JASPER, ALTA. – Whether you've been to Jasper a dozen times or you haven't yet had the pleasure of visiting one of Alberta's true gems, the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre is an accommodation unlike anything you've experienced.
First Nation owned, the Sawridge offers a different experience than what one might expect. "The culture isn't in your face," said Pierre Frigon, director of sales and marketing for the Sawridge, "but it's certainly there in the architecture and the way it was built."
The Sawridge was the last hotel to be built in Jasper (back in 1983), and remains to this day the only 4-star hotel in town. What's more is that it did so without compromising its roots. "The building is infused with natural life, live plants. We have a three-story fireplace shaped like a teepee that follows the First Nation tradition of gathering around and being social by the fire. Our walls are decorated with beautiful Native art, Inuit art, carvings, you name it. "
The Sawridge features everything that a 4-star hotel should have. Whether you're in Jasper for skiing or just a few days of relaxation, the Sawridge enables both parents (and kids) to enjoy themselves as they see fit.
"We have movie showings for kids on the weekends and a children's room with ping pong so the parents are able to take a break. They can book a side-by-side massage treatment, or enjoy a gorgeous dinner with a First Nations influence."
Walter's Dining Room (an award-winner) is located right in the hotel. There's also the Hearthstone Room, which offers really affordable pub-style meals. And downstairs is Champs Sports Lounge, which often shows ski movies. And if you're feeling particularly tired after a long day of adventuring, there's always room service.
Of the 153 rooms on the premises, about one-third face the indoor atrium (which houses the aforementioned teepee). This area also overlooks the pool, so parents can sit in their room and drink a little red wine while they watch their kids take a swim. Two-thirds of the rooms are of "superior" quality, face outside, and have private balconies. There are also pet-friendly rooms available. The business centre is complimentary.
"And we also have a full-sized mounted black bear. It's a big male, about 425-450 pounds. We also have a full-sized wolf. The kids are absolutely fascinated by this. Where else can they stand this close to animals of this size?"
But what Frigon and his team are most proud of is their environmental stewardship program. "The Hotel Association of Canada rates accommodations on their environmental footprint. The best rating is 5 Green Keys, and we have a rating of 4 (an extremely high accomplishment, as 5 is nearly impossible to achieve).
It takes into account everything from how the accommodation is lit, its water usage, how it recycles water, what types of products we use for our laundry, our recycling and compost programs, etc..It's a lot of effort and money to achieve such a high rating, but we look at as an investment, not an expense. You can't take advantage of the world around you. You must protect it, nurture it."
If you want some level of luxury at affordable prices, where you can enjoy a relaxing and rewarding winter holiday, choose the Sawridge Inn. For more on the Sawridge and everything it offers, visit its website.
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