Luxury Travel is as much about the journey as the destination. From the glamour of Venice to the mountains of Peru, these five train journeys are the most elegant way to travel and offer the ultimate luxury journey.
Japan is now setting the standard for luxury train journeys with JR East’s new Train Suite Shiki-Shima. These two-story passenger cabins include suites with tatami floors and traditional cedar soaking tubs. There are two sleek glass-walled observatory coaches offering uninterrupted views of Japan’s forests, fields, and coastline, a lounge with its own piano bar, and a dining car with a Michelin-starred chef. With just 34 passengers, this magical train embarked on its maiden voyage on 1st May when it departed from Tokyo to take a tour of north-eastern Japan.
2. Venice Simplon Orient Express, UK to Italy
This Art Deco icon, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, is a work of art in itself, is one of the world’s most famous luxury trains. Step aboard and experience truly elegant travel, wrapped in romance, adventure, and style, crisscrossing Europe, rolling along in a delightful vintage cabin with gastronomic cuisine and lively onboard entertainment.
Our favorite route is London to Venice that starts at around £2,000 GBP. When you get there, we have picked 5 of the best hotels in Venice with a pool for you to stay in.
Rovos Rail in South Africa offers the luxury and romance of a bygone era and is appropriately named ‘The Pride of Africa’. Traditional rolling stock with wooden-walled carriages journey across some of African’s most dramatic scenery. The 1600km journey between Cape Town and Pretoria takes you through the beautiful barren Karoo, past lonely windmills surrounded by sheep in the fields. On this journey, there are stops at my favorite Victorian village Matjesfontein and an afternoon in Kimberley for a city tour, a visit to the world’s largest manufactured excavation, the Big Hole, and the Diamond Mine Museum.
4. Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
The first journey on this train (pictured above) will take place in May, and this new South American sleeper will travel over some of the world’s highest altitude tracks in the world. The company is planning four one- and two-night journeys to the Peruvian highlands, departing from Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. The train will reach 4,800 meters in altitude, traveling to Puno where guests will visit Lake Titicaca, and then to Arequipa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The train will accommodate 68 guests in 2 double cabins, 20 twin cabins, and 12 bunk-bed cabins for two people. Food will be prepared by the chefs at Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, and its interiors will be inspired by Peru’s hand-woven fabrics, with soft tones of the Alpaca wool blended with Andean slate greys. There will be shared access to two dining cars, an observation car with an open-air deck, and a lounge car.
5. EuroStar To Paris
Admittedly, this suggestion is left field and does not offer the same level of luxury as the selection above. Still, with one-way prices to Paris starting at £245 GBP, and trips as far as Nice coming in at around £270 GBP (Paris Gare De Lyon to Nice Ville will be on SNCF), this is the most affordable luxury train journey you can take. I love the journey, taking Eurostar from London to continental Europe is always a thrill. You can read our review of Business Premier on EuroStar.
And for a luxurious place to stay at the end of the trip, if budgets allow, life doesn’t get better than the Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat by Four Seasons.
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