Not long ago, award-winning Canadian travel writer Margo Pfeiff wrote a story for a U.S publication about First Nations travel opportunities in British Columbia. During her research, she had a chance to stay at the highly-regarded Skwachàys Lodge.
So when our Vancouver-based graphic designer Helen Eady unleashed this illustration of the one-of-a-kind First Nations hotel, we thought we’d check in with Margo to see what her experience looked like. She replied with the following comments:
“The 40-foot totem pole atop the roof of Skwachàys Lodge was my first startling glimpse of a unique, boutique hotel that offers not only accommodations, but a roll call of opportunities to immerse in First Nations culture smack in the centre of downtown Vancouver.
“In the lobby that doubles as the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery, I mingled with local Aboriginal artists, then stayed in one of 18 stylish First Nations’ themed rooms which feature original carvings, paintings and blankets.
“On the 6th floor patio—in the shadow of that distinctive totem pole—is a Smudge Room where guests can experience traditional purification rituals using sweet grass and sage. But I went all the way, signing up for a real sweat lodge experience on the rooftop with a medicine man named Old Hands.
“Within a willow tent lined with heavy blankets and in the pitch black—except for the glowing stones—we sweated, chatted and sweated some more to the sound of a meditative drum beat.
“When I eventually emerged on that extraordinary urban rooftop, I felt lighter and revitalized, not only from the experience, but with the knowledge that Skwachàys is run by the non-profit Vancouver Native Housing Society—a social enterprise which funnels profits into the local First Nations community, including support for 24 artists-in-residence within the lodge.”
*Our writer was a guest at Skwachays Lodge. The lodge did not review or edit this post before publication. For detailed information on unique First Nations travel experiences in British Columbia, we recommend you check out our friends and partners over at Aboriginal Tourism BC.