Photo credit Breanne Furlong.
Shannon Maldonado’s South Street hotel is a whimsical wonderland.
Retail and design visionary Shannon Maldonado will tell you her new Yowie hotel — a 13-suite invisible-concierge concept on South Street that opened in August — is filled with “a lot of random design Easter eggs” from her past. These pop-culture references are playful and personal: The lamps are reminiscent of the McDonald’s Fry Kids, and an elegant wallpaper recalls the Disney film Fantasia. And many of the furnishings and decor elements are shoppable by hotel guests.
The sweeping project (which centered on joining two buildings and a full gut renovation of 10,000 square feet while maintaining original details like the exterior cornice) reunited Maldonado with business partners Everett Abitbol, his wife Valerie, and Bill Vessal from their collaboration on the Deacon in Grad Hospital. Yowie hotel is also home to day cafe Wim and the new outpost of Yowie boutique, first introduced by Maldonado in 2016.
It’s truly a full-circle moment. “My mom first brought me to South Street when I was a kid, for the Easter promenade,” she says. “When I got older, it was a safe place to come after school. South Street has been so good to me.”
Originally published by Philadelphia Magazine.
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