With seven new Mama Shelter hotels opening around the world in 2022 and 2023, Globetrender checks into Mama Shelter Toulouse to get a sense of what the brand is all about. Lotte Jeffs reports

Mama Shelter has the secret sauce needed to create spaces that appeal to Millennials and Gen Zers alike. Ever since the first property in the portfolio opened in 2008 in Paris the playful approach to hospitality – photobooths, foosball, free movies to stream – has meant that the brand continually surprises guests with its innovative offerings.

Globetrender recently checked into the brand’s Toulouse outpost and found a space buzzing with the local student community and well-heeled 30 somethings. Stays are also really affordable. Rooms cost from £79 a night for a 15 sqm Small Mama Double (£89 for a Medium).

The building is behind the façade of an old movie theatre and in homage to its past there’s a 45-seat cinema on site that plays cult classics to hotel and restaurant guests Wednesday-Sunday. The rooftop bar and restaurant with its parasols and colourful loungers brings a splash of tropical cool to this under-the-radar French city. Mama Shelter ToulouseWe were impressed with the hotel’s three workspace ateliers, that can be hired by the day. Atelier 1 has floor to ceiling arched windows offering a view of the boulevard below and with hipster prerequisites of table football and a basketball net, they’d be perfect for team away days or impromptu creative brainstorming sessions.

Our room was small (despite being in the “medium” category) but functional and the experience of staying in it was elevated by the lighting (choose an evocative red for night time ambience) and the quirky touches, such as a bunny and a Darth Vader mask hanging on the night light). Mama Shelter ToulouseMama Shelter ToulouseThe king-size bed was also exceptionally comfortable. Apparently, free X-rated movies are available on the TV – and cheeky in-room amenities are on-hand. Mama Shelter ToulouseNo one stays in a Mama Shelter to sleep – this place is all about the scene. A DJ plays most nights and the ground floor courtyard area is the perfect place for a party. (I could hear the music from my room.)

Dining is also central to Mama Shelter hotels. At the Toulouse property, the rooftop bar serves pizza, while the main restaurant lists mains such as salmon tartare and risotto, as well as regional dishes such as duck breast and Toulouse sausage with mashed potato.

Mama Shelter ToulouseAnother detail we enjoyed was the merchandise on sale in reception – proving the commercial power of a hospitality brand that has successfully diversified and commoditised its unique “mood”. Its bold graphics adorn T-shirts, hats and tote bags alongside candles, glass wear and other arty trinkets.

Future openings from Mama Shelter

MAMA DUBAIThis year will see the opening of Mama Lisboa (Lisbon) situated between the lively Príncipe Real district and the monumental Praça Marquês de Pombal; Mama Paris La Défense located between the Esplanade de la Défense and Pont de Neuilly, in the heart of the famous business district; and Mama Shelter Dubai (pictured).

The Dubai property will feature 197 rooms – and 192 apartments – plus a range of dining outlets, a terrace with four swimming pools, an outdoor CineMama.

Looking further ahead, 2023 kicks off with the opening of Mama Bucharest, Mama Rennes and Mama Dijon (France), and finally Mama Sao Paulo will open before 2023 comes to a close.

Mama Roma opened in July 2021 with the brand’s first-ever Roman-style Mama Baths, plus a pool, sauna and hammam.

Owned by the Accor Hotel group and created by Serge Trigano, a French entrepreneur known for chairing Club Med in its 90s hey day, Mama Shelter has cornered the market in upscale affordability. The brand offers an inspiring example of centering authenticity and experience in designing a new kind of luxury.

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