Review written by Nafees Nuruddin.
Weapons of mass seduction. That is how I have come to know and describe the work of design veteran Philippe Starck. The french designer’s whimsical repertoire does not disappoint at the most recent addition to the Mama Shelter family, Mama Shelter Istanbul, a hotel-concept chain hailing from France that marries luxury and sleek design with an accessible price point.
The rooms at Mama Shelter Istanbul skew on the smaller side. However, signature Starck style is abound throughout the property and creates a sanctuary from the beautiful chaos that emerges when Europe meets Asia on the streets of Istanbul. The rooms are encased with whitewashed walls which serve as a calming counterpoint to the busy graffiti inspired rugs. Pop culture icons Bugs Bunny and Batman make a cameo in the form of masks that double as lamp shades. Downstairs, at the fourth floor reception, the helpful staff can often be found mesmerized by the chalkboard ceiling adorned with kitsch graffiti by local artists.
The visual buffet of Mama Shelter is not to be outdone by the beautiful Istanbul skyline that can be seen from Mama’s vast open air rooftop. The rooftop bar and restaurant serves as a meeting point for both hip, in-the-know locals and hotel guests, who often can be found dining on local and European dishes created by Michelin three-star chef Alain Senderens as they enjoy the beats of Istanbul’s hottest DJ’s.
If you are the type of traveler that usually only spends your non-waking moments at your hotel of choice Mama Shelter is ideally situated to serve you. At the crossroads of modern and old Istanbul, Mama is located off a side street of Istiklal Caddesi in the Beyoglu neighborhood. Istiklal Caddesi is one of Istanbul’s busiest streets that is littered with Western brands that can be found throughout Europe and the States. On the side streets, however, you can find some of the best restaurants the city has to offer, as well as charming local shops and antique stores filled with Ottoman treasures. Mama Shelter is also located only a short walk or taxi ride from Sultanahmet, the old city where the Blue Mosque and other must see tourist attractions are located.