Don’t be put off by the name or the location, Mama Shelter, nestled into the 20th arrondissement, is one of the trendiest hotels I’ve discovered in terms of quality and price (89 Euro). The lobby, rooms, lively bar and bistro are tres chic with a guests to match.
On my last trip to Paris I couldn’t help but bask in the “cool” factor of the 172-room hotel. The overall design is eclectic and electric – all concrete walls and art, design and photography coffee-table books lying around on antique furniture.
On the ground floor the bar, pizzeria, and bistro are the places to be seen and to see the trendy Parisians who are there drinking, dining and dancing. Enjoy the creative cocktails and fabulous food and I dare you to finish the moules/frites or the decadent desserts.
The rooms are small and simple with black walls and a stylish decor illuminated by bedside lamps made of fluorescent tubes covered by Chewbacca masks. All rooms have an iMac with TV, free films, radio, WiFi, microwave, minibar and a bathroom equipped with Kiehls shampoo and coriander body wash.
The tourist attraction in this area is the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery, a five-minute walk from the hotel. I wandered among the tombstones and mausoleums, got lost twice, and finally found the resting places of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde. Rock and Roll fans from around the world crowd into the narrow paths around Morrison’s tomb.
The hotel’s location in the 20th arrondissement isn’t close to the tourist sites. It is only an 10-minute walk to the nearest Metro or about a $25 taxi-ride to Notre Dame or the St. German des Pres area. If you eat and drink in the hotel and take taxis everywhere you may end up spending more than your savings.
Mama Shelter has received good reviews in the New York Times, Frommers’ Guides and on CNBC.
Perhaps this is not the hotel for your first visit to Paris, but very good for the price.
Rumors have it that additional Mama Shelters will open soon in Marseille, Bordeaux and New York City.