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Mama Shelter, Los Angeles

TRAVEL

Mama Shelter, Los Angeles

The boutique hotel company says hello to Hollywood

by Julie Wolfson
on 06 August 2015

On a recent Friday night at the new Mama Shelter boutique hotel on Los Angeles, DJ Kurse was playing a set for locals and hotel guests. A family had gathered to celebrate a 72nd birthday and the giant foosball table was being carefully picked up and moved to the side to make room for some celebratory dancing. This led to a Soul Train-style dance line just inside the hotel's entrance. Meanwhile, Mayer Hawthorne stopped in for dinner, before joining DJ Kurse to spin a few tunes himself. This is just a glimpse at what Mama Shelter is all about.

"This is a place for fun and for everyone big and small, old and young, all together,” says General Manager Joseph Kirtley. With locations in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Istanbul, now the Mama Shelter family is saying hello to Hollywood—their first location in the United States.

While planning the transformation of the space that had been sitting vacant for years, they lowered the 16-foot ceiling to create a more intimate feeling. Mama Shelter owner Benjamin Trigano, who also owns M+B gallery in West Hollywood, called several local artists to contribute to the space. In the center of the restaurant a mom flies on a trapeze with a baby trailing behind, dangling from an umbilical cord. “This is the first chalkboard ceiling where we reached out to artists,” says Trigano. He points up to a place near the open kitchen, “This one is about forging his mom’s signature for school paperwork.”

Everyone is welcome. There is no attitude ever.

“We are not trying to be cool,” Trigano continues. “We are trying to sell fun. We do not discriminate... We think the diversity of the clientele is very important. Everyone is welcome. There is no attitude ever.”

All Mama Shelter hotels are designed by Philippe Starck, offering contemporary design elements focused on being whimsical, approachable, and comfortable. The rooms in the Hollywood location—which is actually designed by Starck's protege Thierry Gaugain—feature large, cozy beds with soft fluffy white linens, graphic black and white carpeted floors, and “Mama Loves you! xoxo” painted across a wall-sized mirror. More quirky touches in the rooms include two of a rotating roster of six film scripts (our room has copies of Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski), colorful basket lamps, and Keith Richard’s autobiography sitting on the night stand next to the Bible. “Even though we are affordable,” explains Trigano, “We try to work with the best suppliers. We have really good bedding. Service is very important. Warm welcoming. Very Mama.”

The lamps attached to the headboard have sequin-covered animal masks, which come in handy for the many guests enjoying the photo booth feature on the iMac screens in all of the rooms. Those photos are part of the Mama Shelter media amenities set up for multi-function fun. The menu accesses WiFi, messages, movies and TV, hotel info, as well as photo booth. Another screen in the lobby shares the room photos—at least the ones that people haven't elected to keep private.

Mama Shelter’s Chef Ben Bailly heads to the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sunday mornings to buy fruits, vegetables and flowers to bring back to the hotel, and then cooks up seasonal brunch dishes. The open kitchen and communal tables in the restaurant have been designed to make guests feel at ease. “The whole idea is like your are going to your mama’s house. So it is comfortable. Not judgmental,” says Trigano. For dinner, Chef Bailly serves up dishes inspired by home cooking and comfort food—all with an elevated twist. The restaurant bar even features cocktails named for famous mom movies—there's an Y Tu Mamá También with mescal or a Mommy Dearest with cognac.

In September, Mama Shelter will open a 100-seat bar and restaurant on the roof with sweeping panoramic views of the city and hills, an outdoor screening area, with space for a work out and yoga studio. A large neon sign will soon be added to the Northeast corner of the building glowing with a colorful message from Mama.

Mama Shelter is located at 6500 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles. To reserve a room at their LA hotel, or other locations in France and Istanbul, visit their website.

Images courtesy of Mama Shelter

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