Forget crowded commuter services and cramped carriages – step back to the golden age of train travel with a seriously luxe rail journey. Keep it close to home with a trip on the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, or add an exotic adventure to your Far East itinerary with the Eastern & Oriental Express. Not sure what these journeys are all about? We’ve got five reasons you should add one to your next holiday…
The opportunity to add another destination
You could just do your rail journey on its own, but where’s the fun in that? The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a great way to kick off an Italian adventure. Once you’re in Venice, spend a few days exploring the canals and palazzos, then head to Verona and the Lakes, or work your way south to the powerhouse cities of Florence and Rome.
Our most popular Eastern & Oriental Express route travels between Singapore and Bangkok, so you’ve immediately got two fantastic city-break destinations to add to your holiday. From Bangkok, you’ve got the beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui in easy reach; from Singapore, Bali is a short hop away.
The ever-changing scenery
Everyone loves a fabulous view from their room – and one of the biggest perks of travelling by train is the fact that yours changes non-stop. Going from Singapore to Bangkok, you’ll pass palm groves, tea plantations and temples, while the London to Venice service gives you rolling French countryside and sunrises over the snow-capped Swiss mountains.
The second-to-none service
Service on board these luxe trains is impeccable. Immaculately dressed stewards will welcome you on board and show you to your cabin; they’ll also discreetly convert your cabin from sleeping to seating arrangement (and back again) each day, and bring you breakfast and afternoon tea.
Then you’ve got the skilled chefs (see below for more about the delicious dishes they create), the bartenders mixing you the perfect G&T (or pouring your preferred Champagne), the on-board pianists serenading you while you sip said G&T…
The excuse to dress up
Elegant, vintage-style trains mean elegant, vintage-style clothes are in order. Need some inspiration? The upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express looks set to be a visual feast of silk dresses, white tie and fabulous tailored twinsets.
On the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the dress code is all about glamorous eveningwear (think floor-length dresses and sharp suits) and chic daywear (strictly no jeans allowed), so it’s the perfect opportunity to bring out your Sunday best. Lots of guests channel the 1920s heritage in their outfits, too, with beaded flapper dresses and long strings of pearls.
On the Eastern & Oriental Express things are a tad more relaxed given the tropical temperatures, but you’ll still be expected to look dapper. Ditch the shorts and flip flops for breezy linens, smart chinos and crisp cotton shirts.
The ‘I can’t believe this was made in such a tiny kitchen’ cuisine
You’ll be amazed at what the chefs can whip up in their teeny tiny train kitchens. There are no soggy sandwiches or microwave meals here – on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, you can expect lobster brunches and gourmet dinners, with everything made using fresh produce picked up along the journey.
On board the Eastern & Oriental Express, meanwhile, dishes combine Eastern and Western flavours (think hoisin-roasted mackerel with a cucumber coulis, and Asian citrus fruit with yuzu sorbet and coconut cream) and are all beautifully presented.