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Is this really the ultimate time travel experience? Step aboard luxury trains and journey back to the opulent old world! Trains, once the epitome of luxury travel, are making a comeback in a big way. From the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to other opulent trains around the world, travelers are seeking out these glamorous experiences that transport them back in time.
One such traveler is Natalie Belden, a pharmaceutical sales representative from Washington, D.C. who recently celebrated her 25th birthday with a trip to Paris. But when she stumbled upon an opening on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for the day after her birthday, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Despite only being able to book the smallest room category, the experience exceeded her expectations. She described stepping onboard the train as entering a movie, with cocktails and Champagne adding to the glamorous atmosphere. The attention to detail in service and food was unparalleled, leaving Belden feeling like there was nothing else like it.
In the United States, train travel is often seen as a last resort option compared to driving or flying. However, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, luxury train travel is becoming increasingly popular among affluent American tourists. These travelers are drawn to the slow pace, old-world charm, and luxurious appointments that are synonymous with elite experiences.
Leading the way in Europe are Belmond and Accor, two luxury travel operators that both use the Orient Express brand name. The nostalgia for the famous route from Paris to Istanbul, immortalized in Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” has played a major role in the longevity of this brand. Today, these trains aim to recreate the golden age of travel with their lavish interiors and attention to detail. Each train is a work of art, with marquetry, lacquer, and crystal adding to the ambiance.
Belmond, in particular, has dominated the luxury train market in Europe for the past 40 years with its Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The company has been adding new cabins to meet the growing demand, including the introduction of Grand Suites themed after European capitals. These suites come with underfloor heating, private dining, free-flowing Champagne, and chauffeured transfers. The design and craftsmanship in these suites are truly remarkable, making the train experience feel like a time capsule.
Accor, on the other hand, has recently acquired the rights to operate trains under the Orient Express name and is expanding the brand beyond just rail travel. The company plans to launch two Orient Express trains, one in Italy called La Dolce Vita and another simply called Orient Express. These trains will feature refurbished vintage rail cars with contemporary design elements. Accor will also open Orient Express hotels in the cities served by their trains, providing a complete luxury experience.
The trend of luxury train travel is not limited to Europe. In India, the Maharajas’ Express takes tourists on a journey through the historic cities of Northern India. In Australia, the Ghan travels through the desert landscape between Adelaide and Darwin. And in South Africa, Rovos Rail offers a luxury train experience that is highly sought after.
The appeal of luxury train travel lies in its ability to transport travelers to a different time and place. These trains offer an escape from the fast-paced, technologically-driven world we live in, allowing passengers to slow down and enjoy the journey. Whether it’s the opulence of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express or the nostalgia of the Royal Scotsman in Scotland, luxury train travel offers a unique and unforgettable experience.
So, if you’re looking for the ultimate time travel experience, step aboard one of these luxurious trains and journey back to the opulent old world. Indulge in the glamour, the exquisite service, and the sense of adventure that can only be found on a luxury train.

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By Maya Di Maria

Hello, I'm Maya, a 39-year-old Travel Agent. I specialize in creating unforgettable travel experiences for my clients. With my expertise and attention to detail, I ensure that every trip is tailored to meet their unique needs and preferences. Let's turn your travel dreams into reality!