Helter shelter

Mama Shelter bar & restaurant, Lyon, France.
Mama Shelter bar & restaurant, Lyon, France. 

First, there was Mama Shelter in Paris' ungentrified 20th arrondissement with Philippe Starck interiors; then hotels in Marseille and Istanbul.

Now in Lyon on a block bordered by three streets, the quirky Mama Shelter has taken up residence in the centre of the Jean Mace district.

Within walking distance of the Rhone, University of Lyon, bars and multicultural market, the entry point Mama Luxe room with lime-green touches includes a 27-inch iMac. The Big Mama penthouse has a terrace and sofa to look over the city that fills in December for the annual festival of lights.

Starck's whimsical touches include a string of inflatable rings overhanging the restaurant's bar, while in the original form of a "selfie", guests can get snapped in photo booths throughout the hotel.

DJs spin discs on a school night and there's foosball and table tennis for the semi-energetic. Order coffee and spice blackened cod or tempura calamari and eggplant from the menu by Alain Senderens and Jerome Banctel. Or perch at the bar for a God Damn Spritz of champagne made with Aperol, raspberry and soda.

Getting around is a cinch. As the country's pioneer in the velo hire system there are about 4000 bikes in circulation, and from the hotel it's three metro stations to the Part-Dieu railway station for connections to Paris and Marseille. Pets up to 12 kilograms are welcome for €19 ($27) a day, and there's free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. From €49 for a Mama Luxe Double and Mama Luxe Twin. 13, Rue Domer 69007, Lyon. See mamashelter.com.

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