Can you tell us a bit about your background?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an engineer and build rockets to go to the moon.
I have always been inspired by my grandfather, born to a modest family of farmers in the Tunisian countryside, and who made his fortune out of carpentry, cinema and hospitality industries.
At an early stage I decided I was going to follow his footsteps, without knowing exactly how!
With a scientific academic career and some years spent in the Middle East as strategic consultant, I firstly stepped away from the hospitality industry. Next, I have created Gula, my e-commerce start-up that I have sold. At my 30, I joined my family who was in charge of the 2 hotels of our group to make my first steps next to my parents and my brother.
I grew up in hotels, playing in the corridors and running around for the disgrace of the housekeepers, observing my parents, the staff, processes and customers. We even lived at Maison Mère, before the renovation works between two flats for a few months ! I had the hotel service running through my veins without even realizing. My lack of experience added to my hospitality culture offered me the opportunity to put a fresh and naive perspective on what nowadays consumers are expecting and to imagine my dream hotel.
How did Maison Mère project arise?
It was my destiny! My parents once called me to basically tell me: “when do you plan to join us? Enough with your startups” :)
The idea of Maison Mère was built throughout my entire life: as a hotel owner's son, then as a consultant I was traveling 4 days a week and loved eating out. I have always wanted to create, invent, build, and now, with my brother, we are the third generation of hoteliers of my family.
According to you what are the main upcoming challenges of the hospitality industry?
I have the strong belief that if we want to succeed facing the collaborative competition and the more and more demanding Millennials, we need to reconsider our way of doing. Indeed, to be able to charge 200€ per night, we need to offer more than a night of sleep and position ourselves as theaters, restaurants, museums… We need to give an experience! A hotel night needs to leave an emotional imprint, we need to go back with things to share and a strong impression - good or bad. I would like to step out from the traditional “Booking.com” where hotels become a commodity that we choose in less than 10 minutes considering the combination Location - Price - Availability.
I would rather prefer that we choose to come to my hotel for our values, our community, our brand… According to me, a hotel needs to think of itself as a living space. Locals and travelers will come to Maison Mère to sleep, have dinner, have brunch, chat, work…
Why Paris 9, and particularly Cadet/ Montholon?
Maison Mère does not randomly choose where to settle, but according to its very favorite neighborhoods. I come from the 9th district and the Square Montholon has seen me grow up. This area is full of gems and managed to keep its authenticity. Our small Mayran street is composed of 12 numbers only, counts 4 artisans and 2 of them are settled for more than 25 years! Our ambition is to radiate our district and become the Mother House of the 9th district of Paris.
Why "Maison Mère"?
First of all, Maison Mère wants to be a reassuring place, where you are pampered like at home. So what is better than “House” and “Mother”. Then, Maison Mère seeks to become a territory for expressions, an urban scene for young (and less young) talents. We want to proudly showcase our local artisanat, our shops, and everything that builds our authenticity - even sometimes “our avant-gardism”. We are the Maison Mère of the neighbourhood.
“Mother”, because Maison Mère is above all a family adventure of 3 generations. My grandfather passed the torch on to my parents who then naturally trusted us to take over. The important decisions are taken within the family and each of us leaves his mark.
According to you, what are the characteristics of Maison Mère's team?
The MM Family is a heterogeneous team of passionate, full of energy, who want to revolutionize the hospitality industry. We all have a strong character but what gathers us is the pleasure we take when working, our high level of requirement and a customer service streak.
And finally, how do you see Maison Mère in 5 years?
We need to write one chapter at a time, and this one is definitely Parisian. It is too early to project ourselves but our ambition is to open other Maison Mère in our favorite neighbourhoods, and why not at some point in other European cities!