Why a Road Trip to Vancouver is in Order, Stat
Where: Skwachàys Lodge in Vancouver, B.C. Why: This new boutique hotel (rooms start at $225, 31 W Pender St.; 604.687.3589; skwachays.com) near the historic Chinatown neighborhood is awash in art and culture from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Each floor is assigned an animal spirit, and each of the 18 rooms features a different design—reflected in paintings, carvings and blankets—created by an aboriginal artist in collaboration with a local interior design firm. Browse the Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery in the lobby, or experience ceremonial cleansing processes in the Smudge Room (which uses smoke from burning herbs) and the self-explanatory Sweat Lodge. The lodge’s lower floors contain residential units and a workshop where artists featured in the gallery live and work, providing guests a chance to meet them. Share the Wealth: Proceeds from the hotel and gallery support the Vancouver Native Housing Society’s mission to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for the urban aboriginal community. While You're There: Soak up some of Vancouver’s oldest and quirkiest architecture, such as the 6-feet-wide Sam Kee Building (8 W Pender St.); the Wing Sang Building (51 E Pender St.), built in 1889 and currently home to Canadian real estate maven Bob Rennie’s private contemporary art collection (schedule a free tour at renniecollection.org); or the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the first of its kind built outside of China (vancouverchinesegarden.com).
Rooms take cues from nature at the Skwachàys Lodge in Vancouver, B.C.