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Hotel Babylon

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,235 ratings  ·  236 reviews
'Something strange occurs to guests as soon as they check in. Even if in real life they are perfectly well-mannered, decent people with proper balanced relationships, as soon as they spin through the revolving hotel doors the normal rules of behaviour no longer seem to apply.'

All of the following is true.Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. All the anecd
Paperback, 351 pages
Published 2005 by Corgi (first published July 5th 2004)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,235 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see why somebody might give this book one star if they were reading it and hoping to find War and Peace, but let's call a spade a spade (and rate it as one): this is a fast, fun read, a page-turner full of nothing but lurid, juicy hotel gossip. If you take it for that, and are the type of person who, every once in a while enjoys indulging in knowing other peoples' silly doings, then this is one heck of a good book. It's pretty amazing what hotel staff have to smile and put up with, and wha ...more
3.5 rounded down. This isn't a "how horrible the mean tricks hotel workers do to the poor tourist" book, or what to watch out for or how to score upgrades. It's an hour by hour description of how a front desk clerk at a four star London hotel spends 24 hours (the night clerk called in sick) doing his job.

Obviously there are short tempered people checking in (count me as one of those on the red eyes), drunks, bums trying to get a warm place to spend the night and those checking out hoping to era
Elizabeth Reuter
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I enjoyed reading Hotel Babylon more than I've enjoyed reading most anything else so far this year.

Babylon is a bunch of true stories hotel manager Anonymous told Imogen Edwards-Jones, and that she arranged into a narrative. It's structured over one full day from her source's point of view, as he's forced to do 24 hours on the clock with the help of caffiene pills.

I was worried when I picked this up that it would be all horrible stories about people treating each other like crap. It's no
Jennifer Mangler
I know many people enjoyed the stories told in this book, but they just made me angry. I'm supposed to find all these "whacky" stories funny? I don't. They actually disgust me. I can't understand how anybody finds this crap amusing. Entitled people being gross and demanding is not hilarious. It's depressing.
May 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
I've already read one of this series of books and so knew the format going in - unnamed source(s) in the industry tell tales from behind the scenes, which are then written into a day in the life of - although I didn't enjoy this as much as Hospital Babylon . This is partly due to the format which means it seems less like reporting and more like bad fiction, and is also partly due to my never having worked in a hotel. But mostly it's due to the fact that in the hotel trade there don't seem to ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-books
Oh My God.. How I loved this epic tale. It's just so amazing how a hoteliers life is compressed to a double shift without missing anything out. A decade in various departments of different luxury hotels gave me the opportunity to experience 98% of this book first hand. When I read Hotel Babylon, it really brought back so many memories and a lot I'm experiencing as we speak.

I don't know whether everyone will 'get it' but it has to be read by everyone cos each and every one of us will at least sp
Katy Jean Vance
Wow. That was interesting. And terrible. And funny. I dunno... this is what happens when you travel without a backup book and have to borrow from a friend. Sheesh.
Tena Edlin
As I was reading this book, I thought it was to the hotel industry as Kitchen Confidential was to the restaurant industry. Then, about halfway through, I saw one of the reviews on the cover that had said the same thing. That part was somewhat entertaining... seeing what all goes on behind the scenes to make a hotel work. It also helped me understand why Heather Wiges Blakely and I got upgraded to a "sweet suite" when we arrived late at night to our prereserved hotel the night before the Hawkeyes ...more
Robert Day
Apr 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Charming book. Empathised with the narrator. Understood his feelings. Completely agreed with the authors version of how a hotel is and should be run. No shocks really; just life.
Apr 12, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable reading although nothing in it surprised me it was entertaining and fun
Nov 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting to learn the behind-the-scenes of a big London palace
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Air Babylon, I was happy to find out the author had used the same concept in a whole series of books. Before I was able to get my hands on Hotel Babylon, I discovered the TV series inspired by it and subsequently got hooked up. Now I´ve read it, I can tell the TV series are a vivid reflection of the book (hardly a surprise when you know Imogen Edwards-Jones was hired as a consultant), though going more in-depht into both the various hotel-related anecdotes ...more
Alisa Kester
I have to say the BBC television series is better than this book, which it's based on. They lifted all the few good parts of the book virtually intact and turned them into the main tv character's monologues, so I guess I felt there wasn't any need to for me to have read the book at all. I hoped, like with most tv adaptations of written works, that the book would be better and I'd find out loads more information about the hotel business, but there honestly wasn't much there. ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick and easy, mindlessly entertaining read about crazy happenings in a five star hotel. Not a laugh out loud funny book, but clever and well written. Good airplane or beach reading.

The book is great for a little bit of insight into the behind the scenes things hotel workers encounter. As someone who works in the hospitality industry, some of the stories were pretty reminiscent of things I've seen and heard myself.

PS: Be nice and tip housekeeping!
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
An unnamed worker in the hotel industry reveals all to the author who then weaves all the unrelated tales into the story of one night. The narrative is excellent and flows effortlessly and seamlessly. A bit of an eye opener all round. Will be interested in reading the other books in the Babylon series
Pamela Su
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Amusing and somewhat horrifying account of the day in the life of a front-desk hotel employee.

One hotel manager's entire career has been condensed into an action-packed double-shift day. It's quite an eye-opening account of working in a hotel. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes appalling and occasionally touching and sweet.

An entertaining read.
Aug 20, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was terribly written, painfully vapid. I had to quit, it was killing me softly with its song. Killing me....softly. With its song.
Fun at the start, but got tedious after awhile. Full review to follow.

This one really didn’t work for me, ended up skimming the final 10 chapters which is about a third of the book (since it is made up of 24 chapters, one for each hour of the day. Essentially the chronicles of what guests at a posh London hotel get up to, and some of the stories are so incredulous / creative, I’d never have thought them possible, but hearing from a friend who worked in the hotel industry these sorts of happening
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very real and intruging stories from a hotel manager's perspective makes the book very easy to read and you never get bored. I laughed many times, especially regarding some animal on the five-star hotel's floor. The language wasn't stylistically rich, but natural and felt like a real person's experience with different people who come to a hotel. 1st person perspective really makes it a very personal and real story as it feels like everything is happening in front of your eyes.

I know that there a
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fabulous insight into the life of the manager of a ‘6 star’ hotel.

In this book we get to delve into the gossip from behind the scenes of the true running of a huge and fabulous resort, situated on a private island.

From celebrities and rich men, to prostitutes and naughty masseuse’ this one will have you gasping, laughing and sometimes feeling a little bit sorry for the manager and staff behind all of the hard work.

This read really does give you an insight into the reality of the running of
Sep 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast read with nice tidbits about the inner workings of a high-end hotel and bar, plus some occasional celebrity gossip. It’s no Kitchen Confidential, despite what The Observer blurb would have you think, but I’m an unapologetic Anglophile, so it was still enjoyable. The edition I read was published in 2004 (and had several copy mistakes); I do wonder how much has changed in the industry in the intervening years (I suspect not much). Will probably pop my copy back into the little lending libra ...more
Eswary Ganesan
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an interesting read. As I was in resort- hotel industry before, reading some terms like their job responsibilities, parts of hotel, their bar & restaurant menu, work procedures made me excited to read more and more.

Clearly I had fun reading and looking forward to more room service calls and how they solved the problems.

However, at first i read over whatever the things of memories recalled. But its too much of sharing of here and there details of celebrities & past events. Eventually I sta
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To start... this is horribly written. But as management at a luxury hotel with 15 years experience I can say that this book is the exact replica of my time in the field... minus the mutilated sheep...

This book doesn’t cover everything but it hit several of the high notes and did so sparing almost 100% of the tension. The tension deserves its role in this story, as does the anger, adrenaline and competitiveness.
Sue Trippas
This is not my typical read but was given it so thought I'd read it. Whilst it was informative in a light way, I'm not sure I needed to know all of the happenings in a hotel. It has sort of spoiled the specialness of staying in a five star hotel. That said, there were a couple of tips which were helpful eg avoid hotel dry cleaning unless they do it themselves on site. I read this book over two days so it didn't take a lot of time or effort and that pretty well sums it up. ...more
Clive Grewcock
It was probably a mistake to read this back to back with John Niven’s ‘Kill Your Friends’, because there are several similarities. Both are in a dairy format, both dwell on the excesses of the rich and famous and both are light on plot, especially ‘Hotel Babylon’. Of the two ‘Hotel Babylon’ has more depth, as without overly beating the drum, it at least tries to contrast the conditions of the hotel’s staff with the excesses of the rich and famous.
"Reading Hotel Babylon is like mainlining Popbitch."

Just thought I would share with you that back cover quote, straight from the early 2000s.

Anyway, welcome back to 2020. Hotel Babylon is a fun, breezy look behind the scenes of a hotel. Oh, it's no great literature. Oh, it's written in tabloid style and, oh, for some reason, every other line of dialogue starts with "oh". Oh, and everyone's always smiling sentences. "That's not physically possible," N smiled.
I wouldn't have read this if a book by an anonymous author hadn't been on the Pop Sugar Challenge. This one fit the bill and seemed like it would be interesting. It was, but even more so, it was depressing to see how the lowliest workers in the hotel industry are treated and paid so poorly, while the more public-facing and obsequious personnel gleefully accept tips for fulfilling the whims of the rich and famous. What a dirty business in more ways than one. ...more
Mick Meyers
a quick and quite amusing read.this is one of a few Babylon books on different seems to be a pot pourie of stories put together by the author based on different manages accounts of hotel life.i would have liked a few more gossipy anecdotes on misbehaving celebs,but unlike Kenneth Angers book hollywood Babylon this one pulls its punches.
This is a book with a difference. Think of it as an expose into the hotel industry. Basically someone from the hotel industry took a number of events over their career and fictionalised them into a "day in the life of a hotel worker.

It was quite funny but I won't be looking at hotels the same way again.
Lisa - BookSirens ARC Queen
I read Hotel Babylon after watching its TV adaptation and totally loved Imogene's writing style. It's a classic holiday read, full of exciting insider titbits about the hotel industry. Saucy at times and revealing at others, I couldn't put it down till I was finished. Went ahead and read a few of her other books from the same series – Restaurant Babylon and Airline Babylon. ...more
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