Playful fun is the aesthetic of Mama Shelter Shoreditch, the London outpost of a chain with branches in 13 cities from Los Angeles to Luxembourg. It shows as soon as you walk in — the lobby features bright colors, a retro arcade game, and a cabinet with various kid- and adult-friendly toys for sale.
This is clearly a place for young professionals looking for a good time in one of the capital’s hottest party spots.
Mama Shelter Shoreditch is not strictly in Shoreditch, but rather a 25 minute walk away, at Cambridge Heath. Despite the slightly misleading name, visitors should not be disappointed by this fact. True Londoners will attest that Cambridge Heath is noticeably cooler than its now slightly corporate neighbour, making it ideal for the young clientele this hotel is clearly aimed at.
With world famous clubs such as Oval Space and Pickle Factory right next door, and the Columbia Road Flower Market just a ten minute walk away, there’s nothing better than this location.
The rooms are simple, clean and comfortable. When I arrive my queen bed is covered in crisp white sheets and there is a bowl of fresh fruit to greet me. My bathroom is well stocked with eco-friendly toiletries, including a solid shampoo that I’m encouraged to take home.
It all looks like your classic place to stay in town. And yet, this hotel room – at first glance very traditional – is dotted with cheeky touches. Messages are scribbled in lipstick on my mirrors (one, which says “call me”, is the front desk number), playful masks are strapped around my bedposts (available to purchase for a surprisingly high price) and, if the giant mirror above my bed isn’t an indicator of what this hotel is, then the advertised amenity of free porn in every room certainly is.
Eat and drink
Like the reception and rooms, Mama Shelter’s dining scene is all about playful fun. My restaurant meal includes not one but two dishes that are set on fire at my table (one is a tropical cocktail served in a wooden tiki cup, the other a pecan pie) – and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more items to add to the fireworks list.
The cocktail menu contains all the classics, plus a list of more creative signatures (both in flavor and presentation). I taste one that has banana liqueur in it and is topped with a large banana leaf and flamed banana discs (unfortunately these are pre-flamed and I miss a third table show).
The entrees here were clearly designed for drinking. The n’duja beignet would be perfect accompanied by a cold beer, while the truffle arancini could make excellent pasture fodder during certain aperitifs.
For the sector, there is something for everyone. The food is inspired by all the biggest hitters from around the world, with fish and chips and burgers sitting alongside cod with lobster velouté and a lemongrass and coconut grilled swordfish dish. Everything is a bit pricey, and nothing innovative in terms of flavors, but the colorful dining room and festive atmosphere (DJs and live bands perform regularly here) make this place a great starting point for a big night in London.
The party continues
For those who’ve had a few too many cocktails in the restaurant, Mama Shelter Shoreditch has karaoke rooms to rent in the basement, meaning the party never has to end. There are more arcade machines here, as well as a vending machine which when I visited sold everything except condoms.
For the holiest of guests there is a small gym available for use with high tech equipment which includes a Peloton bike. Other amenities include bookable coworking spaces and dog-friendly rooms, though I’m not sure I want to bring my boss or my pet to share the party atmosphere with me.
Rooms here start at around £200 per night, which is surprisingly affordable for a hotel of this standard in such a trendy part of London. If what you are looking for is a weekend of frivolous fun without breaking the bank, then this definitely meets your expectations.
Mama Shelter Shoreditch, 437 Hackney Rd, London, E2 8PP; mamashelter.com