These luxury train experiences elevate rail journeys to a new level.
(Photo: FB @venicesimplonorientexpress)
There’s nothing quite like travelling in luxury sleeper carriages for a journey into romance and glamour. Here are the world’s top five to add to your bucket list for future travel experiences.
Does the name the Orient Express ring a bell? It’s the setting for Agatha Christie’s 1934 murder mystery, Murder On The Orient Express. There isn’t a detail missing from this tour of decadence on this set of vintage carriages: French-polished rich wood paneling and fixtures, lush upholstery, fine fabrics and antique fittings ─ it’s the epitome of rail romance and timeless glamour. On the overnight train across Europe from Venice, you sleep in restored 1920s art deco cabins and view exotic landscapes as you wine and dine on haute cuisine in three restaurant cars, while dedicated stewards in their blue and gold livery serve you with a white-gloved hand.
It will be a journey of exquisite elegance when you traverse South Africa onboard the Blue Train. There are luxury suites with full size bath tubs befitting kings and celebrities, fine dining restaurants, gentleman’s club, and elegant lounges to view the untamed savannah rolling by, with drink in hand - you wouldn’t want to miss the luxuries of South Africa’s moving 5-Star “hotel on wheels”. The Blue Train travels 1,600 kilometers across Africa and one of your adventures will be a visit to the famous diamond mines of Kimberley, or choose to visit the Kruger National Park, which houses Africa’s biggest and most famous wildlife.
Over at the Land of the Rising Sun, the Seven Stars in Kyushu is Japan’s most luxurious train. It is a deluxe sleeping car excursion train and features only seven carriages, holding just 30 people in 14 expansive suites. Everything inside is exquisite and showcases the finest in Japanese craftsmanship. In fact, even the wash basins in the luxury suites are limited edition. You can choose between a tour that takes 4 days/3 nights or 2 days/1 night but do remember that getting on board the Seven Stars is very difficult as it is in very high demand. So, don’t be surprised to know that guests are chosen based on a lottery system.
If you wish to relive the majestic history of kingdoms past in splendour and be treated like a Maharaja yourself, get on board India’s Maharajas’ Express. This luxury train has been winning the World’s Leading Luxury Train award for seven consecutive years from 2012 to 2018, and it’s no wonder with all its opulence and grandeur. The train encompasses four regal suites, a lounge bar and restaurants and all of them are richly appointed to reflect the rich romance of the golden days of the Raj. Itineraries include visiting the fabled cities of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Ranthambore and Jodhpur, with such journeys into Indian splendour possibly taking up to a glorious week long.
In 2020, the Ghan marks over 90 years of outback crossing by rail in Australia. Previously, it only provided tours from Adelaide to Darwin and back. Now, it goes to Alice Springs as well. Sojourns into the Australian heartland could take anything from 2 days/1 night to 13 days/12 nights, with passengers to expect extravagant dining, elegant private cabins and impeccable service. For an elevated experience, the Platinum service offers more cabin space, a bigger ensuite bathroom, an exclusive dining carriage, breakfast in bed and five-course meals. The train curates adventures for guests onboard as well as outside, exploring the exciting Australian landscape.
For many, taking a ride in a train is already an exciting adventure, but when you experience an exclusive ride like the ones listed here, it truly amounts to the expedition of a lifetime on rail. It’s akin to a ride into a glorious past and shouldn’t be left out of your travel plans should you have the opportunity.