An Authentic Experience in Vancouver, BC: Skwachays Lodge

If you're looking for an authentic Pacific Northwest experience when visiting gorgeous Vancouver, BC, I highly recommend staying at Skwachàys (pronounced Skwatch-Eyes) Lodge in the Downtown Eastside.

Showcasing vibrant aboriginal artwork throughout, this urban boutique hotel features 18 individually decorated suites by local First Nations artists. Sporting a unique totem pole crown, Skwachàys Lodge is traditionally named for its Vancouver area location on the edge of bustling Chinatown and historic Gastown. 

As Vancouver's first Aboriginal Art Hotel, this socially responsible accommodation gives back 100% of its profits to the local First Nations community, as well as to its non-profit society which provides adjacent apartments for at-risk Aboriginal individuals and artists in residence.

Our beautiful Canadiana Suite, # 601, decorated by Tlingit artist Clifton Fred, features a striking wall showcasing a symbolic collection of drums designed to represent the inherent relationship between humans, animals and nature. Our Canadiana Suite amenities included 2 flat-screen TVs, a king-size bed and a separate living area, along with a minifridge, a microwave and free Wi-Fi. Access to an off-site fitness facility (fee) is also offered. Note: Canadiana Suite 601 has 2 flights of entryway stairs.

We were privileged to see Skwachàys Lodge 'artists in residence' program in action right from the window of our suite as we watched artists ride a manlift to continue painting a brightly coloured starburst totem pole design on an adjacent building. We were also treated to an amazing view of the North Shore mountains!

As an added bonus, complimentary breakfast is served in the welcoming Kayachtn (pronounced Kay-ach-tin) room, which presents a beautifully hand-crafted totem table by local artist, Eric Parnell, along with a cozy fireplace lounge and furnishings created from the salvaged planks of the original 1906 building. 
Skwachàys Lodge is also home to a traditional smudge room and a rooftop sweat lodge, as well as a commercial kitchen that's available for rent. The Kayachtn room also offers light bites, Canadian craft beers and a selection of regional wines so you can unwind after a fun day of Vancouver sightseeing. To commemorate your stay at Skwachàys Lodge, be sure to visit their resident art gallery where you'll find jewelry and artwork available in a variety of mediums and price points. What a meaningful way to remember your visit to beautiful Vancouver!

And while admittedly the downtown Eastside has a somewhat undesirable reputation, Skwachàys Lodge provides secure underground parking that's accessible 24/7. Plus its great downtown location means you'll only be 2 km from shopping and restaurants along Robson Street, 3 km from famous Stanley Park (including the Seawall and the Vancouver Aquarium), and 5 km from Granville Island Public Market. The Chinatown Gate is right next door, while historic Gastown is only 4 blocks away. Talk about a perfect location from which to easily explore the entirety of downtown Vancouver!

Skwachàys Lodge is warm, inviting and its friendly staff reflect the pride they have in showcasing their First Nations heritage. I feel honoured to have stayed at this innovative, artistic hotel.

For more information or to make your reservation to authentically experience the Pacific Northwest, please visit Skwachàys Lodge. And here's a YouTube video I made which incorporates all of my photos!


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