Aboriginal Boutique Hotel Opens in Vancouver

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

The first aboriginal boutique hotel in a Canadian city has officially opened in downtown Vancouver.

Skwachays Lodge, located at 29/31 West Pender St. in Chinatown, features 18 unique suites each decorated with a different aboriginal theme. The suites were designed collaboratively by aboriginal artists and interior designers and combine original artwork with high-end furnishings.

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

The Poem Suite, for example, is decorated with the poetry and pencil drawings of Clifton Fred. A member of the Tlingit Tribe, Fred expresses himself in a unique mix of words and design, all of which point to the primacy of animals in human experience. On the wall of the suite is one of Fred’s most popular prints, Untangled Spirits, which shows an old woman braiding hair that morphs into six animal spirits.

Other suites feature a rustic headboard made from rough wood and inlaid with river stones, a drop-down ceiling depicting the moon and traditional creation legends, a wall of split birch branches and murals of deep, dark forests.

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

Meanwhile, both the cuisine and the activities on offer in the hotel have an aboriginal sensibility. The soon-to-open kitchen will highlight aboriginal-inspired dishes, from bannock bites to bison bourguignon and wild rice corn potato pancakes.  Guests can opt to experience a traditional sweat lodge or take workshops with aboriginal artists. In addition, an art gallery on the main floor displays carvings and other pieces made by the some of the same artists who designed the rooms.

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

Photo sourced from Skwachays.com

The hotel not only offers a window into aboriginal art, it also supports the artists themselves. Profits from the 18 guests suites are used to subsidize artists living in 24 additional suites.  The unique cooperative facility is run by the Vancouver Native Housing Society. The lodge, in fact, was originally built to house aboriginal people visiting Vancouver to receive medical care. But it had so much extra capacity that a portion was transformed into the boutique hotel.

Skwachays Lodge – named after a native word for spring waters – formally opened its doors in early October after a soft opening earlier this year.  Special grand opening intro rates start at $129, a steal for a boutique hotel experience in downtown Vancouver.

Has anyone stayed at Skwachays Lodge? How was it? Let us know below. 

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