(Photos Credit: Orient-Express Hotels Tarins & Cruises)
Chances are you gave them a skip. You probably booked a flight months ago or have a GPS ready for the road trip. Trains just don’t feature on our radars any more. The feeling of lounging on a luxurious couch watching the countryside breeze by, all things at your beck and call, and no hurry to reach your destination is unparalleled. And it’s certainly not possible on a plane, much less a car. It sounds pedestrian and done, but taking a train can change your life. It adds perspective to your travel, it fuels conversation, the humming of the axles lulls you into several catnaps, and when you have arrived, you know it’s the best way to arrive. Taking a train is the real essence of travelling. Everyone who is serious about travel loves getting on a train, and it’s the most romantic way of travelling, even when alone. We picked a few luxury trains that deliver top-class experience and give your travels just the right amount of glamour.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Let’s start with the granddaddy of all luxury trains. The Orient Express chugged off from Paris to Istanbul in 1883 and began the trend of luxury train travel. The train itself is an Art Deco icon and has been immortalised in print by Agatha Christie’s fabled Murder on the Orient Express. The amenities in the first train’s coaches were unheard of at the time and its tradition of refined service, gourmet dining, and superb French wine has continued for over a century, with a hiatus between 1977 and 1982, when the coaches were refurbished and the train became a private service.
Dining onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a refined tradition. All dishes are freshly prepared on the train by skilled French chefs, with the finest supplies taken onboard during the train's journey and served in one of the three uniquely styled restaurant cars: Cote d’Azur, Etoile du Nord or L'Oriental.
From among the several routes offered by this train service, we recommend the classic Orient Express experience, beginning at Paris and taking you through the heart of Europe to Hungary and Romania, and finally to Turkey in six days. Along the way, you can experience luxury outside the train as well, with overnight stays in the most opulent hotels in old-world Europe. This route is operational only once a year and departs on August 31 in 2012. At GBP 5,380, it surely is not for everyone; but for a journey as luxurious as this, the price is just a number.
To track the luxury train routes get a copy of Time 'n Style. On stands now!
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