Doubles from: $96 to $214
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
Calling all hipsters! The Mama Shelter, located one block east of Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement, offers 172 rooms with ultra-trendy design in an atmosphere that’s equal parts hotel, nightclub and fashionista den. For this Mama, eclectic design reigns supreme.
Pros: Trendy, ultra-modern hotel decked out with amenities. Close to Pere Lachaise. Bustling with activity in its multiple bars and restaurants.
Cons: Dark rooms. Location is far from central Paris. Rates are often out of “Cheapo” range.
A creation of hotel impresario Philippe Starck, the Mama Shelter has been injecting style into Paris’ affordable hotel scene since it opened its trendy doors in 2008. You’ll notice that it’s not-your-mama's-hotel when you spot its modern facade—seven floors that combine concrete and floor-to-ceiling windows at severe angles. It could easily be mistaken for a modern art museum somewhere in Scandinavia.
It should be no surprise then that rooms at the Mama Shelter are interesting. First off, they’re practical—each is equipped with an iMac that doubles as a free computer terminal and television, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, kitchenette, and minibar. Large soundproof windows offer impressive neighborhood views. The décor juxtaposes concrete walls with wooden surfaces, and the dark carpeting seems to have been scribbled on by 1,000 silver markers. Someone decided to cover the bedside lamps with masks of cartoon characters, casting a rather Goofy glow over the otherwise entirely too dark rooms. (Seriously, somebody turn up the lights!)
Happily, bathrooms are quite bright, with white tiles and a large glass-walled walk-in shower, and Kiehl’s toiletries. None of the rooms have bathtubs.
The ground floor buzzes with techy exuberance—and moves to a constant beat. Past the spot-lit reception area, a “business center” consists of several large iMacs under a deconstructed chandelier.
Most of the ground floor, however, is occupied by food and drink options. These include the “Mama Pizzeria,” which offers cheapo pizzas at long communal tables. Further on is the restaurant, where food is dished up family-style and with unsurprisingly whimsical flair. And we haven’t even mentioned the bars—cheeky places to lounge, be seen and throw back a few cocktails.
When we visited, the restaurant was alive with diners snacking in armchairs and at retro-style school desks. A group of friends was competing furiously at foosball. Candles flickered and electronica music grooved. A deep conversation was underway on the smoking terrace. And my, aren’t those waiters attractive!
Some visitors, especially first-timers in Paris, will find the Mama Shelter’s location, in the Saint Blaise neighborhood in the 20th arrondissement, far flung. The hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Metro and could never be considered “central.” However, the neighborhood is diverse and vibrant, and presents its own hipster offerings, including the famous “Flèche d’Or” nightclub across the street.
Or you could just hang out at the bar downstairs—the DJ might be better.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor. This review is based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
- Cable TV
- Handicap accessible rooms
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About the Mama Shelter Paris neighborhood
Most tourists don’t know much about this northeastern Paris neighborhood, except those who pass through on their way to Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde’s grave in the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery.