Prince William and his wife Kate stepped out of the royal tour spotlight for about 24 hours, and reportedly spent their private time holed up at a backcountry lodge in Banff National Park.
The royal couple has been immersed in the intensity of their first official tour since landing in Ottawa on June 30, which resumes this afternoon with a jam-packed schedule in Calgary, to be followed by a whirlwind weekend to California.
After leaving Slave Lake, Alta., where they met with families affected by the devastating wildfire that wiped out much of the community, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left for a private retreat. Media reports in Alberta put the royal couple at the idyllic Skoki Lodge, a private setting accessible only by an 11-kilometre hike from the Lake Louise ski area.
The Duke and Duchess reportedly arrived by helicopter.
The lodge consists of one main building and three private cabins. One of the cabins is named Honeymoon, and with one king-sized bed it would seem ideal for the couple, who were married little more than two months ago.
There is no electricity or running water, but it's unlikely the potential future king and queen had to use the outhouse. Reports say a cabin has been retrofitted especially for the royal couple, with a full bathroom, and was flown to the lodge in two separate parts.
No one at Skoki Lodge would discuss whether they had royal guests overnight, but the descriptions on the retreat's website and glowing reviews on travel sites make it sound like the perfect getaway from the glare of their royal tour.
The young and active couple are known to enjoy hiking, and the lodge is set among “breathtaking mountain ridges and alpine lakes” with five different adjoining valleys.
In the winter, the lodge — owned by the world-renowned Lake Louise ski resort — caters to skiers of both the downhill and cross-country persuasion. In the summer, hiking is the main activity for guests.
If William and Kate did spend their private time at Skoki Lodge, they might have awakened to “the smells of freshly brewed coffee, wood smoke, and breakfast,” according to the website.
After breakfast, a “build-it-yourself gourmet lunch buffet” consisting of homemade breads, deli-meats, Swiss and cheddar cheeses and an assortment of fresh vegetables and fruit is available.
The lodge also sends hikers off on their adventures with packed snacks, including what they call “Skoki cookies.”