For travelers looking for a unique experience you can't find at the typical run-of-the-mill chain hotel, Skwàchays Lodge (pronounced skwatch-eyes) is a must visit. Everything about this property, from the Aboriginal art to the rooftop sweat lodge, is a nod to the First Nations heritage—something you won't find at any other hotel in the Vancouver area.
Each of the guestrooms at Skwachàys Lodge has its own theme that aligns with First Nations heritage, like the Moon Suite, Poem Suite, or Water Suite, and many of the furniture in the guestrooms was built using reclaimed wood from the original Lodge, which was remodeled in 2012.
The remodeled bathrooms are simple but comprehensive, and each bathroom’s decor continues the theme of its suite. A spacious walk-in shower has all-natural herb-scented Mother Earth Amenities toiletries.
The lobby is a gorgeous space, with beautiful wood floors and warm tones. Make sure to take some time to explore the enterprise art gallery, where you can admire the artwork from the Aboriginal artists-in-residence.
In place of a spa you would find at other hotels, Skwachàys Lodge has a rooftop sweat lodge/smudge room where you can partake in the spiritual ceremony.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Sweat lodges aren’t for everyone. Guests who aren't used to being in extreme heat should proceed with caution—be sure to speak to the front desk about any concerns before committing to a ceremony.
Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast in the Kayachtn Room (Kayaachyn is the Salishan word for "welcome").
Make sure you get to breakfast early—the baked goods at breakfast are made in-house and tend to go quickly.
Enjoy a local beer or wine in the Kayachtn Room while you mingle with other guests.
Skwachàys Lodge offers on-site parking for $20 per day (reserving a spot in advance is highly recommended). If you don't bring a car, no worries—the hotel is a quick 5-minute walk to the Stadium-Chinatown Station where you can catch the SkyTrain or you can hop on one of the many bus stops within walking distance of the hotel.
If you're looking to add a little spice to your life, try local favorite Calabash Bistro (2-minute walk), known for serving up spicy Caribbean dishes alongside an innovative menu of rum cocktails. If you're more in the mood for a splurge, try Pidgin Restaurant (4-minute walk), which offers a high-end selection of French-Asian fusion cuisine (the daily ceviche and the foie gras rice bowl with an unagi glaze are not to be missed).
For one of the best wine experiences in the city, head to the Vancouver Urban Winery (16-minute walk). The wine bar features more than 30 local wines on tap (both in-house and from other wineries in British Columbia), many of which are surprisingly affordable—you can take home many of their bottles for less than $20. For a more beer-centric experience, head to The Pint Public House (2-minute walk), where you can watch the game and throw back a few brews (make sure to stop by on Thursdays, when pitchers are only $5.50).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Skwachàys Lodge is one of the most unique properties in Canada. The focus on Aboriginal culture, the support for Aboriginal artists, the incredible staff, and the one-of-a-kind experience make this property a must-visit on your next trip to Vancouver.