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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book review: 'Heads in Beds' is a riot

Attention, travelers:  If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a hotel,  Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality will give you a gleeful glimpse.

It's so funny I am certain I woke up my upstairs noisy neighbors by guffawing out loud in many places. The book is simply written and is a fast read.

Jacob Tomsky is the author, and he's got lots to tell as he weaves his way from hotel valet driver up through industry ranks. (Alert:  Today's coarse language is the style, but, of course.)

Got tips?  Tomsky has some for you.   

If you are told "all rooms are alike," it's a lie. Surprise! Cash talks.

You want an upgrade? Gimme $20.

The mini-bar is yours for the taking (stealing). When it shows up on your bill, just say you didn't touch the mini-bar, and poof! Off it comes from your bill. Take everything, Tomsky writes in his breezy style.  You'll never be questioned. 

You can also check into a room, stipulating "no smoking," and after you get to the room, stuff the mini-bar contents in your bag, smoke a cigarette, and call the front desk to complain about having a smoking room, summon a hotel staff member to verify, and change rooms. Because the room is considered "non-occupied," no one will track it and off you go to a new room. 

If you complain too much and get on the wrong side of the front desk, look out!  How would you like a room under the 300 lb. gorilla who checked in just before you? 

If you make a racist or homophobic comment to the staff, listen for your room phone to ring all night, or how would you prefer automatic curtains which are stuck?

Never, ever book a room with a third party.  You always get a better room communicating with the hotel directly, but if you must use a third party, call the hotel before you arrive to establish "personal communications."

Always use a bellman and never, ever tip in coins.  (Tomsky says professional athletes are the worst tippers.  One left no tip after a bellman carried 14 bags to the room.  Names are omitted unless it's a positive anecdote.)

Included are lists for "Things a Guest Should Never Say," "Things a Guest Should Never Do," "Things Every Guest Must Know," "FYA-Finding Your Agent," and "Standard Lies That Spew from the Mouth of a Front Desk Agent."

The ending seems to repeat the contents too much, and perhaps it was padded to reach a certain page count.  Nevertheless, this book is fun.

Compliments to book designer Emily Mahon and jacket photographer Scott Nobles who created an eye-catching jacket, like the title.

Whatever shall Tomsky write for an encore?

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