Having your own personal hammam a few steps from your bed is a luxury not to be missed – and it’s yours to indulge in if you stay in Suite 601 at Hotel Maison Mère in Paris.
Nestled in the 9th arrondissement, this independent 51-room, 4-star hotel, which opened two years ago, lives up to its charming name.
Chic and colorful, it has a welcoming red and white striped awning out front and a beautifully-designed floor mosaic and ornate white marble fireplace just as you enter from the street.
Immediately to the left is a comfortable lounge akin to a living-room, comprising a floor of hexagonal tiles, coffee tables of various sizes, pink sofas with bright cushions and shelves full of eclectic everyday ornaments you might find in any home including scented candles, toys, books, vases, framed sketches, even a pair of running shoes.
The overall concept is the creation of the hotel’s founder, Aziz Temimi, who said he took the inspiration of a ‘Mother’s House’ from his childhood experience as a hotel owner’s son. Architect Alexandre Danan, designer Jalal Boudad and artistic director Mathilde Brunelet then developed the decor and ambience to suit Temimi’s idea.
The reception desk is a few steps to the right of the main entrance and behind it, beyond a broad glass window, is a fully-equipped co-working space, with complimentary access for hotel guests. This room features high-speed WIFI, smart TV and big Chesterfield couches to facilitate solo work sessions and team brainstorming.
Reflecting the eclectic nature of the hotel, on a wall close to the reception desk is a mini-exhibition of framed photographs of old matchboxes entitled ‘Memories’ by Andrew Brooke.
Even the interior of the elevator to the upper floors has personality, framed as it is in upbeat colors of blue and orange on its terracotta-like walls.
Our spacious room, 601, known as the Rein Mère (the Queen Mother Suite), offered views from two separate balconies across assorted Parisian rooftops. Art was abundant but not overwhelming and included framed black and white photos and pencil sketches. There were even some books for reading pleasure and an in-room tablet loaded with a local city guide and other information. On a shelf above our ample-sized bed were delicate orange vases.
Furnishings included a Nespresso maker, flatscreen TV, sofa with fluffy cushions in front of an oblong-shaped grey-veined marble coffee table and a writing table with convenient plug-ins. A full-length mirror hung on one wall and our bathroom featured a shower, double sink and Nuxe toiletries.
But it was having our very own hammam that made the room so memorable, and we made full use of it, lingering luxuriously in it one evening after a tiring day of sight-seeing.
The hotel’s young staff are friendly and efficient, no more so than in the in-house restaurant, Hey Honey, an L-shaped ground-floor upscale bistro with framed art adorning the walls.
We enjoyed lunch here one day, I starting with what was entitled ‘perfect egg,’ a blend of egg with mushrooms and red pickle onion and my companion savoring the homemade pork terrine with purple cauliflower pickle. For mains, I chose sea bass with cauliflower, my companion opting for chicken supreme with sautéed wheat, broccolini and chipotle. Desserts were equally tasty, mine being chocolate granache with thin apple slices decorated with pansies, and my companion enjoying orange and pistachio panna cotta.
Maison Mere, which is pet-friendly, doesn’t have its own fitness center, pool, or spa, but it does partner with a local gym. It also hosts novel activities ranging from cabaret and jazz sessions to a burlesque show and hip-hop yoga, the latter hosted by KItesy Martin.
Location is a plus for Maison Mere. Fifteen minute walk in one direction is the iconic Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre. In the other, Opera Garnier. Nearby also is Rue Cadet, lined with cafes, restaurants and stores.
With heavy luggage and an early flight out of Paris, we relied on a professional chauffeur service to navigate the heavy city traffic. Blacklane, our choice, was a good one. Founded by Frank Steuer and Jens Wohltorf (who is also a member of Leaders for Climate Action), this is a reliable, carbon-neutral, company spanning 50 plus countries. Its rates are all-inclusive, meaning no extra taxes, tolls or additional fees. And their chauffeurs are English-speaking. Their aim is for 75% of their rides to be in electric vehicles within three years and their app is really user-friendly.