There’s a new hotel in town that you’ll want to snag a room in quickly. Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport opened earlier this month and is owned by Long Plain First Nation, which is located on Treaty One Territory on Long Plain Madison Reserve, the city’s first urban reserve. This project has been a long time in the making, with Long Plain originally purchasing the land on Madison in 2006.
You’ll find an established Winnipeg brand attached to the project—Sparrow Hotels manages the property, which also owns and runs popular boutique hotels, including Inn at the Forks, Mere Hotel and Norwood Hotel. The hotel is part of the Wyndham Garden group; it is the first Indigenous-owned hotel under that brand.
The design details
Thoughtful design celebrating Indigenous culture and a tranquil colour scheme inspired by the Earth makes guests feel instantly welcome upon entry. In fact, you’ll see “Ode’ Ackiing” in black lettering behind the check-in desk, which translates to “Heart Land” in Ojibway.
The 132-room hotel features a unique curvature not seen in your typical hotel blocks as a reflection of the circle of life. Space for natural light is also prominent throughout the hotel which was designed to greet the sun with an east-facing main entrance, which is a common theme among Indigenous traditions and cultures. Smudging and pipe ceremonies are welcome in the hotel, with spaces built to fire code keeping these important traditions front of mind.
Indigenous art is a huge part of what makes Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport’s interior shine. Unique pieces of Indigenous art grace each room, many of them created by Garry Meeches on the 4th floor, Cyril Assiniboine on the 3rd floor, and Linus Woods on the 2nd floor, whom are all Long Plain artists. Near each elevator you’ll also find a massive focal piece.
One special room guests may notice en route to the pool and fitness area (be sure to pop in to admire the stunning tile work, even if you’re not going for a swim!) is a Knowledge Keepers’ gathering room. This is where Elders staying at the hotel can unwind and chat in a comfortable, private space.
The culinary offerings
Pull up a seat inside the peaceful, relaxed dining room at Manoomin restaurant (translates to wild rice), where Manitoba ingredients take centre stage. You’ll find numerous dishes highlighting bison, berries, grains, granola, seeds and pickerel on the earth-inspired menu, with Executive Chef Jennifer Ballantyne, Opaskwayak Cree Nation (a Red Seal Chef) at the helm. The bison tacos feature fluffy fried Bannock made in-house daily and toppings like wild rice for an Indigenous twist. Bison chili, fried pickerel cheeks and harvest are some other inspired choices. Diners can choose to eat in the cozy dining room or outside on the patio in warmer months.
The hotel offers bilingual service in English and Ojibway, with wayfinding signs throughout the hotel reflecting this too. In the lobby, Kookum’s Korner is open 24/7, offering beautiful pieces of jewellery and dream catchers for purchase, supporting Long Plains First Nation artists.
The nearby attractions
While Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport is a comfy home away from home, it’s also conveniently located to many sights. CF Polo Park shopping centre and shopping on St. James is only blocks away, while a visit to Assiniboine Park & Zoo is a quick 10-minute drive. Downtown, only 15 minutes away, is the hub for top attractions such as The Forks, Manitoba Museum, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada Life Centre (for professional sports and live entertainment), Exchange District, Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq and more.