Following the royals through North America
Moraine Lake and mountains, Banff, Canada. (EyeWire, Inc.)
At the end of this month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will embark on their first royal tour of North America.
The 11-day trip will begin in Canada’s National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario, Gatineau and Quebec) and continue into Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Alberta and then to the west coast of the United States. The exact itinerary for the American portion of their tour has yet to be released.
A source from St James’s Palace told People Magazine that the couple views this as a “working” trip. If you decide to trace their path, though, your royal trip can focus more on stylish luxury than “work”.
Start out in Ottawa where William and Kate will appear for a Canada Day celebration on 1 July. On Canada Day, Parliament Hill will host a huge street party concluding with the annual fireworks display.
After the festivities, check into the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a hotel that resembles a castle. From its views of the Rideau Canal to its luxury Gold Suite, the Fairmont’s award-winning accommodations are fit for royalty. Nearby, the Gatineau Hills offer great hiking, biking and, during winter months, skiing. Also in the winter, the Rideau becomes the world’s longest outdoor ice skating “rink”. Back at the hotel, go for a dip in the chateau’s 20-yard-long, Art Deco swimming pool.
On the way to Montreal, treat yourself to a romantic respite at the Spa Ofuro in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. This Japanese-style outdoor spa features 10 acres of calming scenery. The only sounds are of waterfalls, streams and a sparkling river. The spa offers hot steam baths, cool river baths and hammocks in addition to treatments such as massages, seaweed wraps and holistic facials.
After your day of indulgence, head to Montreal, named a Unesco “City of Design”. This bilingual town is known for its flourishing culture and fantastic food. While the royals are in town the entertainment options include Cirque du Soleil, the Festival International de Jazz and, our personal favourite, the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibition at the Centre de Sciences de Montreal. The archaeology exhibit, a collaboration between the science centre, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the National Geographic Society, displays props, drawings, and set designs from the Indiana Jones movies as well as actual artefacts from real-life digs.
While in Montreal, dine at Chez Queux for traditional French fine dining the way it was meant to be. Think tuxedo-clad waiters, decadent cuts of meat, appetizers like foie gras, caviar, snails and sweetbread, and a choice of three flambéed desserts. Top it all off with a wine list that was named one of the world’s finest by Wine Spectator Magazine. If you and your prince or princess are in a sharing mood, consider ordering the chateaubriand steak, a lavish dish for two, prepared tableside.
With your belly full of meat and your head swarming with Raiders of the Lost Ark quotes, get ready for a cosy night at the Chateau Versailles. Book a room with a view, as all of the top floor rooms overlook either the nearby mountains or the shimmering lights of downtown Montreal’s cityscape.
Next on your royal to-do list is Quebec City. One lovely place to stay is the historic Auberge Saint-Antoine, formerly the site of an archaeological dig. The hotel is like a museum, displaying artefacts dating as far back as the 17th Century. Until 3 July, the Festival Grand Rire de Quebec, or Laughs for All Festival, will hold nonstop comedy events, from stand-up shows to tributes to comedic greats like Charlie Chaplin to improv acts.
Next, travel to beautiful Prince Edward Island. The first stop for Will and Kate will be Charlottetown. Take a walking or bike tour of the town, visiting breweries and listening to live outdoor music along the way.