Five years after the first Mama Shelter hotel bursting onto the Parisian scene – and since then, three that followed in Marseille, Lyon and Istanbul – the Trigano family (co-founders of Club Med), French philosopher Cyril Aouizerate and superstar designer Philippe Starck have chosen the city of Bordeaux, South-West of France, to keep writing on the Mama Shelter adventure with a fifth opening.
A quick hour drive from home to Bordeaux left me with no excuse but to give a go at the new Mama Shelter Bordeaux. Rembering the good times I had during my stay at the Mama Paris some years ago, I couldn’t be deterred from renewing the experience!
It is on a quiet pedestrian street of the historic city center, a few steps away from the Pey-Berland cathedral in the Saint-Christoly quarter, that the massive hotel stands, almost invisible, as it blends into the scenery of the neighborhood. One must look up to admire the 1930s architecture of ‘La Tour du Gaz‘ (the gas tower) building, former headquarters of France’s national gas company. The black cubic entrance pierced into the right-hand side of the facade is signaled by a discret silver plaque and a massive white Mama Shelter graffiti. A few stairs lead me into a darkened low lighted lobby where a friendly young hostess handed me the precious magnetic swiping black card. I was allowed access to the elevators adorned with Bordeaux and South Western idiomatic expressions, and my room!
Fifth floor, room #509. A Mama Deluxe Double with ceiling-high windows, bathed in soothing marshmallow pink, white and black tones and with pale lime green bathroom walls that echoe of that the inner courtyard. The furnishing is slick, minimalistic but comfortable … because Mama likes to keep it pure – a writing desk, a satin smooth sheeted double bed with a head that lits up, large lighting mirror frames standing on a chalk-effect black and white chequered carpet, a Mac interactive entertainment system and, of course, the iconic and fun Darth Vader, Batman or Taz masks hanging in different corners of the room. No room service, but hey, aren’t these rooms supposed to be anything more than a space for getting ready to go out and doze off ?
With the same spirit as that of its predecessors, Mama Shelter Bordeaux encapsulates the very essence of its founders’ deﬁnition of hospitality, offering that welcoming and friendly ambiance that has become the signature of the hotels. So much more than a place to sleep, it is a ‘refuge’ with soul and heart beating 100km per hour. The downstairs is where things are happening !
The shared living areas are about cosiness and socialising. The cleverly-organized open plan agora is supported by columns of raw concrete and beautifully painted ceilings with Tarek Benaoum’s graffitis and calligraphy – another trademark of the house. The lounge restaurant offers creative dishes winking at Southwestern cuisine, a corner with high tables serves home-made pizzas until one o’clock in the morning (practical when you’re a late eater like me) and a bar topped with tens of colorful animal-shaped floating swim rings lined up on neon tube lights, endlessly stretches in the room. Behind a large glass, you can watch the kitchen brigade activate frantically. The rest of the commons are in the basement. There, an unexpected cute video-projected chick welcomes you to the toilets (a chick that surely has to do with Mama’s blind-folded hen). And if you’re a ping-pong fan, well, just pay a visit to that basement …
Topped with a 300 m² roof terrace (that should opened to the clientele next year) and a unique ‘Atelier’ meeting room with amazing views over the city, Mama Shelter Bordeaux offers 97 rooms in four categories with prices ranging from 79 euro per night. An affordable design hotel, yes indeed. The hotel’s opening phase is a success : the downstairs was absolutely packed last weekend, blending genres and generations, ranging from passers-by and tourists to the hype Bordelais crowd. Add to all this the homey feeling and the awesomely eclectic interior design orchestrated by Philippe Starck, and you have the right combination for a perfect getaway and maybe for unpredictable encounters …
Time to leave you with the following pics.
Mama loves you, I do too. ♥ Speak soon, xo Flo
Photos © Maxime M. + Florence Deau
Mama Shelter Bordeaux
Address: 19 Rue Poquelin Molière, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Phone:+33 5 57 30 45 45
Photos © Maxime M. + Florence Deau