- Home to Mama Shelter’s first ever “Mama Skin Spa” – a boudoir nestled under stone vaults
- Rennes’ first rooftop bar will be a novelty to the city, with sweeping views of medieval towers
- Quirky design celebrating local gastronomy and traditions – unlike anything else seen in Rennes
- Mama Shelter Rennes will be the brand’s 9th hotel in France and the 17th worldwide
In March 2023, Mama Shelter will be launching their latest hotel in Rennes, a medieval city in northern France where modernism and tradition meet. Rennes is the second largest city in France in terms of number of students, which gives the old city with antique architecture a bustling atmosphere.
Mama Shelter Rennes is centrally located just a few steps from Place des Lices and the famous rue de la Soif. It is a five minute walk to the Sainte Anne metro station and only 20-minutes to the TGV train station connecting Paris Montparnasse to Rennes in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Mama Shelter always seeks to open in cities and neighbourhoods that are on the rise.
Complying with the instructions of the Architectes des Bâtiments de France [conservation law], Mama Shelter Rennes is writing a new chapter without overshadowing the previous ones. The hotel welcomes locals as well as visitors from abroad, and is ideally located in the centre of a square where passers-by can stroll and wander in. In this square, guests can enjoy the cocktail bar, the lounges and nine food shops, including a restaurant that are all retailers independent of Mama Shelter. A natural extension of the city and a new district in the historic centre, city dwellers here can stock up on exceptional products or enjoy F&B offerings with the hotel’s guests, in a friendly square.
Serge Trigano, Co-Founder & President, says: “At Mama Shelter in Rennes, our teams have successfully met two challenges: to establish a contemporary hotel in a renovated historic complex, many parts of which come under the Bâtiments de France jurisdiction. We also wanted to soak up traditions in this region of Brittany, with its strong personality and highly sophisticated culture. Having completed the work, we are now looking forward to sharing Mama’s festive spirit with the people of Rennes and all those who love Brittany. To invite them to experience and feel the city, in its restaurants and bars, which subtly tell its story. We’re also looking forward to welcoming fans of Mama’s in the heart and soul of Rennes.”
Benjamin El Doghaïli, architect and head of the Mama Shelter design studio, has embraced Rennes’ vibrant heritage and designed the hotel to be at one with its environment. The 119 bedrooms (including Mama’s 5* luxury bedding) vary in sizes and shapes, with some nestled under the roofing, and some carrying old mouldings and a fireplace. The bathrooms are timeless, with large black and white striped tiles, a large space for toiletries and organic beauty products from the Mama Skin range.
El Doghaïli, in this former banking property where currency was once minted, has drawn on the vibrant local culture. The lobby is home to a large rounded counter adorned in a mosaic frieze of buckwheat pancakes, a classic delicacy of the area, in the Odorico brothers’ style, with salted-butter-caramel coloured walls. In the large brasserie restaurant offering beautiful views over the city, upholstered benches with a custom-made fabric evoke the popular saying “Vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre” [To have one’s cake and eat it, too]. One of the ground floor lounges is decorated entirely in pink and embellished with lobsters, mussels, seaweed and oysters, to evoke the delicacy of local seafood platters. Jumbo-sized Chinese umbrellas showcase the umbrellas mixologists decorate cocktails with, as a reminder that the Breton people are travellers at heart. The pattern on the carpet along the corridors represent the lace of the Bigouden headdresses, the stoat of the flag of Brittany, and the wolf, the fox and the weasel of a medieval song of Burgundy origin.
Guests can enjoy the rooftop with sweeping views of the city. The rooftop, a novelty in Rennes, provides an incredible view of the city’s well-tempered character, bourgeois 19th century buildings, ramshackle 16th century houses, and towers built just like the tapered bell towers of its churches. In the basement, several colourful karaoke rooms will be available to hire for groups.
Another highlight is the swimming pool, with disabled accessibility, a hammam and a sauna and a Mama Skin Spa – a first for Mama Shelter – a boudoir nestled under stone vaults. Absolution, a French organic cosmetics house, has partnered with Ho Karan, a Breton cosmetics brand renowned for its hemp-based treatments to offer various relaxing treatments.
Its train station, in the form of a glass and metal cruise ship, was inaugurated in 2019 and blends seamlessly with the Art Deco buildings decorated with frescoes and mosaics by Vincent and Isidore Odorico, who were born in Rennes at the end of the 19th century to Italian parents. Located in the sought-after west of France, Rennes is embracing change and is attracting an increasing number of visitors, as well as families who want to escape the stresses of the big city.
In its historic centre, the streets are lined with half-timbered houses and the scent of buckwheat pancakes wafts throughout. Every Saturday morning in Place des Lices, market gardeners, fishmongers, cheese makers and florists fill their stalls inside the large covered traditional market. In the bars of rue Saint-Michel, also known as rue de la Soif, visitors can enjoy Segal saison seigle (the local beer), raw cider, chouchen or even Breizh Cola (local cola). There are various places to go out and dance to rock and alternative music, as well as the legendary Transmusicales festival, where locals sing sea shanties and folkloric songs.
“Living intelligently, means knowing how to live together, in social harmony” This is the motto of the city of Rennes, which also reflects Mama Shelter’s ethos” says Cédric Gobilliard, Mama Shelter’ Managing Director.
Mama Shelter is a unique place of economic and social vitality, breaking down codes and sharing its values of equality and freedom. Opening the first Mama in Brittany, in the centre of Rennes and in a listed building, is a testimony to the boldness of Mama Shelter’s disruptive concept and its sincere desire to unveil its brand and festive spirit to the people of Rennes and to travellers who are lovers of authenticity”.