It’s called Skoki Lodge and it is set deep in the backcountry of the Lake Louise ski area in Western Canada, in the Banff National Park.
Built originally in 1931 by ski pioneers, Skoki is credited with being the first commercial mountain lodge in North America and the birthplace of ski tourism in Canada.
Splendid isolation: Skoki Lodge, deep in Banff National Park was built originally in 1931 by ski pioneers
But it is more famous now for being the place the young Royals chose as their cosy hideaway during their triumphant official tour of Canada last year.
I knew nothing about Skoki before William and Catherine (as they signed the guest book) visited, so I owe them a debt of gratitude for introducing it to me – and giving me the chance to boast that I’ve stayed in the same remote and romantic log cabin as they did, and even slept in the same sumptuous queen-sized bed.
And I can see why they chose it as somewhere to savour the only private time they had during their hectic tour.
It harks back to the days when winter recreation was more about cross-country skiing and rustic, hard-earned adventure than heated chairlift seats, gravity-assisted sport and sumptuous chalets.
Cosy: Neil and girlfriend Isabelle at Riverside lodge in the wilds of Lake Louise
There’s no running water, flushing toilets, showers, baths or electricity in the handful of bedrooms upstairs at Skoki’s main lodge, or in the scattering of cabins dotted around it – including the water’s-edge cabin called Riverside where William and Kate stayed.
There is one male and one female outhouse on the site – which has 22 beds at full occupancy – but reaching them requires a trudge through the snow and, at night, a headlamp.
Tanks of hot water and fresh drinking water are available in the main lodge and visitors keep fresh by filling generous jugs and transporting water to their rooms, where there are portable washing bowls, face cloths and towels.
It makes it relatively easy, even in the limited natural daylight in the cabins, or using kerosene lamplight at night, to manage without showers. I didn’t even bother shaving during my two-night stay, as I relaxed into a place where there is no mobile-phone signal, radio or television.
Romantic: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Blachford Lake near Yellowknife
In fact, none of the guests there during my visit had any means of instantly contacting the outside world, and I found that wonderfully refreshing.
Skoki really is a place of splendid isolation. No motor vehicles are allowed – apart from those that bring maintenance equipment and food.
Visitors have to hike for between three and five hours to get there from the nearest road, climbing 1,000ft through stunning, mountainous National Park territory.
I negotiated it in early March, using downhill skis with combination bindings and artificial skins for climbing grip. Many winter visitors use cross-country skis or snowshoes.
Of course, William and Kate are not your everyday visitors and they did not have to worry about the lack of private facilities, or the walk into Skoki from the Lake Louise trailhead.
A helicopter flew in a ‘Portaloostyle’ working bathroom that had been painstakingly clad in natural wood to fit the log cabin theme, before transporting the couple to and from the lodge.
‘They would have loved the walk, if they had had the choice,’ explained Skoki manager Leo Mitzel. ‘But I think security and time constraints ruled it out for them.’
The young Royals did, however, enjoy one of the many scenic walks on offer from the lodge and hiked the last third of the trail into Skoki, going over Deception Pass and down to the beautiful Ptarmigan Lake.
Here on the Skoki Valley side of Deception Pass I found a few hundred feet of untracked powder snow to ski, in what is known locally as Bunker Bowl. As I enjoyed the powder, I wondered whether Leo had told William and Kate that they nearly didn’t get their special en suite facility.
I learned that the first one that was made ended up being smashed to smithereens when the helicopter that was carrying it encountered turbulence.
Royal approval: The Royal couple's guest-book remarks, seen at the top of the page
The pilot felt he was losing control and that the precious cargo dangling on a rope below his aircraft might endanger him and the machine in the gusting winds.
So he hit the release button at about 500ft above rocky territory not far from Skoki, and down came the couple’s hand-crafted bathroom suite.
The splintered logs were all recovered and used to fuel the wood stoves in the main lodge, but Charlie Locke, owner of Lake Louise ski area and Skoki Lodge, had to set about the emergency task of building another bathroom on site from scratch – and he and his craftsmen had only three days to finish it.
‘All things are possible at Lake Louise or Skoki,’ claimed the indomitable Charlie, 65, who organised the Royal visit and also kindly guided me and my girlfriend Isabelle into Skoki on touring skis, seemingly without breaking sweat.
Homely: There might be no running water, flushing toilets, showers or electricity in the main lodge, but there's certainly plenty of character
There’s little here to do apart from ski and relax – so remember to bring a torch if you like to read – but it would be remiss of me not to mention the quality of the group meals, good hearty fare provided in the main lodge by the resourceful Katie, who is Leo’s wife.
Breakfasts include cereals, fresh-baked rolls, home-made jams and a hot cooked choice of pancakes or various gourmet egg dishes.
After breakfast, plates of salad, meats and cheeses are laid out so that all residents can make packed lunches for their daily walks or ski adventures. Afternoon tea is hot soup or bowls of chilli and home-baked corn bread.
Dinner is an even more elaborate affair. Leo told me that the two dinners we had were both also enjoyed by William and Kate, namely top-quality Alberta roast beef with impossibly rich gravy, crunchy vegetables and lashings of potatoes, and some beautifully plump, poached halibut steaks.
William actually referred to the meals in the guest book, writing: ‘Fantastic scenery and delicious food. Thank you.’
Kate wrote: ‘Thank you for looking after us so well!’ The generous meals are included in the package costs, but you’ll pay extra if you want to try Skoki’s fine wines.
If you are planning a ski trip to any of Banff’s ski areas – of which Lake Louise is the largest – I would urge you too to follow in the footsteps of William and Kate and include a couple of nights at least in Skoki to experience its wonders.
Frontier Canada (020 8776 8709, www.frontier-canada.co.uk) offers two nights fully catered in Skoki Lodge, four nights at Lake Louise Inn and one at Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, in a lake view room, from £1,390 per person including flights with Air Canada to Calgary and seven days’ rental of a small 4x4 car. More details at www.skoki.com and www.banfflakelouise.com.