When you walk through the doors, smell the fresh, invigorating fragrance of cedar. Enjoy the delicious West coast flavours of an Aboriginal-inspired menu at the onsite restaurant Ha’me’ (which means food) or sip a local brew in Nax’id’ (which means drink). Listen to the elders as they share history going back over 12,000 years.
Located in downtown Port Hardy, the Kwa’lilas Hotel was named by the Gwa’sala ‘Nakwaxda’xw elders. “Kwa’lilas" is a traditional word that means “a place to sleep.” The notion is that guests to this northern region of Vancouver Island in British Columbia will find a peaceful rest after a day of exploration.
This premier four-star First Nations hotel features 85 guest rooms, plus meeting space to accommodate up to 150 people. A curated selection of authentic local Aboriginal art can be found throughout the hotel showcasing local traditions, stories and culture. Hotel guests can also choose to participate in a selection of eco-adventure tours and cultural experiences (with k’awat’si Tours) guided by community members and local experts.
“We needed full community support to make this hotel happen. Everything we did was through an elders' committee,” says Davis Henderson, the hotel’s tourism coordinator. “We didn’t just put things places because they were pretty. They have meaning. Artists are very proud when they walk in the door and see their work. We want visitors to catch their breath when they walk in, and they’re doing just that. They stand back, take a breath and say ‘Wow.’ The Kwa’lilas Hotel is a tremendous source of pride for our community.”