Following his college graduation, armed with a philosophy degree, Jacob Tomsky found himself with a lack of career direction and a lack of incoming funds. And so he took a job as a valet parking attendant for a brand new, large, luxury hotel in New Orleans. He never planned to make a career of it, but he quickly learned that once the hospitality business lures you in, it doesn't let you out.
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality is Tomsky's memoir of over a decade of his life spent in the hotel industry. He has done it all from parking cars to managing the housekeeping department, but most of his time has been spent at the front desk where he's on the front lines and knows the deep, dark secrets of everyone who checks in.
This is a fun, fantastic book that anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel will want to read. At first I thought it was going to be one of those "bring your own black light and/or sheets" type of books. Which I was totally up for reading. But it's actually a book that takes you behind the scenes of a hotel, teaches you all the tips and tricks for getting extras and upgrades (as well as what not to do) and spills some juicy gossip about the various types of customers his luxury hotels have accommodated.
Tomsky writes in a down to earth, between friends, "you won't believe the customer I had to today" manner that keeps you hooked the whole way through. Who knew it was so easy to eat from the mini-bar and watch pay movies then get them taken off of your bill! Who knew how much power the front desk agents had to make or break your vacation! The biggest takeaway from this book is the power of the tip. Never underestimate it. Oh, and be sure to check your car for damage before you drive it away from the valet station.
This is a very entertaining memoir. I could have done without the use of dialects to repeat what people had said (for example the New Orleans drawl or the Engrish of the Japanese couple.) But other than that it was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me.
Anyone who has worked anywhere in the service industry will be able to relate to this book. Anyone who travels will enjoy this book. One would think that this type of book could end up in whining territory but it really doesn't feel like that. Tomsky is open, honest and funny. If you don't like cursing in your book, try to overlook his language because this book is fun. Read this book before your next trip.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.