Luxury train travel bookable for 2022

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THEIf you think grim subways and government-run trains are the only form of train travel, here’s some compelling evidence of the most dreamy form of transportation your vacation money can buy – a look at luxury train travel. essentials around the world.

Beware, however: the mere mention of overnight train journeys can elicit a blissful silence from some travelers as they get lost in thoughts of exotic destinations, romantic dorms, and great meals served in cars. -restaurants in white canvas.

Shiki-Shima Suite Train, Japan

Book now: From $ 3,320 for one night package

Although Japan is best known for its high-speed trains, the country’s national railway, JR Group, operates a series of specialized tourist trains collectively called the Joyful Trains. Among the offers are Pokemon Themed Cars and train lines with cars for foot baths, those dedicated to gastronomy, or featuring an astronomy library. The crowning glory of the Joyful Trains is the ultra-modern and ultra-luxury Train Suite Shiki-Shima. The Shiki-Shima (meaning “Island of the Four Seasons”) crosses eastern Japan from Tokyo, visiting sites of Japanese cultural significance (villages, museums, temples, markets, restaurants and iconic natural sites) along its three night excursions.

The walls of the observation cars (called terraces) at the front and rear of the train are cut in abstract patterns leaving windows that stretch almost from the hand-woven carpet to the curved molding of the ceiling. The 15 dorms on board vary from elegantly simple accommodation with en-suite bathrooms to two-level lacquered wood and washi-paper suites with cypress-lined tubs, traditional tatami flooring and working fireplaces.

As expected on such a lavish train, the dining car offers extraordinary seasonal meals prepared by a team of chefs, who run the entire trip; In addition, guest chefs board the train to prepare special regional dishes visited along the route. This upscale and sophisticated hospitality features a crew wearing stylish designed uniformsd by Issey Miyake’s former creative director.

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

Book now: Ffrom $ 4,761 for a night from Venice to London

The legendary Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express hardly needs to be introduced to travel enthusiasts: its gleaming paneled interiors, dining tables topped with crisp linens, silver and crystal, and extravagant dormitory comforts symbolize a time when travel was sophisticated and where passengers came first.

The train, made up of vintage cars from the 1920s and 1930s refitted with modern equipment, offers regular routes that visit European destinations. And once a year, a trip makes a deliberately slow five-night transit between Paris and Istanbul. Seats for these classic tracks sell out quickly, and Belmond has sweetened the ride even further by adding six Grand Suites, each named after a legendary city and decorated in an art deco tribute to that city.

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The large suites have a private bathroom, double beds and underfloor heating in the living room. When you factor in a private flight attendant (in a stylish uniform with shiny buttons) and free champagne on demand, honestly, this train wouldn’t even have to leave the platform to be considered a trip of a lifetime. . The other accommodation classes, while less exaggerated, still offer details of design and comfort that elevate a sleeper car to something like a dream state. This icon from the golden age of travel shows no signs of tarnishing.

Alaska Railroad, United States

Book now: From $ 6,409 for 12 days / 11 nights Glaciers, Rails and Trails Package

The Alaska Railroad offers a way to see the state’s natural beauty, from killer whales sneaking into icy bays to majestic Denali, without the need to travel or travel by cruise ship. One of the railroad’s summer offerings, the 11-night Glaciers, Rails and Trails package, traverses spectacular corners of this vast state, making multiple stops a day and lingering for more than a day in Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park. . Upon exiting the train, passengers tour museums and sled dog training facilities, take part in a float descent on a glacial river, and take guided hikes. On board the train, passengers see the view from a two-story observation car: a glass dome-shaped level at the top (with beverage service) and a full-service dining car below. At night, the train stops at lodges and hotels surrounded by nature and in the hinterland so that you get a sound sleep before the next day’s activities and get a better feel for each location.

Maharajas Express, India

Book now: From $ 3,850 for four days / three nights Treasures of India wrap

The 23 carriages of these luxury trains travel mostly at night, leaving passengers enough time during waking hours to disembark to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, go on game drives, and dine in beautiful hotels and palaces. . The price is of course the experience fit for a king, but a shorter trip, like the three-night Treasures of India package, is cheaper and no less glamorous. The itinerary includes excursions to iconic sites of the Golden Triangle – the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan (the tigers!), Amber Fort in Jaipur – as well as spa treatments and sumptuous meals. The train includes two restaurants, a bar car, and modern en suite rooms range from deluxe double cabins to presidential suites. India is a unique trip for many travelers, so a trip on a train like this would really provide that extra dollop of whipped cream on this experience.

Rocky Mountaineer, United States

Book now: From $ 1,619 for two days, one night Rockies to Red Rocks Package

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One of the very few downsides of traveling by train through spectacular scenery is that when the sun goes down you lose all sight. Instead, the windows only reveal the reflection of the bright interior of the train. A popular luxury train brand, the Rocky Mountaineer solves this tragic first-world problem by mapping its scenic routes to include overnight stops at beautiful hotels along the way. Historically, the Rocky Mountaineer only traveled on Canadian rails, following mountainous routes that ended in Vancouver and Jasper or Banff.

Starting in August 2021, however, the groundbreaking company launched a new two-day trip between Denver and Moab, Utah, stopping overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The luxury train, specially designed for landscape viewing, offers sweeping views of the Rockies (watch out for bighorn sheep in the high passes) and the sandy canyons and surreal rock formations of the Utah Desert. As you gaze out of the panoramic windows, the staff focus on serving you fine wines and freshly prepared meals (sorry in advance for fans of Amtrak’s pre-packaged tuna sandwiches). At Glenwood Springs, passengers disembark to spend the night at a choice of three different hotels before re-boarding in the morning to complete the journey in Moab. Extend your vacation by adding a few days at each end of the trip to spend time exploring Moab and / or Denver.

Rovos Rail, South Africa

Book now: From $ 1,621 / person for 3 days / 2 nights Durban Safari Package

Bush planes are fine, but traveling by luxury air-conditioned train on roads that zigzag the southern third of the vast African continent has a strong appeal for slow travel. The unhurried schedule means time is factored in to stop on sidings for wildlife viewing and in vineyards for wine tastings, or in reserves for game drives. Various Rovos routes follow the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley or traverse the red deserts of Namibia. Depending on what you choose (or what you create; the company will also plan tailor-made trips), your trip may include golf courses, stays in luxury lodges or safari camps, or excursions around the Victoria Falls. Packages start from a 2-night trips to 14-night adventures (including a Copper Trail trip, new for 2022, which crosses Zimbabwe, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola).

Not only are the trips exciting, but the train itself is quite dreamy – its vintage passenger cars have been salvaged, restored and upgraded with modern plumbing and air conditioning (but also working windows). In addition to the private suites, the train’s public spaces include an observation car with sofas and an open balcony platform, lounge and club cars, and a dining car. Polished wood paneling, padded leather chairs, bay windows create a visual style that evokes a travel era where people packed formal wear and hats for different occasions. While you may not really get a feel for the African life and cultures you pass through in this luxury locomotive, you will never forget the ride.

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