Book Review: Heads in Beds – A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

cmyk-Book-Review-Heads-in-_Mill.jpgWell, it is officially time to eschew the notion that your life must be interesting in some way to write a memoir.  If Jacob Tomsky can do it, then anyone can do it.  But I hope your attempt turns out to be more stimulating than Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality, because this book (really a mixture of memoir and guide to getting the most from your hotel stay) was just not cutting it for me.

That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything valuable from its pages.  But everything I did learn can be summed up in this short review, saving you the time of having to read it, and time is money my friends (or so they say).  Speaking of money, money is basically the theme of this book.  Not surprisingly, money directly relates to all 5 tips readers should take away from this memoir/guide.

  1. Guests can treat the minibar like their personal grocery story, and watch any pay-for-view movie they want, and never have to pay a dime for any of it if they don’t want to.  These items are the most frequently contested by guests, and will be dropped from your bill before you even finish explaining why you never ate/watched any of it.  Does this feel too much like stealing to you?  Consider that for the 150 dollars you are shelling out a night, it takes only about 35-40 dollars to maintain/service that room.  In other words, the hotel is making big bucks off your stay.  Still feel too guilty?  Yeah, I would too…
  2. If you want to get special treatment, upgrades, anything at all in terms of your hotel stay, be prepared to slip the person manning the front desk a little moolah.  Front desk agents are the people with all the power.  There is always a better room available, and there is always something the front desk can do for you…. for a price of course.  Just think, you could be pampered with a one hundred dollar room upgrade for as little as a mini brick!
  3. What is a mini brick, you ask?  Well naturally it is 1/5 of a brick (i.e. mini brick=$20, brick=$100).  Thanks to this book, I am now well versed in a multitude of names for money, amounts of money, and names for exchanging money.  Some of my personal favorite names for a hundred dollar bill? Dirty dancer, hundo, and nugget.  If I actually possessed hundred dollar bills, I would promptly integrate these into my everyday vocabulary.  That would either make me very gangsta, or a prick.  Probably both.
  4. If you ever find yourself pining for a job where you’ll make great money (3 figures in some instances), but will undoubtedly be treated like a slave day in and day out… then the life of a bellman is for you!  There will be tons of bricks coming your way!
  5. Don’t slight the bellmen.  They will find a way to get revenge on you in some way, even if you don’t know it.  Really, don’t slight anyone working at the hotel, or you may find half of your cologne replaced with (insert offended hotel slave’s name here) urine.

There you have it.  You just read the book!  Congratulations.  Seriously, Heads in Beds could have easily been condensed into about twenty pages.  The only truly interesting tidbits were the tips that the savvy traveler should know before check in, and all these tips are basically summarized in the appendix.  Everything else, which I suppose falls under the “memoir” aspect of the book, was a woefully depressing tale about a desperately sad man trapped by his job and constantly slighted by management.  Try as though he might to find other work, the promise of good, steady money always eventually led him back to prostituting himself out like a common hotel whore (his words paraphrased, not mine).  Sure I feel sorry for the guy, but it didn’t make his life at the front desk all that more interesting to read about.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


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