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Mama Knows Best at Mama Shelter in Marseille

Mama knows best at Mama Shelter in Marseille.

It’s possible that one of the reasons I enjoyed my stay in Marseille, France as much as I did was because it began and ended with a stay at one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Mama Shelter Marseille.

Welcome Home to Marseille

From the time I arrived at this funky and fun hotel, I was treated like a valued guest, a long lost friend, and a respected client. It’s a mix that many places try for, but few get right.

Even though I had made my reservation for the wrong month (talking about screwing up bad!) they sorted things out for me and since they had the space, they actually gave me an upgrade!

bog fluffy white pillows at Mama Shelter

The rooms were big, well lit, artsy, and with giant iMac TV’s that could allow you to take pictures of yourselves on the bed – certainly designed for more than just single old me.  Just in case you wanted to take a picture of yourself and remain anonymous (because the pics might get shown in the bar or are visible to other guests who stay in your room later) – there were looney tunes masks hanging on the wall which was partially fun and partially a little teeny bit creepy.

mama shelter marseilleWith a fantastic location and a magnificent yet casual restaurant and bar downstairs, one couldn’t be blamed for coming to Marseille just to stay at Mama Shelter. But, just in case you do want to explore, they’ve created their own map of offbeat and fun things to see and do in Marseille. Not your usual tourist map, this included clubs, bistros, sex shops, toy stores (kids toys), and plenty more that you may want to see. The map alone is worth the price of a room, which by the way, you can get for unbelievably low rates at any time of the year. An example would be the current special  – a deluxe double for two nights with breakfast included AND a bottle of champagne for 179 Euro. Breakfast by the way, was stellar with crepes, omelets, bacon, cheeses, meats, and much more.

Steak Tartare in MarseilleOne of the things you’ll notice about Mama Shelter is the cool outsider vibe. Often if feels more like a hotel designed around a cool restaurant rather a cool restaurant tucked in a hotel lobby. In fact, that is exactly what it is. Mama Shelter began in Paris as a funky restaurant club and then completed with a hotel. Check out this blurb about Mama Shelter if you want to check out the credentials….

Created by the Trigano family, the founders of the famous Club Med, along with Cyril Aouizerate and designed with the collaboration of Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter is poised to become the vanguard for a new type of boutique hotel.

Yeah, it was created by the people who made Club Med and I can tell you that Cyril Denoix,  the manager of Mama Shelter Marseille is one cool dude. During my time there I had the chance to chat with him over pastis and pizza in Mama’s pizza garden. Great pizza and more types of pastis than I thought could possibly exist.

Mama Knows Best Mama Shelter Marseille
Mama Knows Best.

Mama Shelter is more than a hotel, more than a restaurant, more than a very cool nightclub – it is already a landmark. It is a point of change in a city that is becoming more worldly just by the presence of Mama Shelter Marseille.  With architecture by Roland Castro and design by Phillippe  Starck – this place pops. Visually, emotionally, and temporally.

Every room has a kitchenette. Every room has a mini bar. Every room has deluxe toiletries. Every room has incredible lighting, super soft beds and comfy white duvets and fluffy white pillows in plenty. Mama Shelter is a sensual refuge for the masses.  Priced so that it can be afforded by anyone, but designed in such a way that is seems like it should be five times as much.

Enormous tables in the restaurant encourage dining with strangers and the food – I was fortunate to eat the best beef tartar I’ve ever tasted while I was there. I wish I could have eaten everything else I saw coming out of the kitchen.  A terrace, a yoga room, a ton of movies (regular or XXX) for free on the iMacs in the room and a staff that obviously was at least partially chosen for being beautiful.

Personally…I can’t wait to go back. Of course, I can also go to Mama Shelter in Paris or perhaps to their latest project in New York City. Any way about it…I know it will be great.

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook