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.