Mama Shelter Paris
What We Love
- iMacs loaded with free on-demand movies in every room
- The washer and dryer for common use
- Super-knowledgeable staff who have insider tips for everything from bars to shopping
What To Know
- This is a spot for singles or couples, not ideal for kids
- If this is your first time in Paris, keep in mind that this is not in a central location
- Free WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
While the 20th arrondissement isn’t top of anyone’s list of must-see districts in Paris, this funky little hotel doesn’t care. The youthful guests drink cocktails on the roof, take selfies wearing the cartoon masks that are part of the room décor, and snack on French regional cuisine or just-out-of-the-oven pizzas with just the right air of nonchalance. You’ll have to leave the Philippe Starck–designed environs and hop on the metro to see any of the traditional Paris sights, or you could just ask the hip staff members for their tips for what to do in the 20th. Rooms are compact (some have just a single bed), but it’s the ground floor that’s the hang-out spot—a sort of open-plan café, bar, and concept store combo all staffed by friendly folks who’ll make you feel part of the cool crowd.
In the Area
The closest metro stop is about a ten-minute walk from the hotel—and you’ll need to use it to get to the main Paris sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. If you prefer to stay in the neighborhood, though, there’s still plenty to see: this section of the city was once a village, and the old houses are beautiful, though mixed with 1970s housing blocks. The one major site within walking distance is the Père Lachaise cemetery, which is worth at least an afternoon: enormous and verdant, it’s home to a stunning array of famous people’s graves (residents include Balzac, Chopin, Molière and Edith Piaf, as well as Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison). About a mile and a half east of the hotel you’ll find more bars and shops. FrenchTrotters, a chic little clothing boutique, is just down the Rue de Charonne from Septime, one of the city’s best restaurants. Bertrand Grébaut’s seasonal cooking and a list of natural wines are a big draw—book as far in advance as possible.
How to Get There
We have been staying here ever since it opened in 2008. This is the original Mama Shelter and there are now others around the world. It is still cool and funky, but this time we were less satisfied than usual. The bathroom was showing its age - some tiles needed grouting and the toilet seat was fixed crookedly. I had forgotten my razor and in such a situation, most hotels would give you a little packet containing a disposable razor and some shaving cream. The only possibility offered to me was to buy a razor, plus a shaving brush and shaving soap from the gift cabinet; not what I needed. It was suggested that I go to the nearby supermarket, so I came back with a packet of 5 disposable razors plus a giant can of shaving cream, I suppose I shouldn't have been is forgetful. Also, the toiletries offered in the room are the absolute minimum - a small bar of soap and a combined shower gel/shampoo.
There are other cool, mid-price hotels in Paris (Room Mate will soon open). Mama Shelter risks being overtaken.
We organized a global business meeting for a group of 20 people with the hotel and restaurant. We wanted someplace "different", more hip and innovative than the usually stark hotel conference centers. Mama Shelter definitely provided this. Everyone who worked there was friendly, helpful, and food was great, albeit F&B arrangements overall was a bit less organized than some of the larger hotel chains we've worked with in the past. The conference room and breakout rooms were a bit oddly shaped and smallish for a group our size (but we wanted "different", and they were!) Off the beaten path location, so any place we went required transportation arrangements. Not sure we would do the same again for business, but the place is definitely nice for casual travelers.
We reserved our table at 7pm and once we got settled and ordered our food we could tell the action was going to happen later. So if you want a trendy scene with a DJ and very good food or drinks and snacks this is the place. Our dinner was very enjoyable and then found out that there is a Mama's 1 mile from our house in Los Angeles...lol lol...These places are of the under 40 ha ha we are not, but loved it.
I enjoyed my time here. I was initially unsure about the location but in reality it's only 4-6 stops on the metro to get to the centre of Paris and it's nice not to be in the middle of the touristy areas. I used the train/metro system to get from CDG airport to the hotel and back and it was easy enough to manage with one large suitcase and my backpack. The hotel is modern and attracts a young fashionable clientele. The staff were always very friendly and welcoming. It's good that there is a restaurant onsite so you don't have to head up the street to find food. There are supermarkets near the Metro too. The hotel's brand is clearly to encourage a bit of mischief. Each room has an iMac mounted on the wall as the TV and you can take photos of yourself doing whatever and share it or view pictures previous guests have taken. It's hilarious what some people have snapped and left. Only feedback for improvement I would give is if you want to encourage a bit of debauchery, more supplies are needed in the room. I booked a small room with double bed and aside from 2 plastic cups, there were no wine glasses, bottle openers, spoons, knives and forks or even tea cups and saucers to use in the room. The refrigerator is one of those ones where it is stocked and only those items can be stored there so there is no room for your own purchases. The rooms are also very dark. I was on holiday but I had a little bit of work to do on my laptop and the dark, small room just wasn't conducive to being productive. Maybe a point to note for business customers... I booked the small room so maybe a larger room wouldn't have been as bad. The lighting in the room was coming from three lamps that didn't have off buttons. To light the room I had to plug or unplug the cords from the wall. three of the five sockets didn't work in the room so I had to alternate between charging devices and having light. These were all just small things and I would still recommend Mama Shelter to friends. I only discovered it on my last day as I wasn't told when I checked in and the rooms don't have an amenities guide but there is a communal iron and ironing board and laundry on level 5, which is useful.
Usually I don’t like to eat in hotel restaurants but this one is exceptional. Actually we went there especially for dinner. Beautifully designed, kind of American approach of staff. Food was very good, staff kind, just a bit confused, nothing critical. We were group 10 people. See pictures for food.