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. This 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
A work of art in itself, this Art Deco icon, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express 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 delightful vintage cabin with gastronomic cuisine and lively onboard entertainment.
Our favourite route is London to Venice that starts around £2,000. When you get there we have picked 3 of the best hotels in Venice for you to stay in.
Rovos Rail in South Africa offers offers the luxury and romance of a bygone era and is appropriately named ‘The Pride of Africa’. Traditional rolling stock with wooden-walled carriages which journey across some of the 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 favourite Victorian village Matjesfontein and an afternoon in Kimberley for a city tour, visit to the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum.
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 planing 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, travelling 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 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 a bit left field and does not quite offer the same level of luxury as the selection above, but with one way prices to Paris starting at £245, and trips as far as Nice coming in at around £270 (Paris Gare De Lyon to Nice Ville will be on SNCF) this is the most affordable luxury train journey you can take and I love the journey of taking Eurostar from London to continental Europe. You can read my 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.