It is not all that often that one spends the night with a couple of Ogres, which was what happened to me when I checked into my room at Mama Shelter, which is all about presentation with a unique twist. The Ogres in question were Shrek and Princess Fiona; they were the bedside lights in my room. This quirkiness did not stop at masked bedside lights at this hotel in the Saint Blaise Quarter of Paris; with a quotation-filled lift and syringes drawn on the bar ceiling, this was not a conventional hotel. A collaborative design between architect Roland Castro and uber-designer Philippe Stark, this hotel is for the design conscious eclectic. Based in an area of Paris that doesn’t immediately spring to mind (it’s quite far from the city centre), Mama Shelter is aimed at the traveler who is more Shoreditch or Williamsburg than Mayfair or the Upper East Side.
Things that work are the exceptional food, the eloquent and savvy staff, who are styled like trendy young architects in black denim, and the ‘fun chic’ atmosphere that permeates the public areas, both from the decoration and the clientele.
This hotel was on the cusp of pretension with graffiti-ed walls, mismatched furnishings and intentionally dark interiors, but prevented itself from tipping the balance with its quality detailing, such as the satin cotton sheets, in-room iMacs and Wi-Fi capability throughout.
Overall, this hotel has created an intelligent, sometimes clinical, always trendy atmosphere that plays on novelty, but remains seated in the basics of high-quality service and presentation.