7 February 2014

A good place to (Mama) Shelter...

For those of you who like quirky city hotels, look no further than Mama Shelter. If you like France, then you're in luck. They're already in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux. I've been to Paris and Bordeaux Mamas and only have good things to report. There's also an Istanbul MS, and they're opening soon in LA.

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Mama Bordeaux

Who?

Mama Shelter is the brainchild of one of my favourite designers, Phillipe Starck who collaborated with his son to find a niche in the market. The idea was to honour their Mums (hence the Mama reference), and to create a city hide away for lovers of all things quirky, cool and on trend.

What?

Think chicken logos, exposed concrete, egg motifs all over the doors, hipster staff wearing dungaree aprons with patches, ping pong tables in the basement, and superhero masks hanging off the mirrors in the rooms (think of that what you will). The interiors are what you would expect of a world renowned designer - philosophical scrawls across the black ceilings of the bar/restaurant, minimalist cool rooms with amazingly comfortable beds, graffiti carpets and lifts covered in fascinating random facts.

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Mama floor Paris (and my feet in Westwood for Melissa)

The staff are enthusiastic and helpful. I especially like the events, weather and exhibitions written on the lift mirrors and other random mirrors around the hotel.

All of the hotels boast an open plan bar/restaurant/lounge/club/reception which add to its laid-back cool. I love the concept store in the reception which stock Karl Lagerfeld Todokikis, mini art notepads, the superhero masks that are in the rooms and Mama's lush range of skincare which you get to try in your shower.

Where?

I visited Paris in August and instantly loved it. It's cool but there are still families and small children around - it's not exclusively fashion crowd. It's in the 20th so it's a little far out but it's about a ten minute walk from the metro (Alexandre Dumas) and right next to Pere Lachaise, convenient for some early morning grave spotting/kissing Oscar.

After Paris was a success, they opened in Lyon, Marseille, Istanbul and last October hit Bordeaux. Istanbul is next on my list, hopefully in late summer. The Bordeaux hotel is easily reached by tram for the train station and is right next to a Monoprix and cool boutiques/the main shopping district. It's pretty concealed - look for the Mama tattoo font on the black wall.

When?

There are great offers all year round (we got a great deal for Bordeaux at New Year because it had only been open for a month or two - something like 160 euros for two nights for two).

Right now there's a Love Offer for Valentine's - 209 euros for a Deluxe Double, two free breakfasts and champagne if you're feeling romantic.

Shelter

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Depends on what's burning a hole in your pocket. You can go for the standard, then there's the Luxe, Deluxe, Terrace and the Suite if you really want to push the boat out. The room in Bordeaux was more minimalist that Paris (I prefer zany stuff on the walls).

The rooms have IMacs on the walls and you can hire keyboards from reception. There's free films and wifi, the necessary minibar and safe deposit box.

Singles start at 79 euros per night, and doubles from 89.

Luxe rooms have more space and start at 109 euros.

Deluxe have more space still (260 sq ft) - from 139.

The Suite is 375 sq ft and has it's own living room! From 309 euros.

Food

Mamas have an eclectic a la carte menu. Gazpacho with popcorn, coffee roasted codfish and Almond pie were some of the delights in Paris. They have humongous deserts and a great assiette of charcuterie and cheese which are perfect for sharing. Starters are around 10, Mains around 20 and desserts around 10.

There's also a pizzeria if you fancy something quick which serves tasty wood fired pizza for reasonable prices (good to share as well). It's also great for brunch, with tribes of locals congregating together on weekends in the lounge.

Bar

The Mama Bar is memorable and perfect for those who are a little left of centre. I loved Bordeaux's bar which has rubber rings above it in a variety of sizes and colours (I made sure I nicked a couple for New Year's Eve dancing). There are also numerous musical instruments behind the DJ area which can lead to an impromptu jamming session (if you can get past the DJs).The cocktail list is bang on, modern twists on classics and little known delights - I like a Mama Loves You and the Absynthe Minded (between 10 and 15 euros each). There's usually DJs every weekend in all hotels - follow on twitter for latest updates  - @Mama_Shelter

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Mama says book it now.

http://www.mamashelter.com/en/

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