Luxury Hotels


Gunifort Uwambaga, above, was born and schooled in Rwanda before relocating to Europe and becoming an investment banker.  He worked part-time in Amsterdam’s Mendo bookstore and then part-time became full-time (banking was so boring). Then he bought the bookstore, then he partnered with HOTEL DE L’EUROPE and moved Mendo into the hotel.

Brilliant win-win. The hotel started making money from what had been a meeting room, not needed during the pandemic. Mendo had a sensible base, with street access as well as direct entry to the hotel. Amsterdam residents and others immediately had a bookshop with comfy sofas for browsing, and food and drinks from the hotel.

Browse Botticelli bubbly in hand. Why don’t more hotels do this, Girlahead wonders?  Assouline has a dedicated space at FAIRMONT THE PLAZA in New York but it’s a mezzanine terrace looking down over check-in, not nearly as integrated as the Mendo-De l’Europe relationship.

That hotel continues to be associated with one book, of course, Eloise at The Plaza, by Kay Thompson, with illustrations by Hilary Knight – this became a best-selling 2003 movie, starring Sofia Vassilieva. Another North American Accor hotel has literary connections, thanks to books ghosted for Catie Copley, canine security officer at FAIRMONT COPLEY PLAZA in Boston (a memorial to the black lab on Dartmough treet was unveiled by the Mayor of Boston, and her professional title has passed to Carly Copley).

Let’s listen to Accor’s boss of The Americas: