Luxury trains

Luxury train travel is a dream come true! Come aboard these refined trains, heirs to the legendary Orient-Express: gourmet cuisine, comfortable bedding, attentive service... A real prestige train cruise, with a guaranteed view out of the window!

LUXURY TRAIN (4 days, 3 nights on board) - With your Belmond luxury train, discover Singapore and Malaysia, its tropical jungle, its tigers and its paradise islands.

LUXURY TRAIN (2 days, 1 night on board) The most glamorous journey ever on board the Venice simplon Orient Express train. From Paris to Venice, the two most romantic cities in the world.

From: € 4590

LUXURY TRAIN (6 days, 5 nights on board) - France's most beautiful cities aboard France's first luxury train. Elegance, refinement, costumed staff and historic shows

From: € 8300

LUXURY TRAIN (4 days, 3 nights on board) - In the dead of winter, set off for the tropical forests and paradise islands! Singapore and Malaysia on Asia's finest luxury train.

From: € 3050

LUXURY TRAIN (4 days, 1 night on board) Refinement and comfort: a luxurious escape to Florence and Paris, with a night on board the prestigious Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express.

From: € 5605

LUXURY TRAIN (12 days, 6 nights on board) An unforgettable "Balkan Escape" between Venice and Istanbul. Cross 9 countries on board the luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express.

From: € 16795

LUXURY TRAIN (8 days, 7 nights on board) Cross Northern Spain to Compostela on El Transcantábrico, Spain's most prestigious luxury train.

From: € 7500

LUXURY TRAIN (7 days, 6 nights on board) Aboard an authentic luxury train, plunge into the heart of Andalusia: the Giralda in Seville, the Alhambra in Granada, Cordoba. An unforgettable experience.

From: € 4700

When did the history of luxury rail travel begin?

The history of luxury train travel is not that old. Although the very first trains appeared in the 1830s, it was not until 50 years later that the first real luxury train set off. In June 1883, the first of them took to the rails: the Orient-Express, the train of kings and king of trains as it was then known, left Paris and the Gare de l'Est bound for Romania.
The Orient-Express was the brainchild of Belgian industrialist George Nagelmackers, founder of the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits. With its comfortable, improved Pullman cabins, it inaugurated a new travel concept with a bright future: the train cruise. The Orient-Express soon began operating between Paris and Vienna, then between Paris and Venice from 1919, and on to Constantinople, serving several European capitals in the process.

Why do luxury trains have an Art Deco aesthetic?

First introduced at the end of the 19th century, luxury train travel in Europe developed at the beginning of the 20th century, particularly in the 1920s, when Art Deco fashion was in full swing across the continent. Successful craftsmen such as René Prou and master glassmaker René Lalique were called in to do the interior decoration. In the compartments and lounges of the trains, they displayed an extreme refinement, with velvet and marquetry that was to become the hallmark of exceptional trains for a long time to come.
Even today, most legendary train journeys are made in retro-chic compartments that evoke the era and the aesthetics of the turn of the century. For example, the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) train, the commercial successor to the real Orient-Express, is still strongly influenced by the Art Deco spirit of the 1920s. The decision to preserve the original spirit of the decoration in the restored trains can no doubt be explained by the fact that luxury train companies such as the Belmond group often re-use authentic Pullman carriages from the period, renovated and adapted to the demands of modern comfort.

What is the most beautiful luxury train travel in the world?

Scotland's Royal Scotsman train, sometimes described as the most luxurious train in the world, also dates from the 1920s. If you visit Scotland on board, you'll appreciate its Edwardian decor, with a very British "private club" feel. You'll find the same cosy, hushed atmosphere, both chic and bourgeois, in South Africa on board the Rovos Rail or in Spain on board the Al Andalus luxury train...

