Design Is King in New Marseille Hotel

Philippe Starck-designed Mama Shelter Marseille brings hip style to the port city By: Mark Rogers
Guestrooms at the Mama Shelter Marseille are small but fun and funky. // © 2013 Mama Shelter Marseille
Guestrooms at the Mama Shelter Marseille are small but fun and funky. // © 2013 Mama Shelter Marseille

The Details

Mama Shelter Marseille

Back in 2009, Philippe Starck opened the ultra-hip Mama Shelter hotel in Paris. Starck has now opened a new Mama Shelter property in Marseille, France, and the light-hearted avant-garde spirit of the Mama Shelter Marseille epitomizes Starck’s philosophy that “Design without humor is not human.”

The opening of the new hotel in the south of France is nicely timed because Marseille-Provence has been singled out as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, when over 400 events will be celebrated throughout the region. Look for Mama Shelter Marseille, like its Paris counterpart, to host a series of special nights and soirees celebrating cutting-edge culture. The hotel has an atelier which can function as a meeting space for up to 50 guests, and live music will be featured on select nights in the hotel’s restaurant.

The property is situated in the center of Marseille near the trendy Cours Julien district. The six-story hotel has 127 rooms beginning at 160 square feet and ranging upward to the 481-square-foot Mama Suite. Room amenities include 27-inch iMac televisions with Skype capabilities, a digital concierge, a minibar, free Wi-Fi access and movies on demand. Touches of luxury include Absolution skin-care products and satin cotton sheets. The interior design of the hotel sports graffitied ceilings, flowerpots on the wall and a mix of pastel colors. While some rooms may be on the small side, they make up for it in warm-hearted and whimsical touches of design, such as hand-painted furniture and French retro throw pillows.

The hotel’s restaurant serves a contemporary Mediterranean menu overseen by chef Alain Senderens, known as one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine in France. A buffet breakfast is served, and the restaurant’s patio mingles a minimalist aesthetic with playful design touches.

Mama Shelter Marseille is 15 miles from Marseille Provence International Airport and a 10-minute metro ride from Marseille Saint-Charles Train Station. The hotel has its own car rental service and guests can even rent bicycles.

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