An out of town friend of mine recently told me about this very different kind of boutique hotel in Paris, called Mama Shelter.  Isn’t it funny how, sometimes, it takes a tourist to tell you about your own city.

First of all, Mama Shelter is a breakthrough name for a hotel, in that it truly breaks through the clutter.  Secondly, the space is an attractive combination of quirky, comfortable and not too expensive.  Thirdly, they dare to be different in the details.  And if my friend is anyone to go by, it has a way of treating you that is different as well (especially when compared with your typical snooty-nosed hotels).  Yes, it is a bit bo-bo, but not in a boring-bourgeois way, but more in a beau-bohemian kind of way…

Just a look at their browser menu of their site brings a smile to the lips:

Comfortable and Understandable Browser on MamaShelter

Located in the still-to-be-chic area of Paris 20th arrondissement, at 109 rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris, the prices are very affordable (ranging from 89 to 160 euros for a room).  The hotel — which is still a one-of-a-kind — has not gone without being noticed, having won awards with the Condé Nast Traveller’s Guide 2009 and CNBC Best Business Hotel 2009…

Not your run of the mill hotel image

Not your run of the mill Hotel Image

What’s the take for other brands: watch out for the flanks! The hotel industry is, in the broad scheme of things, bound to be one of the major beneficiaries of the baby boomer’s wave of retirees.  But, just because a hotel has a recognized name and is part of a big chain does not (a) guarantee the level of service and (b) guarantee a memorable experience.  Designed by the ever present Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter marks a break with tradition, providing unicity, a 10/10 checklist on the key ingredients of a comfortable hotel stay and, not least important, a great value for money.  And not to be forgotten, it is not because the price is reasonable that they skimped on new technologies.  The rooms are equipped with big screen Apple Mac’s.

Cozy rooms with Mac Interface

Cozy Rooms, good mattress and Mac computer

Anyone else know of other great examples of innovative hotels, helping to take the industry in new directions?

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