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MAMA SHELTER, PARIS
Located in a funky eastern Paris neighborhood, this sassy hotel is an instant hit for its low prices and tongue-in-cheek Philippe Starck decor. A renovated parking garage that was part of a meat-and-potatoes housing project, the 172-room hotel doesn't show its cards until you step inside. Then the fun starts with a friendly welcome and a view of the good-looking crowd hanging out in the large multi-mood lounge/bar/restaurant. Guest rooms are small but as efficient as a well-designed ship's cabin, with exposed cement walls, a tiny kitchenette, and a wall-mounted iMac that also functions as a TV. Dimestore Halloween masks double as a quirky bedside lampshade, large bathrooms with ceiling-mounted showers come with Kiehl's amenities, and star chef Alain Senderens did the menu.
When to go: Paris is perfect in spring and fall.
Which room to book: Fifth-, sixth-, or seventh-floor rooms facing the back garden to avoid the street noise.
Tel: 33 1 43 48 48 48