In 2017, Damien Swaby’s film Living in Hackney documented the significant gentrification of a neighborhood once rife with squatters and punks – and a recent Vice article addressing the same subject followed it up.
Into this comes the 11th installment of the French boutique hotel brand Mama Shelter, as high-profile hospitality creeps further into East London. Nearby to the Cambridge Heath and Bethnal Green tube stations, this is definitely not Notting Hill, and most definitely not South Kensington. But then, the MS manifesto isn’t quite directed at the Fortnum & Mason crowd.
But for those who appreciate, say, the cheeky, decidedly mod-Bohemian juxtaposition of bankers lamps and retro Deco chandeliers, Mama Shelter London absolutely wants to be your temporary home in Blighty’s capital. The 194 rooms are divided up between Small Mama, Medium Mama and Large Mama, the latter offering up to 376 square feet of space – a genuine luxury in a city of stylishly cramped quarters. Graphic carpets and quirky art belie the basic 99£ rate.
Still and all, the MS gospel generally urges guests out into the public spaces. And the namesake restaurant, with its mismatched furnishings, and stylistic jumble of lamps and pillows, plays perfectly to the brand’s eccentric visual ideology. Hardly a surprise, there’s also a karaoke room, because…why wouldn’t there be?
Affirming the neighborhood’s idiosyncratic heart, nearby to the Mama Shelter are London Fields, the Broadway Market and the delightfully gothy St. John at Hackney Churchyard Gardens cemetery. Did we mention it’s not South Kensington?