Heads in Beds

Heads in Beds Summary

In the tradition of Kitchen Confidential and Waiter Rant, a rollicking, eye-opening, fantastically indiscreet memoir of a life spent (and misspent) in the hotel industry.

Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.

Heads in Beds is a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.

Along his journey Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.

Book Reviews

trixie 52

The underbelly of hotels is over-hyped and over-priced3 star

I purchased this book because it was aligned with reading ‘Waiters Rant’ which I loved. That was a light-hearted, informative fun read. This book reveals the nasty side of the hotel industry and is vulgar throughout. I have to question if all hotels are as described. Save your money. Even on sale, this book was disgusting and a huge disappointment.35

Danny V 88

Must Read!!5 star

Great entertaining and enlightening book about the hotel industry. A must read for any business traveler!!55

Miguel DD

Heads in Beds1 star

Terrible read, terrible (as lowlife jerk) author/worker, and depressing to learn so many hotel guests are lowlife, near-criminal fools.15


Very relatable for a hospitality veteran like myself5 star

I loved every page and chapter of it. I've found this to be funny, real and helpful at the same time55


Like then annoyed1 star

I bought this book for them inside information on the hotel industry. Though the authors experiences may all be accurate, in my case the book does a disservice to those in the industry. By the time I got 2/3 finished with the book I had no interest in finding out anything more about these people. He has turned my opinion of hotel staff to zero.15


Heads in beds5 star

How to play the hotel game if you are a guest, and scary things that I am sure I did not want to know about the hotel industry. That being said, I want to stay in Thomas Jacobs hotel and be taken care of my him. As a veteran traveler, I just want efficiency and that bottle of wine at the end of the day. This book has taught me that I am not tipping enough. Thanks for the insight.55


Heads in Beds4 star

Revelatory, honest, and if you don't change your behavior towards desk clerks by the time you finish the book then there's no hope for you and you'll deserve every bad room and all the other retaliations the author relates with the amusement of George Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London describing the waiter at the restaurant of the grand hotel routinely spitting in the soup.45


Heads in Beds5 star

I actually really enjoyed this book. I heard about it on National Public Radio and as a person who travels frequently, I thought I would get some interesting insights into the minds of people in the hotels. I never realized how much power the front desk person has in making decisions on your behalf. I think I am going to wrap a $20 bill around my credit card everywhere I go from now on and kindly ask for the appropriate upgrades.55

Tim McB

Heads in Beds4 star

Enjoyed the book. Especially got a lot out of the tips to make your stays more enjoyable. Never knew that a simple expression of thanks could pay off so well.45


Very Entertaining!5 star

Very entertaining story! I could not put this book down!55

Other Books by Jacob Tomsky

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