Europe’s hip, affordable hotel brand, Mama Shelter, has invaded the U.S., opening its first American outpost in Hollywood. The family that co-founded Club Med dreamt up the Mama Shelter seven years ago, which explains the brand’s emphasis on fun. Co-founder Benjamin Trigano talks about why L.A. is the perfect location for an American offshoot, what sets the Mama Shelter brand apart, and where we can expect more Mamas in the future.
Why choose L.A. for the American debut of Mama Shelter?
“L.A. embodies all of Mama’s values: it’s eclectic, eccentric, full of culture, good and bad tastes, and feels both old school and youthful.”
How do you describe the brand in two words?
“Urban Kibbutz. The word refers to a space where locals and foreigners can come to share delicious dishes with a casual and communal atmosphere.”
What sets Mama Shelter apart from other boutique hotel brands?
“Most boutique brands are trying to sell cool or hip. We sell fun. Mama is about having a good time and letting your guard down and not pretending. Our bar is a mix of a sports bar and live venue bar; our food is extremely good but simple and very communal. We have photo booths and video booths in the rooms and common areas for guests to play with as well as an oversized foosball for up to 8 people. We give guests the tools to have fun.”
What—if anything—has changed for the American market?
“We toned down the contemporary design and made it a bit more old-school L.A. It’s less about design but more about the feel-good vibration you get from the L.A. designer heritage.”
What type of traveler will Mama Shelter L.A. appeal to?
“Mama is very inclusive, we want to have a mix of different demographics. Overall we want people to come to Mama because they want to have a fun time.”
What’s the coolest amenity you’ll find in the new L.A. property?
“Every room comes with a Bible and Mama’s bible, which is Keith Richards Auto biography, Life, so there is spiritual reading for everyone. And if that was not enough, we put L.A.-based movie scripts in every room such as L.A. Confidential, Blade Runner, Pulp Fiction, and Swingers.”
The rooftop is scheduled to open in November. How do you create an original rooftop concept?
“Mama’s rooftop will truly be a sight to behold with a 360° view spanning the Hollywood Sign to downtown and to the blue of the Pacific on the Westside. In addition to the view, Mama’s rooftop will feature a Muscle Beach-inspired outdoor gym, a bar serving drinks and snacks, and outdoor sheet-projected movies.”
Can we expect to see more Mama Shelters popping up throughout the U.S.?
“We are working on several locations such as Detroit and New Orleans.”