A red and pink bench outside the Yowie storefront.

Yowie Hotel: 11 Design Ideas We’re Borrowing From Philly’s Prime Design Destination

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After four years of thinking about the idea of a Yowie hotel, Shannon Maldonado has finally opened the doors of the boutique to guests. By now everyone knows the origin story about how the Philly native’s ultimate dream was to design souvenirs sold in hotel gift shops. Yowie started as an online side project in 2015 while Shannon was working full-time as a senior designer at American Eagle Outfitters and living in Brooklyn, New York. When she decided to build the brand into a business, Shannon quit her corporate job and moved back home to (eventually) open her own retail store, and the rest is history.

As the founder and creative director, Shannon has approached every phase of Yowie by giving herself permission to explore her curiosities, wherever they lead. She views the first Yowie storefront as her entry into the landscape of interior design—at the time, the entrepreneur wanted the space to feel like a gallery with warm touches and quirky details. Shannon credits Dye House as “an amazing baptism by fire” that saw her figuring things out as she went along with everything being thrown at her all at once. “I’ve always loved furniture, I’ve always loved color, so it did feel like a fairly natural progression, even with the huge learning curve that I had coming in with a fashion degree,” she admits. “I know fabric, I know color, I know lead times… I still don’t know how to draw anything in CAD; I do everything in Google Sheets and InDesign.”

HAY’s signature Weekday Bench in a limited edition colorway outside the Yowie storefront.

The Yowie hotel was created in partnership with the team from The Deacon, ​​a former church turned hospitality space in Philadelphia, and Dye House in Rhode Island, which Shannon designed without having prior experience. Going into both of those projects, her intention was to honor the spaces while bringing in a modern twist with a distinct point of view. “[Everett Abitbol] had never opened a hotel, and I had never really designed anything of that scale, but I love a challenge,” she adds.

“I wanted the café to feel like a canvas,” Shannon says about Wim. “I didn’t want it to feel over-designed, so it feels like it has some personality to it, but it’s not too much.”

Wim is a special collaboration with local businesses ReAnimator Coffee and Eeva. Guests can order coffee, pastries, salads, and sandwiches from the cafe from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Located at 226 South Street, Yowie occupies a prime spot in Philly’s Queen Village neighborhood that is a cross generational hub. In addition to 13 hotel suites, the space features a flex studio, a retail shop, and a concept café, called Wim, on the ground level. Reservations are available to book now on Yowie’s website; rates range from $179 to $400 per night. For locals, the Yowie hotel is the perfect place for a much-needed staycation. “We’re the neighborhood guest room,” Shannon laughs. “I’ve tried residential, it’s not for me. I’m not good at designing for one person—I like to think of a broader picture.” Despite this claim, there are so many design notes that can be taken from this getaway and applied at home in your own space. Continue reading for some of the highlights.

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