Tag Archives: hotels

Heads in Beds

This book Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky has been getting a lot of shine, so I Kindled it to see if it indeed included any salacious insider gossip.  Let me save you the trouble – this tell-all doesn’t tell much about the hotel industry or human nature that you don’t already know.Tomsky started in hospitality at the bottom of the valet pile in New Orleans, and eventually made his way up to third-in-command at a mid-to-high-end Manhattan hotel he calls “Bellevue” to protect its identity.  Tomsky works primarily as a front desk clerk.  The self-serving thesis of this book?  Heavily tip the front desk clerk with “bricks” ($100s) or “baby bricks” ($20s) to score under-the-table upgrades.  Throw some money around at the desk and you too can enjoy a $4 comped bottle of shitty pinot.  How Fancy.The inverse is also true.  Mistreat your wife, make a racist comment to the cabbie, or fart downwind from the all powerful desk clerk and find yourself key bombed.   Tomsky will stick you with a bunk key card, book you in the shittiest room, or one that gets all-night phone calls because the room number matches 1+ the local area code and every ninny in the hotel forgets to dial 9 for an outside line.  Remember to be on your very best behavior or the desk despot will punish you!Tomsky promises park views, late check outs, and express check-in if you slide him some cash.  But I don’t really want or need any of that.  Fuck the view.  I’m sleeping here.  Can you get me a clean  room with that $20?  Probably not.  Even the finest hotels suffer from inconsistent housekeeping.  I don’t care about stealing from the mini-bar.   If you do, Tomsky says go wild; the hotel will comp the oft-disputed charges. 

Bribing people to get good service isn’t exactly a profound revelation.  This book is too light on the hookers and diva celebrity behavior (Brian Wilson is the best you got, really?), and too heavy on the unions and the obvious.  As for crazy stories from the hospitality industry, I’ve heard more riveting cum-splattered tales from my Aunt Debbie who runs a Motel 6 in Salina

Rainbows, Hoh, and Twilight Tourism

After a delightful stay in Vancouver, I headed over to Victoria, B.C. and chowed on the best vegetarian Chinese ever at Lotus Pond.  This 100% cruelty-free joint blew my mind with their extensive menu of mock meat and use of unusual vegetable varieties.  Ever had a lotus root?  Me either.  Fake seafood, check.  Faux duck, quack, quack.  Food is served hot, quick, authentic, and delicious.  The service is kind, attentive, and unobtrusive.  Overall grade = a solid A.From Victoria, we took a little ferry ride to Port Angeles.  This is where we inadvertently got sucked into a vortex of Twilight tourism.  Rather than fight it, we decided to embrace the fromage, so we dined at Bella Italia.  This is the restaurant where Bella and Edward supposedly had their first date.  We avoided the overpriced “mushroom ravioli special,” opting instead for a decent bowl of minestrone and a mediocre Margherita pizza.  I asked the waitress if the place gets overrun with crazy-ass Twilight bitches, and she said for awhile it got so bad fans would steal the restaurant’s fancy leather-bound menus – which is such a profoundly dorky and pathetic move. After dinner, we hopped in the car and drove a little over an hour to Forks, Washington where we stayed at the hilarious Three Rivers Resort.  This “resort” obviously used to cater mostly to fisherman, but has wisely shifted its marketing focus to appeal to the voracious and insatiable Twilight fans.Even though our cabin smelled like a mean girl’s pussy, the owners were super nice, and the little cabin was an interesting departure from the standard hotel scene.  That said, I’m glad we only stayed one night.  Taking the advice of the kind proprietors of Three Rivers, we ventured down to the La Push reservation to Second Beach.  The elders blessed us with a sunny day, so we strolled the immaculately clean sand, snapped photos of the offshore rock formations, and spotted starfish in the tide pools.  Second Beach = trip highlight. Heading down the 101, we explored an enchantingly surreal hike through the mossy Hoh Rainforest.  Within this dense green wilderness lives some of the few undisturbed ancient trees protected from the logging industry.  As one of the few remaining unmolested areas of its kind, Hoh absolutely warrants protection from human destruction.  After our 6 mile hike, we turned back on the 101, and saw an extremely auspicious double rainbow over head.We had dinner in Aberdeen, the birthplace of the band Nirvana.  From Cobainland, we traveled a little further and crossed the border into Oregon by way of Astoria where we settled in for the night.  Tomorrow begins the second half of our journey where we will investigate The Goonies, Dita von Teese and the Redwoods.  Keep your tray tables stowed bitches, we ain’t done yet.

hot tip

I’m about to take an adventure and I went on a Hotwire binge.  I haven’t used the site before, but I do like a deal on lodging.  I like to keep it under $100 a night including taxes and extra expenses.  Free breakfast is an added bonus, free wifi – an obvious necessity.  You’d be surprised how difficult a $100 budget-restraint can be in both major cities and small towns, assuming you don’t want to go the two star route.  In my opinion a 2 star rating pretty much guarantees a dreaded foreign pube encounter. So here is the tricky shit.  If you are willing to risk the unknown, you can do quite well on Hotwire.  The steepest savings lurk in the Hotwire Hot Rates.  Book an accommodation based on a star rating, general geographical area, and/or amenities, but the identity of the hotel remains a mystery until after you reserve a non-refundable stay.  Risky business, I know.  Those who take risks are well-rewarded.  A 2 night stay in a 4 star accommodation listed for $311.02 on Orbitz.  I booked the same hotel for $228.92 on Hotwire –  for a total savings of $82.10.  To be clear, I didn’t know what hotel I was booking at the time of irreversible billing, I just pressed the button and hoped for the best.  I was pleasantly surprised 3 x in a row in three different locations.  When I compared my booking rate to the available published rates, the savings always ranged from super to spectacular.  It is easy to feel smug from the plush cushiness of my own chair, but when I arrive at these hotels, they better live up to their promised cleanliness ratings.  A rogue hair can really spoil an evening.  In keeping with my budget, Hotwire allowed me to upgrade a full class of hotels.  Plus, I enjoy a thrill when confirming a reservation and the big name reveal comes.  I immediately skip to the other travel sites and gloat over what a fantastic deal I scored.  Fear not, I plan to keep you bitches fully informed from the road as to whether choosing this site was a wise or poor decision.