Elsewhere and further afield, if you board the Eastern & Oriental Express for a chic trip to Malaysia, you'll find a décor that also evokes the beginning of the last century, but this time in a colonial spirit with marquetry and lacquered wood. Similarly, on board the Maharajas Express in India, the décor, with its chandeliers and carpets galore, is sure to evoke the carriages of Indian and colonial sovereigns. Luxury train travels in renovated authentic trains are often considered to be the most beautiful in the world. However a new generation of prestige trains is beginning to emerge.

What will the luxury train of the future look like?

Some of the legendary trains have a slightly different look. For example, the special Trans-Siberian, known as "Tsarengold". If you take Trans-Siberian on board one of its "comfort" compartments, you will enjoy a decoration described as "Tsar Red"... Somewhere between the splendours of the Russian Empire and those of the Soviet Union.
It wasn't until recently that the traditional cosy, retro decor on board luxury trains really came into its own. This mission has mainly been carried out by the most recent Japanese trains. For example, for the decoration of the sumptuous Shiki Shima suite train, inaugurated in Japan in 2017 and often considered to be the most expensive train in the world, very elegant shades of white have been chosen that owe nothing to the 1920s.
Similarly, for the future Orient-Express La Dolce Vita train project, soon to be launched by the Accor group, the designers have opted for a décor inspired by the cheerful Italy of the 1960s. Fresh, colourful and stylish, a far cry from the English-style wood panelling and carpets. Another version of the luxury train holiday is now being created.

How should I dress on board a luxury sleeper train?

How should you dress for a luxury train cruise? Are dinner jackets and evening gowns necessarily the order of the day? Not necessarily. If you're going on a special 16-day Trans-Siberian on board Imperial Russia, for example, you won't be expected to pack a gala dress. But for certain shorter journeys on legendary trains, such as Paris-Venice or Paris-Florence on the luxury VSOE train, a certain level of luxury is expected. Isn't the motto of the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express "you can never be too elegant on the VSOE train"?
When travelling by train in Scotland on the famous Royal Scotsman, dresses with trains are not compulsory. Casual elegance is expected. Men, however, will be asked to wear a dark suit, a dinner jacket or possibly... a kilt!

How can you tell if a train is really luxurious?

After the elegance of the clothes, another distinctive sign of luxury sleeper trains: the quality of the meals. Recently, the Belmond train company announced the arrival of a new chef on board its Orient-Express Venice: Jean Imbert is the VSOE's new chef. It's a fact that luxury train journeys are often marked by gastronomy, and dinners are one of the highlights of the journey.
However, a true rail cruise specialist will tell you that the real criterion for classifying luxury rail holidays is... the standard of the bedding. There are prestigious trains on which you don't sleep. Such is the case with the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada. It was also the case with the Presidential, a Portuguese gastronomic train that ran through the Douro valley (at the end of 2022, its departures were unfortunately suspended until further notice). But as a general rule, a luxury rail journey is above all a sleeper journey. And there is a couchette... and a couchette!

When should you book a luxury train journey?

As early as possible, of course! Unlike some luxury hotels, luxury trains cannot accommodate hundreds or even thousands of passengers. Their capacity is generally quite low, rarely more than 60 passengers and sometimes barely more than thirty: this is the case with El Transcantabrico, which has only 28 passengers, and the Royal Scotsman, which has only 36 passengers...
In addition, there are often few departures. Some special trains in Central Asia or Africa, such as the African Explorer, only have one departure a year. And even for those with several dates, the situation becomes more complicated if you want to take advantage of a French-speaking departure (only one French-speaking departure per year for Al Andalus on the Seville Santiago de Compostela itinerary...).
Of course, luxury rail travel is expensive. Which suggests that there aren't that many would-be departures. But bear in mind that taking a luxury train cruise is a fairly universal dream, and that your entry will be competing with dreamers from all over the world who have decided to take action this year. The final argument in favour of early booking: the price. The pricing of certain luxury trains, particularly those from the Belmond family such as the splendid VSOE, works on the principle of progressive pricing. Simply put: the closer you are to the departure date, the more expensive the journey. And


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