Known as the People of the Pend Oreille River, the Kalispel Indians have long been tied to the land their ancestors first roamed. With its reservation located on a flood plain, the tribe was able to secure additional territory from the government with trust land west of Spokane, WA. To gain greater economic independence and sustainability, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians used that land to develop Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Today, the property features a 24-hour Las Vegas-style casino, a 250-room and 22-suite resort, 14 restaurants, and a 14,000-square-foot spa.
With curved and flowing hallways that promote the feeling of being on a journey, Current Spa is intended to be a true respite from life. “It is designed to mimic the colors and textures of nature,” says spa director Yvonne Smith. Throughout the spa, touches of the Kalispel Indians can be found. From the dream catchers that are hung on the treatment room doors to indicate they’re occupied to the wooden canoes that decorate the treatment beds, the spa is inspired by the tribe’s Native American heritage. A water feature in the entryway with a custom-designed camas flower motif is another example. The camas flower, a popular indigenous plant, has long held an important role in the tribe as a food source and for medical purposes. In fact, some even say Kalispel refers to “The People of the Camas Flower.”
While the spa is already warm and inviting, Smith has plans to make it even more welcoming. There are plans to add on to the pool area with two outdoor hot tubs and a fire pit in the next two to three years. Smith would also like to eventually add a fireplace to the spa to make it cozier in the winter. “The physical changes we have in mind for the spa will serve two purposes,” says Smith. “They will better utilize the space we have by maximizing guest comfort and transitioning into the spa environment, as well as enhancing the Kalispel tribal aesthetic from reception throughout the treatment rooms and lounges.”
Although Current Spa is less than a year old, Smith is already hard at work implementing several ideas to help the spa live up to its name. First on her to-do list is to rebrand the spa. Wanting to highlight the spa and make it more relevant, Smith recently dropped the salon description from Current Spa & Salon, the spa’s original name. She is also focused on working more closely with tribal members to introduce new Kalispel-inspired treatments to the menu. “I want the spa to be an extension of the Kalispel philosophy of wellness,” says Smith. Her goal is to create a more authentic Kalispel experience by drawing on the tribe’s ceremonies and healing protocols. One ingredient she is especially interested in incorporating is the camas flower.
Fortunately, she isn’t starting from scratch. The menu already highlights several native journeys and body rituals. “We tried to embrace the spirit of the inland Northwest by honoring the healing remedies and traditions of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians into our menu,” says Smith. For instance, the Pend Oreille River Stone Massage ($110, 60 minutes; $165, 90 minutes) uses local Pend Oreille river stones to diffuse muscle tension, and the Native Grains Body Exfoliation ($125, 60 minutes) awakens the skin with a crushed cornmeal scrub and purifying clay mask before treating the body to a juniper-sage aromatic massage. According to Smith, most guests are looking for treatments that help them relax. “We promote relaxation and renewal through our nurturing and compassionate treatments founded on wellness principles from the Kalispel Tribe,” says Smith.
With 23 employees on staff, the spa is able to accommodate approximately 60 guests each day. Smith’s greatest challenge in managing the spa is maximizing its retail potential. To help in that regard, she plans to introduce additional retail items, such as eye masks, pajama sets, and gifts for men and children. The spa also has an additional resource in the on-property embroidery shop. It allows guests to have some of their purchases personalized in just hours. Smith intends to utilize this resource more in the future by promoting it to bridal groups that want their names on their robes and such.
While Smith and her team are busy running the day-to-day operations of the spa, they are also intent on improving the overall experience by putting guests on a journey toward physical and spiritual renewal. Says Smith, “Our focus will continue to be exceptional guest service via native-inspired spa services.”