Canada’s first aboriginal arts hotel opened in 2014. Part luxury hotel and part social enterprise, Skwachays Lodge ticks all the right boxes. On the luxe side: plush linens, Hypnos beds (the same as the British royal family sleep on), spacious rooms, and abundant on-theme extras including Spirit Bear coffee (the company works with the Tsimshian Nation) and aboriginal-owned Mother Earth toiletries. The social enterprise part: all profits from the hotel and its gallery, which doubles as the check-in and lobby, go into subsidizing 24 live-work art studios on the lower floors of the lodge. Each room is unique, decorated with custom-made reclaimed wood furniture and designed as a partnership between local Vancouver artists and First Nations artists, including Corrine Hunt (a member of the Raven Gwa’wina clan from Ts’akis, who codesigned the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics medals). BC First Nations themes of eagles, ravens, bears, whales, and the sun and the moon all feature strongly in the design.
By Nikki Bayley, AFAR Local Expert
31 West Pender, Vancouver, BC V6B 1R3, Canada