Ever wonder why your mom always gets a great hotel room and you end up somewhere back by the ice machine? In his debut book, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality, author Jacob Tomsky answers this question and many more, including how to get a late checkout time and free access to your mini bar.
But Heads in Beds is more than a how-to guide: Tomsky develops a wildly entertaining narrative of his ten years in the hotel industry, moving from New Orleans to New York, where he “got [his] doctorate in hustling.”
Tomsky begins with his time working as a valet. After racing up the ten-story, no-elevator parking garage to locate a patron’s vehicle, Tomsky made up the time “taking turns like a maniac, flying down the level ramps so fast my stomach drops.”
The work is rough, but he has a good time, “turning up the Vivaldi loud because it makes my reckless driving seem beautiful” and “burn[ing] the life out of a guest’s clutch teaching Eddie to drive.”
From here he moves inside and spends most of his career behind the front desk. Tomsky writes of his interactions with customers (and upper management) with freshness and wit. His encounters with celebrities – and his partnerships with the bellmen – make for especially great reading.
While the majority of the memoir maintains the sense of a humorous play-by-play, occasionally Tomsky delves a bit deeper. Right before turning thirty, he contemplated where he was and what he was doing:
“I took a Hershey’s bar, sat down in the sea of luggage, and cried…. Nothing was changing for me. I couldn’t afford to leave my position, and where would I go? Another hotel?”
While these personal insights are few, the book does not feel lacking as a result. It’s a rollicking good time and, after reading it, you’ll never approach a hotel the same way again.