Qatar Airways Business Class, onboard the A330
- Sinead Mitchard
A new luxury rail journey has been signed by Etihad Rail and Italian luxury hospitality company Arsenale. Although there is no indication of estimated timings as yet, the new luxury train is intended to rival some of the world’s bests as it travels between Fujairah in the East of the UAE across the Liwa desert to Abu Dhabi. The train will consist of 15 ultra-luxury carriages reflecting Emirati heritage with a quality and flair of luxury Italian craftsmanship. The news follows another recent luxury rail journey project for Arsenale; The Dream of The Desert in Saudi Arabia. Arsenale also have plans for a luxury train service in Italy called ‘La Dolce Vita’.
All of these luxury rail journeys are expected to boost local tourism sectors. Have you ever travelled on a luxury train? We have documented some of the world’s best below.
Perhaps the original and most iconic of all luxury rail journeys is the Orient Express. Created in 1883 and in operation until 2009, the train travelled the length of continental Europe from Paris to Istanbul. Over the years, the route extended with new branches, before shortening close to ceasing operation. Stops most frequented during its length of service included Munich, Vienna and Budapest. Branches extending service included:
Simplon Orient Express – A more southern route covering stops such as Milan, Venice, Belgrade and Sofia before Istanbul.
Arlberg Orient Express – This route operated from London, through to Paris, Zurich and Innsbruck, re-joining the main route at Vienna and Budapest and departing south for Belgrade and finally Athens.
Venice Simplon Express – Departed from Calais, before taking on a shorter route of the Simplon Express, including Paris, Milan and finally Venice.
The Orient Express offered passengers a sumptuous and lavish experience, characterised by exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious furnishings and impeccable service. Its interior boasted elegant dining cars, plush sleeping compartments and stylish lounges. Over the years, the train welcomed numerous royalty, diplomats, celebrities and writers. Whilst no longer in operation, several companies still offer journeys that pay homage to the legendary Orient Express, allowing travellers to relive the romance and glamour of a bygone era.
The Belmond Royal Scotsman is a luxury rail journey still in operation around Scotland since its creation in 1985. The overnight luxury train itineraries include 2,3,4,5 or 7 night journeys around the Scottish highlands. Passengers are treated to visits at castles and distilleries and are also invited to play golf on renowned Scottish courses. Once a year, it also makes a 7 night journey around the whole of Great Britain.
Each carriage is meticulously designed with rich mahogany wood panelling, luxurious furnishings and tasteful Scottish-themed décor. It consists of a small number of exquisite cabins, ensuring an intimate and personalised atmosphere for its passengers. A highlight of any journey on the Belmond Royal Scotsman is the on board culinary experience. Talented chefs prepare gourmet meals using the finest local ingredients to showcase the rich flavours of Scottish cuisine. A carefully curated selection of wines and Scottish whiskies accompany the delicious menu and attentive service.
The Rocky Mountaineer is an acclaimed luxury train that offers a breathtaking journey through the majestic Canadian Rockies. Known for exceptional service, amazing scenery and comfortable accommodations, the Rocky Mountaineer provides an unforgettable experience for travellers seeking to explore the stunning landscapes of Western Canada. The luxury rail journey takes passengers through iconic locations including Banff, Jasper, Lake Lousie and Vancouver. Passengers can marvel at spectacular vistas of snow-capped mountains, dense forests, glacial lakes and winding rivers.A variety of itineraries allows travellers experience Western Canada in a way that best suits them. Opportunities for off-board experiences includes visits to national parks, guided tours of landmarks and even helicopter rides.
The train features spacious bi-level coaches with large panoramic windows to take in every inch of scenery. Culinary excellence is an integral part of the experience, with gourmet meals from fresh local ingredients prepared on board.
The Maharajas Express is world-renowned luxury rail journey through the enchanting landscapes of India. Launched in 2010, the opulent train sets new standards for luxury rail travel, providing passengers with an exquisite blend of regal elegance, impeccable service and cultural immersion. The trains interior reflects the grandeur of India’s royal heritage. Each cabin is adorned with elegant furnishings, intricate detailing and yet equipped also with modern amenities. The journey is often described as fit for royalty, including world-class dining, luxurious accommodation and second-to-none service.
Four different itinerary options are available, taking between four and seven days. Destinations include capital Delhi, Jaipur, and Ranthambore with longer itineraries also including the likes of Jodhpur and Mumbai. Passengers can expect to marvel at majestic palaces, iconic landmarks, ancient temples and vibrant markets during off-train excursions led by expert guides.
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express began operations in 2007, designed to provide comfort, luxury and exceptional service to passengers journeying along the famous Trans-Siberian railway. The Trans-Siberian Express railway line is perhaps one of the most famous railway journeys of the world. It spans over 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) with the longest route accommodating an itinerary of 15 days.
Departing from Russia’s vibrant capital Moscow, some of the more notable stops and destinations include:
Kazan – On the banks of the Volga River is the stunning Kazan Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Yekaterinburg – The city of great historical significance. The last Russian Emperor and his family were executed here and an impressive church was erected at the site of execution.
Novosibirsk – Siberia’s largest city offers a mix of architectural marvels and vibrant markets in addition to cultural attractions.
Lake Baikal – The mesmerising Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the world, a true natural wonder.
Ulan-Ude – A city of Buryat people with a rich heritage and vast Buddhist monasteries.
Vladivostock – The vibrant port city with a picturesque waterfront overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Is a luxury train journey on your bucket list? Perhaps you can incorporate it as part of an upcoming business trip, whether that be by means of entertaining suppliers, incentivising employees or perhaps by extending your business trip with a leisurely add on. Our business travel experts can help, call us today!