Mama Shelter has long been known as one of Paris’s coolest hotels, but as it is located in the slightly further out 20th arrondissement, we had always stayed somewhere more central on previous trips to the city. However, thanks to it’s fashionable reputation it had always been on our “to stay” list, and so this time we decided it was time to explore a different part of the city, and see how well Mama could look after us.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon in the diverse and certainly more local 20th arrondissement to find a very buzzy vibe already in the hotel, with the bar and restaurant full of friends and families enjoying Sunday brunch. The hotel had been easy to get to, and we realised that changing our usual Paris location and getting out the the tourist areas was certainly no bad thing. We felt more local as soon as we arrived, and impressed by Mama Shelter straight away.
Despite the lively atmosphere of the hotel however, our room was surprisingly peaceful and quiet. Decorated in a minimalist and modern style – think black and concrete walls and large unframed mirrors – there were also quirky Mama Shelter touches, such as a handwritten message on the mirror, Tweety Pie and Sylvester masks hanging over lamps, and of course Phillipe Starck’s classic ghost chair. We didn’t have a bath unfortunately, so no soaking in the tub before hitting the bar later, but after my companion described the shower as “amazing” the disappointment quickly wore off. We also loved our bathroom beauty products from award-winning French organic brand Absolution with their simple formulations and of course simple yet stylish Mama Shelter packaging.
We spent some time settling in, and loved the addition of the iMac for some in-room entertainment, but then headed out to explore Paris, and actually used some of the suggestions from Mama Shelter’s own website. Offering up some more unusual ideas on what to see and do we felt like locals for the weekend exploring Paris’s hidden areas, including some great spots on where to eat and drink.
We couldn’t resist a cocktail in the hotel’s bar though, well known for being one of the best in the area, so after heading back from dinner elsewhere we found a spot at the bar to take a look at the cocktail menu. Including classics as well as Mama’s own creations, the staff were friendly, helpful and quick, and the atmosphere cool but without been pretentious.
After our drinks we headed up to our room to cosy up in our super-soft beds, and rose again the next morning ready for Mama’s breakfast. Set in the hotel’s stylish restaurant it didn’t feel like your regular, and sometimes stiff, hotel breakfast, but rather somewhere you would want to meet anyway with friends, and we began to see why the hotel’s Sunday brunch is so popular. In fact, we began to see why Mama Shelter herself was so enduringly popular, she might not live in the centre of Paris but in the end that was part of the appeal. She had given us not just another look at Paris, but with her cool, hip and modern vibe, also the perfect place for a fashionable weekend away.
Need to know:
Rates: Rooms at Mama Shelter Paris start from €79 per room per night but check out the website for many great special offers.
Check-in Time: 3pm
Check-out Time: 12 noon
Facilities: The hotel offers a choice of their Small Mama, Medium Mama, Large Mama or XL Mama rooms, all stylishly designed by Phillipe Starck.
All rooms come fitted with a very cool 27″ iMac with TV, radio, Airplay, Skype, web, free films, free wifi, and minibar.
Downstairs you will find Mama’s quirky hotel ‘shop’, a line of glass cabinets offering unusual gifts and unique souvenirs.
The hotel’s super cool restaurant, bar, pizzeria and rooftop terrace (open in the warmer months) are also some of the most fashionable places to hang out in the area. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays the bar also hosts its own live performances.
How to get there: Mama Shelter is located in the diverse 20 arrondissement of Paris, which although not in the centre of the city is still easy to reach, especially by metro.
The closest metro stations are Porte de Bagnolet, Alexandre Dumas, Maraîchers, and Gambetta.
Taxis are also available from Paris Orly or Charles de Gaulle airports, or from the Gare du Nord station if arriving by Eurostar.
If driving, parking is available for €25 per night, with more information available on the hotel’s website.
Mama Shelter Paris, 109, rue de Bagnolet, 75020, Paris