Christian Publisi, chef at Relae and Manfred’s in Copenhagen, describes this Philippe Starck-designed hotel as “incredibly chic in the cool Paris way." Rooms are tiny, but packed with essentials like iMacs programmed to work as TVs or computers, minibars, even microwaves. The black walls are inscribed with poems and quotes such as “Paris I Love You” or “Love is all you need.” Despite being in the 20th arrondissement, the hotel attracts an artsy crowd with a DJ who spins nightly and rooms that start at $112 a night.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
The hotel sits amid a residential quarter of the 20th arrondissement, just south of the Père Lachaise Cemetery but within walking distance of the Asian and African restaurants of Belleville, four open-air markets, and galleries and businesses opened by young creative types avoiding the high rent and fixed mindsets of the city center. The hotel has a detailed map of vintage shops of the Rue de Menilmontant, graffiti and street art on the Rue Denoyer, bars, restaurants, and independent fashion boutiques. Rue des Pyrénées is where neighborhood residents do daily shopping. In warm weather, families and young bohemians take picnics to the romantic Parc Des Buttes Chaumont laid out in a former quarry with artificial grottoes, lakes, bridges, exotic trees, and superb Paris views especially at sunset. Within the park grounds, Rosa Bonheur, a former 19th-century beer garden, attracts all the tribes with music and modern tapas. Chatomat (6 Rue Victor Letalle) serves of-the-moment light dishes in a small dining room with exposed brick and industrial lighting.
Need to Know
Rooms: 170 rooms. From $100. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The ground-floor brasserie, booked solid on weekends, offers traditional steak frites, a veggie Parmentier, and fusion dishes such as the salmon with satay topping, tarragon puree, and mustard sauce. The space segues into a pizzeria where diners share a long, raised communal table. The rooftop bar, open in spring and summer, serves a set price three-course dinner. There is no room service, but all rooms come with a minibar and microwave. Spa and gym details: There’s no gym or spa. The hotel recommends Les Bains de Saadia (30 Rue des Solitaires) for its hammam and massages.
Who’s it for: Travelers seeking an antidote to the tourism mainstream. Our favorite rooms: The individually decorated rooms are priced according to size. The Mama Terrace category has a balcony with views of the 20th arrondissement. Good to know: Meals at the hotel can easily double your (affordable) room rate. Fortunately, many reasonably-priced restaurants lie within walking distance, including the staff pick Blaise et Basile (2 Place Saint-Blaise), a bistro just up the street.
Hip Paris Digs
Mama certainly knows best. Though this boite is located outside of Paris's centre in the 20th, it's one of those places that have made the area a destination. I kind of love that it's outside of the city centre because it's an excuse to explore an area that you wouldn't otherwise go to. I personally haven't been to the hotel but I love its "so hip it hurts" vibe. The one thing I love the most are those superhero lights. So cute! Their bar also seems to be quite the place to congregate and that's always a sign. So Mama Shelter makes the checklist: stylish, comfortable, great bar and wireless digs not to mention that it's AFFORDABLE! Bonus: they have an outpost in Marseille. Check, Check, Checkity Check!
Mama Shelter’s owners, who launched the Fleche d’Or indie rock club across the street, turned an outlying location in the 20th arrondissement into an advantage. They enlisted Philippe Starck to design the restaurant, bar, pizzeria, and summer rooftop terrace—which now attract poets, artists, and counterculture types from across the city. Street cred still intact years after the 2008 opening, the hotel’s décor—black ceilings turned into graffiti chalkboards bearing literary quotations; Mexican wrestling and Halloween masks turned into lampshades; tree trunks used as stools—remains relentlessly hipster without being overwhelming; guests could be young parents with sleeve tattoos toting baby carriers in the elevators.
This is truly a budget-priced hotel, but the management doesn’t skimp on smart luxuries: comfortable beds and linens, free Wi-Fi, wall-mounted iMacs for free movies and video editing on demand, and even microwaves for heating, say, that wonderful foie gras–stuffed quail purchased from a neighborhood traiteur. The savvy traveler lifestyle extends to the hotel concept shop selling motorcycle helmets for guests who want to look fashionable while renting a hotel scooter. For more leisurely budget sightseeing, guests take the 76 bus, which stops in front of the hotel on the way to the Louvre.