Benjamin Trigano founded Mama Shelter along with his father and brother over ten years ago. Since then, the eclectic brand has grown to 9 hotels with 11 more on the way. We talked with Trigano about his love for art, the influence Club Med has had on Mama Shelter and his must-see for those visiting L.A.

Want more? Come see Benjamin Trigano speak at INDIE Congress October 16 & 17 in Downtown L.A.

Q: In 3 words, describe the ethos of Mama Shelter

BT: Mama Loves to Love

Aside from hotels, you have a love for art. Tell us the story behind the gallery you opened in L.A.

I have always been fascinated by every kind of creative talent.  I was fortunate to work with Philippe Starck for more than 10 years during Mama’s birth and I wanted to find a way to discover and introduce talents to to the public.  The gallery was the perfect venue.

Who is your favorite artist?

Can’t answer that or else my artists would kill me!

Tell us about the similarities and relationship between art and hotels

For me great art, like a great hotel experience, are similar in that they activate your senses and procure a sense of pleasure.

Your grandfather founded Club Med almost 70 years ago. What elements of Club Med did you, your father and brother put into the creation of Mama Shelter?

Both brands shared the same ethos:  warmth, generosity, and happiness.  They both provide a common ground for people to disconnect from this crazy world and reconnect with others.

Accor acquired a 35% stake in Mama Shelter in 2014. What was the impact on Mama and the independent hospitality industry itself?

It’s been a pretty fantastic partnership.  They have allowed us to gain access to their pool of developers eager to help us grow our brand around the world.  They haven't, however, been involved our management, allowing Mama to keep our family style of doing business.

The brand has hotels in 11 different cities and 6 countries. How do you pick your locations?

We currently have 9 hotels, 11 in construction, and a few more in negotiations.  When were are offered a project, we travel to the destination, meet with the promoters and see if we match, we walk the streets, the markets, meet the people.  It is very important for us to have a connection with all these elements of city.

Mama Shelter L.A.

What's your favorite city?

My favorite city is Athens.  I love the people, the vibration of the city and the nature and sea around it which shine through the lifestyle. 

What's a must-see for those visiting L.A.?

The sunset from Mulholland Drive. To see the sun come down on the city lights is magic.

Where can we find you on a Saturday?

Eating with my kids and friends at the farmers market, after biking in the Santa Monica mountains.