Stay at One of These 6 Native American–Owned Hotels On Your Next Trip

Gain a better understanding of Native American history and culture through these six hotels.

Distant view of the Salish Lodge and Spa beside Snoqualmie Falls in Washington

The Salish Lodge and Spa overlooks Snoqualmie Falls, a popular destination in the area.

Courtesy of Salish Lodge and Spa

From the tip of Alaska to the red-rock landscapes of the Southwest, there are incredible Indigenous-owned hotels and resorts located in almost every state throughout the country. There’s something for every kind of traveler too, whether you’re seeking a charming boutique or large, contemporary accommodations. Staying at an Indigenous-owned and -operated hotel can be one of the best ways for travelers to explore the diversity of Native American cultures in the United States.

Here are six Native American–owned hotels to consider for your next trip:

A few small buildings in the snowy landscape of Utqiaġvik, Alaska

Utqiaġvik is the northernmost community in the United States and is also home to one of the largest Iñupiaq settlements in Alaska.

Courtesy of Deborah Schildt/Unsplash

1. Top of the World Hotel

Located in the northernmost city in the United States, Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow), the Top of the World Hotel overlooks the tundra and Alaskan wilderness. The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, an organization representing roughly 13,000 Iñupiat Alaska Native shareholders, owns this remote property. Each of the hotel’s 70 rooms offers panoramic views of the Arctic Ocean, with decor inspired by its surroundings, including Alaska Native art and photographs of the local wilderness. It’s the perfect base from which to explore the nearby Birnirk National Historic Landmark (one of Alaska’s oldest continuously occupied villages, also located in Utqiaġvik), tour the surrounding borough of North Slope, or even see polar bears.

Cultural experiences: For an authentic Arctic experience, book the hotel’s North Slope Tour, during which a local guide will take you to the Iñupiat Heritage Center and the ancient remains of Iñupiat sod huts. If you’re feeling brave, sign up for the Polar Bear Plunge to take a dip in the frigid Chukchi Sea.

The Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma at dusk, with neon lights

Of the seven Choctaw Casino & Resorts across Oklahoma, Durant is the chain’s flagship.

Courtesy of Choctaw Casino

2. Choctaw Casino & Resort

Owned and operated by the Choctaw Nation, one of the largest tribes in the United States, the Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, is arguably one of the most striking resorts in the Great Plains. The award-winning property, located about 100 miles north of Dallas, includes more than 1,000 luxurious rooms and suites, 20 restaurants and bars, and a full-service tranquil spa. The Vegas vibes continue outside at the water park, outfitted with a kid-friendly pool, water slides, multiple splash pads, and an adults-only pool that has a tropical cabana–themed swim-up bar. Other fun amenities include a 20-lane bowling alley, a six-screen movie theater, and over 60 arcade games. And throughout the hotel, visitors can view over 6,000 pieces of art on the Choctaw Art Walk. Self-guided tours are available by simply scanning a QR code, which delivers information about the Native American artists, including local Choctaw creatives.

Cultural experiences: To learn more about the 14,000-year history of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, visit the Choctaw Cultural Center, also in Durant. Each immersive exhibit is told from the Choctaw perspective, through pictures, artwork, and artifacts. There is also a living village and a children’s activity center.

A guest room of the Fox Tower at Foxwoods, with one wall a floor-to-ceiling window

The Fox Tower at Foxwoods has ample family-friendly amenities and is a great location from which to explore the local forest.

Courtesy of Ian Vaughan Productions LLC/Fox Tower at Fox Woods

3. The Fox Tower at Foxwoods

Add a touch of luxury to your Northeast vacation with a stay at the Fox Tower at Foxwoods, which has 825 rooms and 137 suites. Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, this upscale hotel is situated on the edge of a dense forest and has a bevy of on-site amenities. They include a casino, a fitness area, several restaurants, a theater, spa, bowling alley, arcade, ice rink, and an outdoor pool and cabana area. Foxwoods also has a golf course, several trails that crisscross through the idyllic Connecticut woods, and a zipline that takes guests at 60 miles per hour from the top floor of the hotel all the way to the Long Island Sound.

