Travel

Mama Shelter Istanbul

Philippe Starck, urban eccentricity and Batman masks are just some of the big ideas behind the new Mama Shelter hotel.

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Think Istanbul, and think of an historic melting pot of a city situated on the fault line where East meets West (see Tom Barber's Istanbul travel guide). So where better to build a design hotel billed as an ‘urban bazaar’, a place which answers to the ‘deep desire of creating links between people for a pacified humanity’?

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If all this concept-hotel talk sounds a bit too figurative, then here’s what it translates into: Mama Istanbul has got the quirky-urban thing down. Shunning all the trappings of luxury boutiques to give you something with a bit more hip-factor, its whitewashed rooms are adorned with kitsch talking points like graffiti strewn rugs and the occasional pop-culture icon. This kooky vibe extends all the way down to the bar and dining room, which serves Franco-Turkish cuisine and is decked out with inflatable swimming rings and a chalkboard ceiling.

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Mama Istanbul's arrival follows hot on the heels of 2008’s Mama Paris opening, and is backed by the hotelier triumvirate of Philippe Starck, philosopher Cyril Aouizerate, and Club Med co-founders the Trigano family. And set in the old European district of Beyoglu, an area buzzing with regeneration, it’ll put you at the beating heart of modern day Istanbul.

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mamashelter.com – rooms available from €69, opens March 1.

Words by Stephanie Soh