Belmond is one of the best-respected travel companies in the world. From five-star hotels and restaurants to high-end river cruises, safaris, and sleeper trains, the company offers some of the most luxurious travel experiences available today. Today, I want to focus on Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Running from London to Venice, Paris to Berlin, or Paris to Istanbul, the beautifully-restored vintage train delivers an unrivaled historic travel experience.
1977, Belmond’s founder purchased two vintage train carriages at an auction in Monte Carlo. Here’s what he did with them:
“Recognizing a renewed appetite for sophisticated travel, he searched far and wide to unearth stately rail relics in private gardens, museums and railway sidings. Cars from famous vintage trains, including Le Train Bleu and the Rome Express, deserved a noble return to service, but required a specialized level of craftsmanship to be restored. Luckily a handful of artisans were found for the task, and they began the painstaking process of returning the carriages to their former glory. Following years of careful restoration, the iconic midnight-blue cars finally rolled onto the rails in 1982, ready to escort guests in peerless luxury on a classic journey.”– About the Venice Simplon Orient Express
The train is made up of restored sleeping cars from the 1920s and ’30s, three dining cars, a stylish bar car, and a boutique car. The baby grand piano in the bar car is played by the train’s resident pianist whenever the bar is open. Passenger accommodations include single and twin cabins, as well as suites. While the passengers have their dinner in one of the dining cards, their cabins are transformed by staff from sitting rooms to sleeping rooms. The cabins are then converted back to sitting rooms when the residents go to breakfast. The pictures both of the train and of the scenery through which it passes are astounding.
And in case all this isn’t enough to tempt you (and me), the company is offering a special one- or two-night trips they are calling “The Party.” The experience kicks off with a 1920’s speak easy party “to rival any Jay Gatsby could have thrown.” Guests are encouraged to dress in 1920s period costume to give the trip an extra authentic feel. The experience will include entertainment along the way, with surprise performances both on and off the train.