By: KWA’LILAS HOTEL
When it comes to exploring new destinations, travellers often seek unique experiences that allow them to connect with local cultures. One exceptional destination stands out in the pursuit of authentic encounters: Our very own indigenous-owned and operated — Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy. Nestled in the heart of Vancouver Island’s picturesque North Coast, we offer more than just comfortable accommodations —we provide guests with an opportunity to immerse themselves in Indigenous hospitality, culture, and history.
Located on the traditional territories of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations and Kwakiutl people. Kwa’lilas Hotel is a shining example of sustainable tourism and cultural preservation. The name “Kwa’lilas” translates to “a place to sleep” in the Kwak̓wala language, and that is exactly what we offer—a restful sanctuary that reflects the rich heritage of the region. A group of Elders chose this word in hopes that travellers and guests would find a peaceful rest after a day of exploration on Northern Vancouver Island.
Built To Honour
Upon arriving at Kwa’lilas Hotel, guests are immediately captivated by the striking details and strong cedar design. Our hotel was built by our very own K’awat’si Construction Company. Additionally, the building makes extensive use of local cedar and the design is meant to resemble the traditional big house style with a smoke hole at the top of the building. Traditionally, when visitors see smoke coming from a big house, it means welcome. Each aspect of the hotel’s architecture and décor tells a story, offering a glimpse into the deep-rooted traditions of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw people. It represents a legacy for the community and a unique opportunity to immerse visitors in their history, culture, food and eco-tourism opportunities.
A community of elders was brought together to curate a selection of local, Aboriginal art and design for the Kwa’lilas Hotel. You will find indigenous artwork created by local artists that showcase the culture, history, and talent in a meaningful and impactful way. You can learn more about the artwork in our hotel by checking out our Digital Art Guide. Also, we actively support local artists and artisans, ensuring that their work is displayed and celebrated. A portion of the hotel’s proceeds is reinvested into community initiatives, further contributing to the prosperity of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations community. Our hotel also features an onsite gift shop where you can purchase indigenous artwork, jewellery, and other handmade treasures.
Unlike other accommodations, what sets us apart is our dedication to providing authentic Indigenous experiences to guests and travellers from all over the world. Our hotel’s team actively engages with the local community to provide a range of activities that showcase the vibrant culture and history of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations. Cultural workshops offer guests the chance to participate in traditional practices such as cedar weaving, drum-making, and storytelling.
You can also embark on a journey with K’awat’si Tours and immerse yourself in a captivating cultural tour across the ancestral lands of GNN. Our expert indigenous guides will lead you to nearby sacred sites, unveiling ancient legends and teachings that have been woven through generations.
Kwa’lilas Hotel Accommodations and Amenities
From cozy guest rooms to spacious suites, each space is carefully designed with guest comfort in mind. The rooms feature a harmonious blend of contemporary style and Indigenous artwork, offering a serene atmosphere for relaxation after a day of exploration on the North Island. You will notice details throughout every suite from the bedding to the headboards that highlight local indigenous artists. We also feature state-of-the-art meeting and event spaces that are able to host everything from small intimate gatherings to large events and celebrations. Each space proudly represents the Kwak̓wala language — Gigi’game, Wa’watl, Gigi’yak, Ta’gwas, Sa’gumba and last but not least the GN Ballroom.
For travellers seeking an unforgettable and culturally immersive experience, Kwa’lilas Hotel in Port Hardy is a destination like no other. We seamlessly blend comfortable accommodations with Indigenous hospitality, allowing guests to learn, appreciate, and engage with the rich traditions of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations. By choosing to stay with us, you embark on a remarkable journey and contribute to the empowerment and preservation of Indigenous culture. So, pack your bags and prepare to be enchanted by the warm welcome of Kwa’lilas Hotel.
We are more than just a place to rest, Kwa’lilas Hotel is an opportunity to immerse yourself in indigenous culture.
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