Rovos Rail – The perfect opportunity for a ‘bleisure’ trip
- Aiden Ashton
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Your journey starts at a private station in Pretoria which also doubles as a rail museum. The museum has a plethora of items any rail enthusiast would love. Served in the departure lounge are Champagne and snacks. As if you were in assembly at school, you’d wait for your name to be called – ah the good old days.
Welcomed by the owner himself (Mr Rohan Vos), you’re taken to your cabin, in my case the leading Pullman suite. It really is like going back in time, deep mahogany woods, old style paintings on the wall and a Victorian bed which converts into a big chair during the day for you to enjoy the view. Another positive was the ensuite, a personal shower on a train! Even the world famous Orient Express can’t boast that at the moment.
Each carriage has its own dedicated butler who will take care of anything. Need some clothes washed and ironed, no problem. Want to arrange a walking tour for when we stop for 4 hours, done.
After exploring the train, you basically have 3 areas you can congregate. The lounge car in the middle of the train is the perfect place to lose yourself in a book.
The dining cars which are my personal favourite. Here the seating is either 4 + 4 or 1 + 1, so you can either be sociable or dine with a partner. The décor is beautiful with little lights above your head just bright enough to not ruin the ambience. With five star food, I experienced Ostrich for the first time and cannot wait to have it again. Couple the amazing food with unlimited premium branded alcohol and you can see why this carriage was my favourite.
The observation deck, located at the rear of the train is also a popular hangout, here you can stare into the wilderness with wind rushing thorough your hair whilst clutching a glass of red. After dinner everyone ended up here to enjoy the bar.
Speaking of dinner, a ‘gong’ in each carriage would summon you for dinner. Another nice touch although as you may have already guessed, dress code is formal for the evening. A jacket and tie are minimum for men with women in cocktail dresses. Whereas, during the day is smart casual.
The journey from Pretoria to Cape Town takes 3 days, stopping at some magnificent places including Kimberly (Diamond mines) and Matjiesfontein (Historic settlement). There is so much more to say on this truly wonderful experience, I will be doing a more in-depth review soon.
One last thing, phones, laptops basically anything that can distract other passengers are confined to your private suites.
And that for me, is what the Rovos Rail experience is all about. A bygone era where modern distractions like phones are replaced with good food, wine and service.
With the rise of ‘bleisure trips’, this route is perfect for mixing business travel with pleasure. If you want to add on the Rovos Rail to your business trip, contact me today on 0203 805 4599 or email email@example.com
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