Change in the air for the quirky Mama Shelter hotel brand
If I need somewhere to stay in Paris that doesn't break the budget, then Mama Shelter is my "go to" address.
And a friend who stayed last month on my recommendation reported that it is as good as ever - although things may be about to change. Mama Shelter Paris is both stylish and affordable - but it is in the 20tharrondissement, a district that is not even on the radar of most visitors to Paris.
It’s gritty, ethnically diverse and unashamedly working class.
the other side of the tracks from the chic five-star hotels of the
Avenue Montaigne, Champs-Elysees and Left Bank and the only reason
most tourists would have for coming to this part of town would be to
explore the huge Pere Lachaise cemetery, where Jim Morrison, Edith
Piaf, Oscar Wilde and composers Chopin and Bizet are among the
Until Mama Shelter; a former derelict,
graffiti-covered multi-storey car park that overlooks a disused
railway line, opened six years ago
Philippe Starck doing the design and the Trigano family of Club Med
fame running the operation, this former eyesore has morphed into one of Paris’s hippest hotels.
All the rooms have mini bars, iMacs with TV and wi-fi
internet access, microwaves and CD/DVD players. The beds, too, are
hugely comfortable with crisp cotton sheets – many guests ask for
details of where to buy the mattresses.
theme is quirky design chic – but
that’s all part of the fun. The lifts are wallpapered with trivia –
in English and French and the rooms are small but functional.
Best of all the prices, at the first Mama Shelter and its offshoots, are rock bottom.
nothing remotely stuffy about Mama Shelter, the bar area is covered
in faux graffiti, a nod to the real thing on the old rail track that
runs beside the hotel.
It is a 10-15-minute walk to the nearest
Metro stations (Gambetta, Alexandre Dumas and Porte de Bagnolet are
equidistant). Handily, there’s a stop at the front door for a bus
that meanders its way to the rue de Rivoli and The Louvre. Now the Mama Shelter portfolio, which also includes hotels in Marseille, Lyon, Istanbul and Bordeaux range, is about to get bigger.
The massive multinational hotel group Accor has just acquired a 35% stake in the company - and about 20 new Mamas are due to open over the next five years.
The partnership gives Mama Shelter access to Accor's development and distribution network with Los Angeles, Lille, Zurich, Mexico City, Seoul, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York and London in the pipeline, as well as a second Paris address.
But Mama Shelter's charm is its quirkiness. Accor is the world's leading hotel operator with more than 3,600 hotels and 470,000 rooms in 92 countries.