Mama Shelter hotel - Marseille, France
Philippe Starck has always had the measure of the style-hungry traveller. He proved it with his wildly successful collaboration with hotelier Ian Schrager in the 1990s; when he and a cohort of investors opened Mama Shelter in Paris three years ago; and he’s done it again with the opening of the second Mama Shelter in Marseille. Taking charge of the interiors, the French designer’s hyperactive imprint is obvious the minute you enter the six-storey block in Marseille’s artsy Cours Julien neighbourhood. The lobby is a crazy Alice in Wonderland pastiche of distended tables, chairs morphing into wooden sofas, and swirling calligraphy on walls and ceilings. The bedrooms, 127 in all, make up for their size (the smallest is 15sqm) with full-length mirrors, low-slung furniture, a brightly coloured palette, and plenty of natural light. Pull yourself away from a game on the 4-m long football table long enough to sample chef Alain Senderens’s mod-Med menu of octopus stew and sea-bream cerviche.