Mama Shelter review, Los Angeles: Hollywood's new playful, stylish and affordable hotel raises the bar

Our rating

3.5 out of 5


Housed in a 1920s building, Mama Shelter Los Angeles joins five locations in France designed by Philippe Starck.

The Location

Right in the heart of Hollywood, a few streets back from Hollywood Boulevard, Mama is ideally located for first-time visitors to Los Angeles wanting to explore the immediate area. The metro stop heading to Downtown and Santa Monica is close by, or grab an Uber to the hip neighbourhoods West Hollywood, Silver Lake or Los Feliz.

The Space

Mama is a curious mix of inexpensive but modern, suited to short-stay holidaymakers looking for fun and who don't need the facilities of a five-star hotel. There's no gym or pool – but there are two bars and two restaurants. And they were both packed throughout my stay.

And, oh Mama, what a space! The main draw here is the rooftop bar, which not only offers stunning 360-degree views of Hollywood but is also gorgeous to look at, decorated with the bright colours of Mexico  in its wooden chairs and throws. Friendly service comes from the huge U-shaped bar, where you can pull up a stool or relax with friends on the flat beds as the sun sets. Heaters warm the space during the colder months. There are brand-new fusball tables in a quiet corner, and tables for the restaurant line the rooftop's northern side – completely booked out during my stay.


#mamashelterla #cosy #byebyelosangeles

A photo posted by @_hippopodame_ on

The bar is packed with locals, and and is an ideal place to mingle away from the tourist traps a few hundred metres away on Hollywood Boulevard. Stay tuned for the Venice Beach-style gym that's to open on the rooftop.

Downstairs, another bar and restaurant operate in a more dimly lit space. The bar gives a nod to old US diners, with slick, modern booths lining walls on one side and stools dotted around the bar's edge. The cocktails are something else – try the "Mother of Dragons" with chilli vodka, blood orange and jalapeno molasses sprinkled with cocoa dust.


The restaurant here is open early for breakfast and is decked out like a Mexican cantina serving modern American food.

The Room

Its 70 rooms are basic, but Mama has decorated thoughtfully. It is filled with natural light and offering different views and large, comfy king-size beds. Desk space lines the walls, and you can work from the 27-inch iMac which also functions as a television – much like in my own home – and it does feel like a bedroom rather than a hotel room. A huge, bright-orange wicker lamp lurks over the desk space; black and white carpets are a nod to its Parisian roots. Pop culture reference are everywhere, from the Star Wars masks draped over the bedside lamps to the film scripts from cult movies, vintage surf mags, a copy of Keith Richards' Life as well as, ironically, the Bible. The bathrooms are small but functional, with an unusual elongated trough-like sink. Everything is spick and span.

Stepping Out

Apart from the offerings of Hollywood Boulevard, heading south towards Sunset Boulevard presents something for those repeat visitors to Los Angeles. A nearby precinct contains shopping meccas Urban Outfitters, Free People and popular food chain Umami Burger, plus plenty of other bars and restaurant.


Considering budget hotels don't come much cheaper, this is a real game-changer for Los Angeles, encompassing style, price, food and entertainment. Drivers will have to be mindful of valet parking, which will cost them an extra $39 a night.

Highlight: Price, atmosphere and service can't be beaten.

Lowlight: With all the traffic going to the rooftop bar via the lift, sometimes the wait could be a little frustrating. The rooms can get a little noisy early in the mornings from construction noise and traffic below.