The Venice Simplon Orient Express
Having long been an inspiration for authors and artists, the glamorous Orient Express is considered one of the most luxurious trains in the world. Departing from London’s Victoria Station, this sleeper will take you to some of Europe’s most vibrant cities, with stops in Venice, Verona and Berlin along the way. The art deco style cabins are decked out in rich upholstery and polished, antique oak detailing, while staff will convert the plush banquette sofas into twin beds as you enjoy supper in one of three dining cars. The on-board menu has been crafted by skilled French chefs, with each dish featuring seasonal produce from local destinations. In the evenings, dress up and enjoy a glass of bubbly in the elegant Champagne Car, accompanied by live piano music, all against the backdrop of sweeping, romantic European views.
One of the greatest, and longest, rail journeys in Australia, The Ghan travels from Darwin, through the desert, to buzzy Adelaide. So passengers can explore the Australian outback, there are plenty of daily excursions on the itinerary, including a cruise on the Nitmiluk Gorge and wildlife spotting in the Red Centre. On board, there are two levels of service to choose from: Gold or Platinum. Gold service cabins feature a three seater sofa which is converted into comfy sleeping berths. Platinum cabins, meanwhile, are larger in size, with a lounge and a sleeping area, a roomy bathroom and personal stewards to serve in-room drinks morning, noon and night. Décor is kept simple and traditional, with the sleeper’s vast picture windows perfectly framing the rusty reds and vibrant oranges of the Australian landscape. Come nightfall, passengers are welcome to hop off to experience the outback’s unmissable starry night sky.
This four day trip covers over 4,000km of Canadian soil, journeying from Toronto to Vancouver. There are three classes to choose from: Economy, Plus and Prestige, all of which feature simple, modern amenities and design. Plus, cabins come with the standard bunk sleeping berths, while prestige offers passengers a private compartment with a double bed, en suite bathroom, complimentary mini bar and a personal concierge. There’s an array of activities available in the lounge cars, including wine tasting, movie nights and musical acts. But the real showstopper is the Skyline Car, which features a glass panoramic dome for passengers to take in the dramatic, ever-changing Canadian landscape. From forestland to waterfalls, and the largest game reserve in the world, to the snowy peaks of the infamous Rockies, this route guarantees a new wonder around every corner.
The Eastern and Oriental Express
Taking passengers from Bangkok to Singapore, the Eastern and Oriental Express makes for a dazzling journey across Southeast Asia. On board, relax in your lounge-cabin, decorated with colourful details and silk furnishings, which stewards will convert into a cosy bedroom once the sun goes down. Then, the sleeper’s bar is the place to be seen in the evenings, where passengers can choose from a list of exclusive, signature cocktails to be enjoyed alongside live jazz music. For dinner, the Eastern and Oreintal Express boasts an exotic menu inspired by the Asian route – the highlight being the authentic Nyonya Curry. The most impressive, and magical, feature of this sleeper is it’s Observation Car, located at the very back of the train. With panelled wooden walls and flooring, this veranda-style carriage offers a stunning ‘deck’ to let guests drink in the local, stunning surroundings.
The Blue Train
The Blue Train embarked on its first journey in the 1920s. Since then, the original train has been replaced with an updated, modernised version, but which still embodies the old school glamour of its predecessor. Passing by vineyards, mountains, valleys and forestland, the journey takes passengers from colourful Pretoria to oceanside Cape Town. Expect to spot the famous Victoria Falls and the Table Mountain on this route, as well as diamond mines and an array of wild animals. There are two cabin options to choose from: Deluxe or Luxury. Both options have en suite bathrooms, some with full sized bathtubs. In the evening, lounge around the train’s elegant Club Car, which serves a selection of cocktails and spirits. Dinner is a fancy affair, with passengers asked to dress up, before on board chefs serve up signature dishes. Think Knysna oysters and Karoo lamb, as well as an impressive cheese board.
The Maharajas’ Express
The Maharajas’ Express is one of just five luxury trains travelling across India. The week-long itinerary allows for plenty of opportunities to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage, with visits to some of India’s most loved sights, including the Taj Mahal, Khajuraho Temples and the Ganges. After a day of sightseeing, enjoy an Indian-inspired menu for dinner, accompanied by free flowing champagne. Sleeper cabins are named after precious Indian gems, while interiors reflect the train’s heritage, with plush red carpets and golden finishes. There are four bedroom options on board, ranging from the smart Deluxe cabin to the plush Presidential suite, which takes up a whole carriage and has two interconnecting bedrooms. Expect exceptional first-class service on this sleeper, with staff on hand to treat passengers like the royalty the train is named after.
The Andean Explorer
Having launched in 2018, the Andean is the first luxury sleeper train in South America. An adventure holiday with a twist, this sleeper travels through the Peruvian highlands, stopping off at Arequipa, Puno and Cusco. Pick either a bunk, twin cabin or a suite, all of which feature stylish décor with colourful Peruvian touches, as well as extra comforts for the high-altitude journey. For added luxury, the Andean offers passengers exclusive treatments in the Picaflor Spa, such as the signature Adean ritual, as well as massages and facials. After a dinner of Peruvian delights, spend the evening in the Observation Car, lounge or library, where you can taste the Andean’s collection of some of South America’s best wines, all while gazing out at the mountain ranges and crystal clear lakes.
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
Travelling across Russia, The Trans-Siberian Express journey starts in the country’s capital, Moscow. Covering 11,000km over two weeks, look out for sights including the iconic Urals and infamous Eurasian steppe, the largest temperate grassland in the world. All cabins have en suite bathrooms, with Silver level cabins consisting of either a bunk or small double, while the Gold and Imperial suites have larger doubles and a sitting area, with the option of in-room dining. Staff often host evening entertainment in the Lounge Car, including Russian language lessons and expert lectures on local history and culture. While breakfast is a buffet affair, expect a menu brimming with Russian specialities for lunch and dinner, including black sturgeon and red pacific salmon caviar. With a plethora of luxurious touches, the Trans-Siberian Express will ensure you travel across multiple time zones in style.
The California Zephyr
For a North American trip like no other, take a ride on the California Zephyr, where you’ll climb through rocky mountains, travel past the snowy Sierra Nevada mountain range, and pass by Californian city landscapes. At the start of the journey, make sure you get a seat in the Sightseer lounge, the perfect spot for taking in the varying North American landscape. There are four accommodation options to choose from, all featuring a sleek, modern design that is simple yet stylish. Private en suite bathrooms accompany all cabins, too, as does a turndown service and room service option. There are both formal and informal dining options available, with wine pairing suggestions included on the menu. The California Zephyr runs daily, leaving from Chicago and arriving two days later in San Francisco – an ideal start to any tour of the USA.
The Royal Scotsman
The Royal Scotsman explores multiple routes across the Scottish Highlands, ranging from long weekend trips to week long tours. Unlike other sleepers, this train doesn’t feature high berths or bunks. Instead, a twin, single or double bed occupies each room, along with mahogany, tweed and wool details. The kitchen is run by chef Mark Tamburrinin, who previously worked in London’s Michelin-starred L’Escargot, with menu highlights including wild salmon, scottish mussels, and kedgeree. When it comes to tasting Scottish whiskies, set yourself up in the Observation Car, with its stunning panoramic views and open air deck. This is also the home of the sleeper’s evening entertainment, where passengers can experience a traditional Ceilidh. For an added slice of luxury, the Royal Scotsman is home to two on board treatment rooms, created in partnership with Daylesford’s Bamford Spa, providing passengers with everything they need to relax.
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