Mama Shelter, Lille

Mama Shelter, Lille

A five-minute walk from
Europe station, Mama Shelter offers an
affordable stay which brings together quirky interiors, brilliant
brunches and a scenic rooftop bar.

Previously only seen as a cursory stop on the Eurostar’s route
to Paris,
Lille has oft been overlooked as a city-break destination. Yet
since becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2004, the capital
of the Hauts-de-France region has been keen to show off it’s charm.
With cobbled streets flanked by red-brick houses and squares filled
with cute cafés, Lille’s quaint, village-feel combines Flemish
charm with French allure.

Created by the Trigano family, Mama Shelter is slowly beginning to monopolise
boutique, budget hotels across the world with hotels in 11 cities
and six countries. Only an hour and 20 minutes from King’s Cross,
Lille makes for an ideal weekend trip. Around an unassuming corner
just a five-minute walk from Lille Europe station, Mama Lille is a
towering silver structure teetering atop iron stilts, and oddly
reminiscent of a biblical ark (albeit perhaps a rather futuristic

Clashing colours and prints make up the hotel’s interiors, with
quirky carpets, graffiti by local artists adorn ceilings, and retro
arcade games and table football (with all-female, multi-racial
players) are dotted throughout the hotel. With the city set to
become the World Design Capital in 2020, Mama Shelter’s eccentric
decor and unconventional design is a promising start.


Rooms at Mama Lille aim to provide comfort while retaining the
hotel’s whimsical character. Boldly patterned carpets are paired
with minimal, concrete ceilings, perfectly directing attention
towards the room’s centrepiece: a double bed topped with crisp
white sheets. Rather strikingly, bedside lamps are without shades,
instead donning Mexican wrestling masks – another witty addition
from Starck. White-tiled bathrooms have a pop of pale pink, a
soothing break from the brazen decor in the rest of the hotel.

What’s for breakfast?

Buffet breakfasts offer a selection of cold and hot options,
from yoghurt and fresh fruit to bacon and eggs. Don’t miss Mama’s
brunch, from 12-4pm on Sundays during which a vast selection of
sweet and savoury food is constantly topped up.

How about lunch and dinner?

Next to the lobby, slide into cosy booths in the hotel’s
retro-themed restaurant. Each hotel outpost adapts to local
cuisine, sourcing ingredients from local markets and farms, to
create a menu of ‘mama’s’ comfort food. Peruse the Lille-inspired
menu to find typically Flemish dishes such as a steaming pot of
mussels, waffles or steak frites and finish off with sweet pastries
called merveilleux, made up of two meringues covered with whipped
cream and rolled in chocolate shavings.

Is there a bar?

Just outside the restaurant you’ll find a partially covered
terrace filled with comfy seating covered in colourful cushions and
pergolas. Catch some rays during summer months or snuggle up with a
blanket – if it gets too chilly retreat inside to compete against
other guests at the super-sized foosball table. If there’s a group
of you, book the rooftop lounge to sip on cocktails in cute wicker
chairs while taking in views over the Lille skyline through
floor-to-ceiling windows.


Bathrooms are kitted out with Mama Shelter’s own toiletries,
branded with witty one-liners such as soap bars impressed with
“Mama likes to keep it pure” and “Mama loves you from head to toe”.
Products are free of parabens, perfume and colouring, and
completely organic.

Things you should know

Mama Shelter prides itself on offering comfort without pomp. The
hotel doesn’t offer any services it deems unnecessary or excessive,
so don’t expect room or laundry services. It also endeavours to
reduce waste, so rooms come only with showers instead of baths, and
the room directory can be found on the television rather than in
paper form.

Within a short walk you’ll find…

Lille is very walkable, so wander through cobbled streets to
stumble upon the city’s spoils. Be sure to stop by Braderie de
Lille, Europe’s largest flea market dating back to the 12th
century. Art lovers should stroll through the grounds of the
Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et
d’Art Brut
for modern art and sculptures.