62 of 78 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality (Hardcover)
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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.