Cultural experiences: To learn more about the tribe’s history, visit the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Museum. Its 85,000 square feet feature interactive exhibitions including life–size dioramas, films, a realistic 16th-century Pequot village, and traditional crafts made by Native artists.

The front entrance of Hotel Santa Fe, with traditional adobe hacienda design

The art displayed in Hotel Santa Fe represents New Mexico’s 19 pueblos and other tribes across the United States.

Courtesy of Hotel Santa Fe

4. Hotel Santa Fe

Owned by the Picuris Pueblo Tribe (one of the largest in the region), Hotel Santa Fe provides a quintessential Southwestern experience throughout its guest rooms. The stunning Taos-style hotel (think pueblo construction, exposed wood beams, lots of terra cotta elements, and rich earth tones) has 126 rooms; it is the city’s only Native American–owned hotel. It’s also decorated with a multi-million-dollar collection of Native American art, including paintings and pottery. Hotel Santa Fe opened in 1991 when local businesspeople approached Picuris tribal leaders to jointly open a hotel that could provide a steady source of income for the tribe.

There are actually two separate hotels on the property: There’s the original Hotel Santa Fe and the Hacienda, which opened in 2001 as the luxury arm of the brand. The Hacienda offers more of a boutique experience, with just 23 rooms and 12 suites, and includes a fireplace in each room, full butler service, plus complimentary breakfast and a happy hour.

Cultural experiences: Book the hotel’s Santa Fe Experience, a special tour where guests can see the Picuris Pueblo, a historic pueblo in Taos County. During the excursion, visitors will also get to peruse Tesuque Village Market and see the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts as well as the Palace of the Governors. The day ends with dinner at Hotel Santa Fe’s Amaya restaurant, which specializes in modern, seasonal takes on Native American food, such as freshly caught ruby trout.

The indoor hot tub area of the Salish Lodge and Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington

The spa at Salish Lodge offers massages and body treatments using Pacific Northwest ingredients.

Courtesy of Salish Resort and Spa/Thomas M. Barwick

5. Salish Lodge and Spa

The Salish Lodge and Spa, a haven of understated luxury in the Pacific Northwest, is only a 30-minute drive from Seattle. Owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe, the resort draws a lot of inspiration from the outdoors and thoughtfully integrates natural elements throughout its 86 guest rooms with moody wood and stone accents. Curl up with a good book in front of the wood-burning fireplace in Club 268 (a place available to guests who book a riverside guest room) and then pamper yourself at the award-winning spa, which offers a variety of facial and massage treatments and features a soaking pool, sauna, and steam room. The restaurant at Salish Lodge, known as the Dining Room, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and provides scenic views of the Snoqualmie Valley and nearby falls.

Cultural experiences: Check out the Snoqualmie Falls Gift Shop and Visitor Center to learn about the history of the Snoqualmie Tribe, the significance of the falls as a sacred site, and the Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement.

The front entrance of the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego, with a few palm trees

The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation purchased the U.S. Grant in 2003 and renovated the hotel over the course of three years.

Courtesy of U.S. Grant Hotel/Marriott Bonvoy

6. The U.S. Grant Hotel

Built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr. (son of the former president) in the early 1900s, this historic hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in 2003. Located in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood, the U.S. Grant Hotel exudes sophistication and class. Featuring Beaux Art–style architecture, the interiors of the hotel include art deco design accents, ornate and oversize chandeliers, and sumptuously outfitted guest rooms that feel as if they were plucked out of The Great Gatsby. The hotel is also home to a $6.5 million art collection, including sculptures, ironwork, murals, and paintings created by world-renowned artists from European, American, and Native American backgrounds.

Cultural experiences: Visit the Barona Cultural Center & Museum, a 30-minute drive east of the hotel. The award-winning museum features more than 3,000 artifacts that focus on the history of the Kumeyaay-Diegueño Native culture—with some dating back nearly 10,000 years.

Carrie Ann Back is a Native American travel writer and full-time globe-trotter based in Southeast Asia.
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