Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm a designer and I'm obviously obsessed with travel, so it probably comes as no surprise that I prefer to focus on hospitality design at work. I'm one of those annoying people that takes pictures of their hotel room as soon as they enter. I evaluate every detail & file them away under do's and dont's for future projects. If only I could expense my trips as research!

On this last trip to France, we tried out many different types of accommodations- everything from couchsurfing to the newest hotel by Phillipe Starck. Stay for free in one place and you can spend a little extra in the next, right?

He did not disappoint. I'd been reading articles about Mama Shelter for the past few months. It's on every one's hot list and I had to check it out. It's marketed as one of the newer crop of designer "budget" hotels. The owner bought property further out in the 20th arrondissement, next to Pere Lachaise cemetery, so he could save a bit of money and charge a little less. I didn't feel slighted in the least. Everything in Paris is easily accessible by metro and this just encouraged me to explore new areas I hadn't fully experienced before.

Even if the neighborhood was terrible though, I would STILL recommend this place. The design is absolutely amazing. Starck's creativity and sense of humor are apparent around every corner. There's an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories that no one else would think to put together and yet he can somehow make it work. The ceilings in the lobby & restaurant are gigantic chalkboards covered in sketches & quotes. The same motif is carried into the corridors & rooms on custom carpet. Each room comes with huge Apple flat screens, super hero nightlights, and a fresh flower in your bathroom every day. The dark interior feels cozy even with the concrete walls. Downstairs, there's a restaurant that's popular in its own right. Feeling social? Take a seat at the communal table that's made from huge flat screens covered with a glass top. Feeling more private? Grab a wing back chair near the "fireplace" or head out onto the patio to enjoy your rapper themed cocktail.

Mama's definitely makes it on my top 10 list. You won't find a better deal for the experience. Don't miss out!

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