BY MARK KEAST

If the stories are true, and Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and their son Archie, are bound for a new life on Vancouver Island, we thought it would be helpful to make a few recommendations on where to go to replenish body and soul, especially after such a long period of being “jerseyed” by the British press.

I heard that Meghan is a Canadian citizen. I am too lazy to confirm that, but she did live in Toronto, specifically in the Annex, for seven years, so she’s practically one of us anyway.  She lived here under the radar during those years, even after her engagement to Harry, hanging out in places like Trinity Bellwoods Park, because that’s how we roll here. Anyone who has been to Trinity Bellwoods Park on a weekend knows how tough it is not to be noticed.

Related: Looking to feed the soul? Here are seven luxury resorts where wellness and health are top priority

On Vancouver Island, she isn’t going to be hounded by the local press. We doubt the hosts of CTV News Vancouver Island are going to accuse her of breaking up the Royal family, as Piers Morgan (host of Good Morning Britain) did this morning. The paparazzi, assuming they make it over from Vancouver on the two hour-long ferry from Horseshoe Bay, will be much smaller in number, easier to duck. If a Canadian gets too pushy, looking for that celebrity Apple iPhone snapshot while she’s in line somewhere trying to get a morning latte, they’ll be embarrassed about their behaviour later on. Trust us on that.

Both Harry and Meghan have decided they need a respite from the job of being a Royal, and considering what happened to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash trying to flee paparazzi, it’s hard to blame them for thinking that way.

So if the two of them are searching for wellness and respite, especially from the shouts and accusations that they are “spoiled brats”, that they have created “havoc” and “insulted the Queen”, we recommend seeking out these places:

THE WICKANINNISH INN

In a country with a treasure chest of magical places for health and wellness, Tofino ranks among the elite. Watch the winter storms come in off a churning Pacific, a true exhibit of nature untamed. Grab a coffee and go for a long morning stroll along Chesterman Beach, or check out water blasting from the Blowhole at Halfmoon Bay. Discover different species of trees along the trail to Schooner Cove or Big Tree Trail in Pacific Rim National Park. Or just sit on the balcony in your room, and listen to the waves crash in. Maybe you’ll see an eagle overhead. Check out their culinary, romance, spa + wellness, and seasonal packages here. Tofino best personifies West Coast living.

Image by Chris Pouget

The Pointe, Wickaninnish Inn, image by Tom Ryan.

Night time, Wickaninnish Inn, image by Michael Becker

Big wave during winter storm season, image by Mark Hobson

Aerial shot, image by Jeremy Koreski

FRESH START HEALTH RETREAT

“Rediscover the best you,” is the saying they have at Fresh Start. Located in Campbell River, the folks there offer programs focusing on the cleansing and detoxing of body and soul. This is a place to come to relieve stress. Hydrotherapy treatments, cellular re-nourishment (filling the body’s cells with large quantities of quality nutrients, vitamin complexed and minerals), emotional wellness workshops, fitness and yoga, meditation and relaxation – all are staples of their program. Organic juices and vegan raw food is the nourishment. Guests will walk the rainforest, or stroll the beaches. The natural beauty of that area of Vancouver Island is the backdrop. There are seven-day, 14-day and 21-day options, ranging in price from $2,500 to $7,500 for “Jump Start” programs, and $4,000 to $12,000 for the “Advanced Healing” package. They dig deep, when talking health and lifestyle transformation. It’s a very individualized approach, based entirely on personal goals and objectives.

VILLA EYRIE RESORT

Awesome views, just a short drive from Victoria, perched on a mountain top, looking down at lower Vancouver Island. Villa Eyrie is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World – an exclusive network of properties in 80 countries. The Alpina Restaurant offers guests world-class dining. Go for the Jägerschnitzel – thinly pounded breaded pork loin, spätzle, veal jus, wild and cultivated mushrooms à la crème. The Tuscan Spa has three relaxation treatment rooms, a manicure and pedicure lounge, loungers and views overlooking the Saanich Inlet. There is the fresh mountain air, water streaming from deep within the Malahat mountain, on top of those jaw-dropping views. There are all kinds of activities available – like whale watching, hiking, sea kayaking, even a variety of freshwater fishing trips. You’ll leave a different person.

Top image: Shutterstock