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December 14, 2021

Memoir reveals the dirty little secrets that make up hotel life

If you've ever wanted to know how to pillage the entire contents of a minibar, duck out of paying for a hotel room, or just generally put something over on a hotel employee, here's your chance.

The dirty little secrets that make up hotel life — many of them quite underhanded — are chronicled deliciously in Jacob Tomsky’s new book, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality.

It cuts both ways, of course.

You'll finally understand why, when visiting New York, the phone in your room rang incessantly: You were such a pain when checking in that you were given room 1212 as punishment.

Front desk staff know full well that guests dialing the New York area code 212 often hit 1-212, not realizing they first have to dial 9 to get a local outside line.

Welcome to Purgatory, they smile.

Tomsky, who worked his way up from parking valet in New Orleans to Manhattan front-desk manager, delivers an insider's view that, while a bit prurient, is always amusing. 

If you don't have the time for the whole memoir though, flip to the back for a quick precis.

There you'll find some key observations including "Things a Guest Should Never Say (somebody told me I should ask you an upgrade)," "Things a Guest Should Never Do (endlessly talk on cell while checking in)," "Standard Lies That Spew from the Mouth of a Front Desk Agent (sorry, there's nothing I can do)," and many more.

Have you had any success when negotiating with hotel staff? What's your secret?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...