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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Mama Shelter Makes a Home in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES—Mama Shelter Los Angeles, a new boutique hotel near Hollywood Blvd., is served up like a plate of comfort food where the warmth and familiarity is meant to be a soothing experience for guests.

“We wanted to find a name that expressed all the values of our brand. The warmth, the generosity, the humanity, the love. So, what’s a better name than Mama? Everything that we do at Mama expresses that spirit,” shared Benjamin Trigano, cofounder of Mama Shelter Los Angeles. “When it comes to selecting cities for Mama, we only go to places where we would like to live. We are big fans of Los Angeles. It’s very Mama, a mix of cultures and we love it.”

Serge Trigano and his sons, Benjamin and Jeremie—of the family that cofounded Club Med—launched the hotel brand seven years ago. They have several locations in Europe (Paris among them), and Los Angeles is their first outpost in the U.S. “Our family has been in the hospitality industry for more than 50 years; the desire to please and serve others is in our DNA. After the success of the brand in France and in Istanbul, we were ready to tackle the U.S. market, and we felt like LA was the perfect launching pad,” Benjamin Trigano said.

According to Trigano, the hotel’s aesthetic is a mix of the old California design and spirit with a contemporary look and feel. “Mama Shelter LA is like if the Chateau Marmont had a baby with Mama Shelter. It’s very subtle in terms of design, yet it is very welcoming and happy,” he said.

Designed by Thierry Gaugain, who once designed with Phillipe Starck, the property is a creative mix of whimsy and sophistication, as candy-colored guestrooms offer king-size beds with 100% satin cotton sheets, as lighting topped with Sesame Street characters Bert & Ernie hang above. High-tech amenities abound at the hotel, including video and photobooths for digital souvenirs that can be sent from guestrooms and common areas, as well as 27-in. iMacs in each room along with TV and complimentary WiFi.

For the Triganos, they wanted to go beyond offering the basic creature comforts as customers come to desire and expect more from their hotel experience. “There’s a big gap between the high-end hotels that provide a lot of services, but feel dead, and the boutique hotels that are high on parties, but paid little attention to service. Mama focuses on the true nature of hospitality and quality, while providing a lot of life and energy,” he said.

Much like a mama’s house, everyone is welcome, and the emphasis is on fun. The hotel doesn’t cater to one demographic, such as Baby Boomers or Millennials. “We think that the mix of people is very sexy. Unlike most places that are trying to sell a cool vibe, we sell a happy vibe, we want people to let their guards down and have fun,” he said.

Collective dining and the sharing of activities and public areas are designed to evoke a community vibe. A sense of togetherness is the goal. “Mama is very communal; it’s like an urban kibbutz. We focus on creating spaces and activities that bring people together. One of the most popular activities that we offer is the oversize foosball. We have them in all our properties, and Bonzini in France specially makes them especially for Mama. Eight people can play at once, it’s fun and you can see all type of people playing with them,” Trigano said.

The hotel’s diner-inspired restaurant features dishes they believe an American mama would prepare for her family, according to Trigano. “We view dinner at Mama as a socializing experience more than just a place for people to go and eat a sophisticated meal. Dinner at Mama is about the music, the warmth and friendliness of the staff and, obviously, the food. We offer everything people love to eat in an American diner, but with a little twist. Our chef, Ben Bailly, worked for many years with chef Joel Robuchon, and he has managed to reinvent all the diner classics,” he said.

The family is making sure you spend more time with Mama, as the brand plans to expand to more U.S. cities. “We are planning on growing aggressively in the coming years, while focusing on places that we love. We are working on new locations such as Detroit, New Orleans and many more,” said Trigano.

—Corris Little