later end up paying for it. This whole attitude that the hotel somehow owes it to them really disturbs me.

The author repeatedly makes it very clear - in so many words - that he couldn't care less about customers unless money is involved, preferably a "Baby Brick" (a $20) or a "Brick" (a crisp $100). He complains on and on about the attitude of guests, and then almost brags about how he gets back at them in passive-aggressive ways such as giving them a worse room, a higher rate, by "key bombing" them, etc. "...that's just the beginning of the ways I can and will punish guests. I am a God of Instant Karma." As a paying customer this attitude is quite disturbing to me, and should also disturb others in the industry who actually care about customer service.

Later, after complaining about hotel management and guests for chapter after chapter and seeing how far he can push the rules, Tomsky finally gets called in for his last (of many) write ups, and blames his union rep for not standing up for him. After copping an attitude for most of the New York section of the book, he suddenly cares about his job? Suddenly he "loves" the hotel? He is upset about losing the struggle, but judging from his work ethic he has really been gone in his mind from the hotel for a long time. Even after being confronted by management about his bad attitude he gives himself a long weekend, calling out sick the next Monday and Tuesday and drowning his sorrows in caviar and $17 cocktails. What's more, he turns to a hotel guest, whom he is now dating, to take him away to another city and "pay for [his] life," after receiving a similar offer from another guest couple to help him relocate in South Africa. Really? He goes on to lay part of the blame for his termination on his new Spanish-speaking union delegate's not being able to follow his dismissal proceedings. His former delegate, by the way, is unavailable after taking two months off work for family medical leave when her husband spends 2 days in the hospital and she takes advantage of the situation "as any union member would" by going on an extended vacation to the Dominican Republic. Are we actually supposed to be sympathetic to these flagrant abuses and their results? The author's entitlement mentality wears very thin very quickly.

I have run many business conferences all over the country. Most hotels and their staffs are wonderful. Without a doubt, however, the most difficult and expensive shows to put on have been the ones in hotels where the staff have the same surly, snarky, and entitled attitudes as the author of this book. Needless to say, we will not return to those properties. They give an otherwise good industry with hardworking employees a black eye.

The last part of the book comes across as a long self-indulgent telephone call from a spoiled, disgruntled child seeking a sympathetic ear. Grow up Mr. Tomsky. If you do not respect us as readers or customers, don't expect us to respect you after this garbage. Work is hard and no one owes you anything. Please, call someone else.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
62 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Well, here's a first. The blurb on this book is dead-on accurate. It says "in the tradition of Kitchen Confidential and Waiter Rant...", and darned if those two books aren't exactly the two that came to mind as I hit the halfway point in the book.

Jacob Tomsky is a junior Anthony Bourdain, trying a little too hard to be the bad boy, when you suspect that he's known around the hotel as teacher's pet, or whatever the hotel equivalent is.

Still, it's fun to find out what goes on behind the scenes at the hotel, and you know, it's pretty much what you thought. The valets are burning the rubber on your tires, the clerks are drinking room service booze in the utility closet, and if the bellhops don't like you, your toothbrush gets a ride in a disgruntled employee's behind.

There's a fair amount of partying and shenanigans and celebrity name-dropping, but mostly this is Tomsky's rant about a job he loves and hates. He loves the parties, shenanigans, and celebrities, but he hates the actual work. It's tedious and boring and often degrading. When you're working for tips, it's hard (but not impossible) to keep your dignity. It can be stressful, and Tomsky is stressed.

Many of the episodes in the book involve alcohol and drugs. He makes many comparisons to prostitutes and other women, in hip hop terms. And he illustrates interesting accents and dialects by trying to recreate them in print. This has unfortunate results when he is quoting his black colleagues in New Orleans and and his Colombian and Ecuadorian co-workers in New York, as well as a Japanese guest.

If you're hoping for some insider tips on how to get better treatment and upgrades at your next hotel, here's Tomsky's advice. Lie. Drink the liquor and eat the macadamias from the minibar, watch the premium movie, then say you didn't. That's his advice. And tip everyone, especially the front desk clerk, and the valet, and the bellhop. Tip a lot. He doesn't mention tipping the housekeepers, but go ahead and tip them anyway. Thanks.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm surprised Tomsky survived in hospitality as long as he did, because his take on the hotel industry is not what the hotel industry is all about. Tomsky seems to have a bone to pick with his former places of employment and many of his coworkers. How a guy like him can go as far as he has in hospitality is beyond me. Hospitality is a fleeting thing in Mr. Tomsky's hotel career. I've worked in hotels for 15 years and never have I been as vindictive in my thoughts towards guests as Tomsky has been. He also recounts his stories as if they are definitive. For instance, he states that all front desk agents on the day shift start out on the overnights and work their ways to the day shift. Perhaps in specific hotels with low turnover in New York City that are hard to get in to, but certainly that is not the case for 99% of hotels in the rest of the world.

Tomsky spends at least 1/3 of the book making hotel employees look like greedy panhandlers and hucksters, which is not the case at all. I've worked for Hyatt, Sheraton, Intercontinental, Kimpton and independently run hotels, and never have I had an experience like Tomsky's, nor have I worked with people like Tomsky. Well, maybe I have, but most of those types quit after a few weeks or were hastily canned (and deservedly so). I have a feeling he was fired from a few of his hotels and now has a bone to pick.

If you want to tip a front desk employee, go for it, because it's a tough job. But really kindness is far more valuable since hotel employees spend a good portion of their day being yelled at and belittled by people. Tomsky doesn't care if you're nice, he only wants your money, as you can tell, seeing as he wrote a book just to make a few bucks and make the hospitality industry look like it's full of misanthropes. Money comes and goes. Reciprocated kindness is priceless.

He also seems to fetishize the bell staff, as if they are the only staff members that matter. It's very weird how much time he spends writing about the bell staff.

Please be assured, hotel employees are NOT at all like Jacob Tomsky. He knows nothing about hospitality and frankly, is quite narcissistic (he just HAD to write about living la boheme in Paris, sheesh). He also name drops quite a lot, including his experience with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

The most offensive thing about Tomsky is that he makes it out as if hotels do not value their guests, only their money. That is an outright lie. You don't speak for the hospitality industry, Jacob. You only speak for yourself.

Jacob, I'm dissatisfied with my guest experience. I'd like to speak to your manager.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Unfortunately, this book does not live up to the hype of its own press release. "Heads in Beds" promises to be a reckless memoir about what it is like to work in the hotel industry, and promises to provide exposé of hotel practices, including tips and hints for getting the hotel staff on your side enough that they want to offer you freebies and perks. Instead, I found "Heads in Beds" to be a mildly amusing account of one man's experience up through the hotel chain of command. There are included a number of humorous (and scary) anecdotes. However, there are almost no tips provided and, when they are, they are very oblique, generalized, and (it seems to me) unlikely to help the average hotel visitor. This behind-the-scenes look at what motivates hotel staff (basically money) and how they react to both their bosses and their customers is gruesome enough to put you off ever staying at a hotel again, no matter how many stars the hotel has been awarded. The author may have moved up through the ranks of hotel hierarchy but never really seems to be enjoying himself or to take much pride in a job well done (except for the treatment accorded a few favored clients). The end result is that you feel relieved to find out that he moved away from the hotel industry and is only now looking back on it. He may have seemed an ardent and caring employee at the beginning of his career but he soon comes across as jaded and cynical about the entire industry. This attitude doesn't make for the most pleasant reading, nor is it balanced by the sort of detective work or exposés that would have made the book stimulating reading. As awful as the show is, watching Gordon Ramsay's new program "Hotel Hell" is more interesting and engrossing than this book.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.