All Aboard: Luxurious Rail Experiences Worldwide

Photo courtesy of Belmond

Train travel was once the height of luxury but to many it now feels like an outdated mode of transport. With modern travellers looking to reach their destination quicker than ever, perhaps it’s time to sit back and enjoy the journey. This week in The Edit we explore some of our favourite luxury train travel experiences around the world.


Photo courtesy of Belmond

Southeast Asia

Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express captures the historic glamour associated with early 1900s train travel, as it truly serves a romantic, old-world train journey through Southeast Asia. The interiors are elegant and take influence from the cultures around them, with subtle Asian influences throughout. With a saloon car, bar car with live music and a teakwood observation car, the train’s signature style continues throughout. Stripped of access to modern day technology, guests can enjoy the simple pleasures of watching the mountainous terrain of Southeast Asia fly by whilst sipping on a cocktail and listening to live piano music.


Photo courtesy of East Japan Railway


East Japan Railway’s Suite Train Shiki-Shima offers patrons a prime view of Japan’s rich, stunning natural scenery, the local industries of each region and the unique culture that permeates Japanese people’s everyday existences. Having launched in May 2017, Shiki-Shima debuted as the country’s most elite sleeper rail service available on the market. The ten-car train accommodates just thirty-four passengers in a mere seventeen suites. While onboard, guests enjoy the futuristic, yet simple exterior and interior design. Shiki Shima’s most unique feature is its rear and front glass-enclosed panoramic observation cars, offering exceptional views of the surrounding scenery. Guests can also enjoy the dining car which serves kaiseki-style menus by Japan’s first Michelin-starred chef, Katsuhiro Nakamura.


Photo courtesy of Belond


Arguably some of the most spectacular and unique scenery in Britain, patrons of the Belmond Royal Scotsman travel through the stunning mountainous regions of Scotland and are treated to truly breath-taking views throughout the journey. The train’s décor and architecture only further enhances the magic of the surrounding environment. For those individuals who seek a more social setting, the train boasts an observation car, which serves as the perfect setting to enjoy an aperitif or after-dinner drink. The palpable Scottish charm extends into the hospitality as well; from the moment guests step aboard, the welcoming staff cater to every need and endeavors to immerse guests into the Scottish experience. Gentleman, if they chose, are encouraged to wear kilts to the formal dinners served on board.


Photo courtesy of Rovos Rail


Rovos Rail operates as Africa’s most luxurious and exclusive railroad liner, offering journeys in and through Cape Town, Durban, Victoria Falls, Namibia and Dar es Salaam. Rovos Rail additionally offers specialized tours in golf, animal safaris and even private hires to create a unique travel experience through the beautiful, rugged continent of Africa. The train itself accommodates up to seventy-two passengers across its superbly appointed suites with en-suite bathrooms. With discreet and friendly service, five-star cuisine and a selection of South Africa’s finest wines, Rovos Rail harks back to a simpler, more elegant era encompassing the timeless grace and high romance of African exploration.


Photo courtesy of Belmond

Italy, France, United Kingdom

Step aboard Belmond’s truly classic, Art Deco Simplon Orient Express to enjoy luxury at its finest. While onboard both the décor and the route transport patrons to the past. In fact, the train’s route remains the same as it did in the early 1900s, running from London to Venice, and back, through the heart of Europe. Sporting seventeen cars, each decorated with an elegant hint of the Orient, the train also operates as one of the longest in all of Europe. With a truly magical atmosphere permeating the journey, guests can enjoy performances from a live jazz pianist whilst indulging in a glass of wine in the elegant bar car.


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