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 17
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.
Afterward, since PEI is known for its fresh seafood and quaint fishing villages, hop in the car for a scenic road trip eastward, and keep driving until you reach the town of Georgetown. There, Tranquility Cove Adventures features all-inclusive lobstering trips off Fisherman’s Warf. Your guide, a third generation lobster fisherman, will show you the ropes, from hooking the buoy to weighing your catch. On the boat, you will enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast of the Wild Atlantic lobsters (and the occasional rock crab) that you catch.
The last Canadian destination for the prince and princess is Calgary, Alberta. There, the newlyweds will attend the Calgary Stampede, for which Calgary has become famous. In addition to watching cowboys and cattle, there will be live country music events around the city and free pancake breakfasts to boot.
About an hour-and-a-half from the Calgary airport, Banff National Park, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, merits at least a daytrip. Spend your day hiking, mountain biking, riding the Banff Gondola or soaking in the Banff Upper Hot Springs. If you decide to stay overnight, the Rimrock Resort Hotel, perched on Sulphur Mountain, is located right in the park. There, the rooms boast incredible views of the Canadian Rockies. Have dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, another establishment featured in Wine Spectator for its selection of 16,000 wines.
Following Alberta, it has been reported that the royals will fly to Los Angeles. According to People Magazine, the couple’s Californian excursion may also include visits to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.
Instead of seeking out celebrities in LA, visit the Griffith Observatory for actual star watching. Get an astronomy lesson at one of the observatory’s several space exhibits and then check out the Zeiss Telescope and the Ceolostat and Solar Telescopes. To connect with astronomy novices and nerds alike, Griffith will also be hosting a public star party on 9 July. Take a look at the Griffith Observatory’s online sky report to help better plan your trip.
If you want to experience the city like Hollywood royalty, stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, where the beds are reportedly extremely comfortable and plenty of celebrities stay in private cottages.
After a star-studded trip to LA, head north to San Francisco. If you are there on 4 July, do not miss the Independence Day waterfront celebration at Pier 39. Get a couple scoops of ice cream from one of the area vendors and watch the fireworks display.
Also on the waterfront is the Hotel Vitale, a boutique hotel with views of the San Francisco Bay. On the rooftop, relax in the soothing hot baths at the outdoor Spa Vitale. The hotel offers wine country tours throughout Napa Valley as well.
Although camping is common in Yosemite National Park, luxury accommodations do exist. The Four-Diamond rated Tenaya Lodge is a gorgeous mountain resort hidden within the forest. Opt for a customizable “Romance Package”: spa suite, jetted tub, amenities like champagne and chocolate-covered cherries, and activities such as hiking at night and enjoying couples’ spa treatments.
For a more rugged trip, go horseback riding along the many trails throughout Yosemite. You can book a guided tour with Tenaya’s concierge. The Giant Sequoia half-day trail ride takes you into Mariposa Grove, where the breathtaking 2,000-year-old redwood trees live.
These trips of relaxation, ruggedness and entertainment will allow you to vacation like royalty throughout Canada and the US. Whether you plan on recreating the royal North American itinerary or you happen to be in any of these cities when the prince and princess come to town, luxury and excitement await.