Slow travel is set to see a renaissance once we’re free to roam again, as we seek to travel longer, more leisurely, without compromising on an ounce of quality. If there’s one such trip that ticks all the boxes – with the finest Swiss fountain pen, we assume – it’s a journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Read on to found out more about literacy’s most esteemed locomotive.
As any avid cruiser will confirm, luxury travel is as much about the journey as it is the destination. The popularity of air travel almost saw the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express disappear, however romance and mystery won out, with a 1982 renaissance leading the way for classic five-star travel evocative of eras past.
The opulence and sophistication of the 1920’s sleeper train aren’t exaggerated in Murder on the Orient Express. In fact, the reality of a journey aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is even more luxurious than the fiction.
White uniformed attendants wait on the platform to welcome you to the antique train. Their service is impeccable as they lead you to the passenger carriages at the end of the train, all glossy wood panelling and plush upholstery. You will admire the passing scenery from banquette seating here during the day, your steward transforming the space into your sleeping quarters while you dine on Brittany lobster and salt marsh lamb later that night. There are single, twin and cabin suites available, while 2018 also saw the launch of stately Grand Suites, an impossibly opulent addition to the accommodation.
With your overnight bag safely stowed in your cabin, you’re free to make your way along the Art Deco carriages, past polished panels and gleaming Lalique glass, to the Champagne Bar. Vintages including Taittinger, Laurent Perrier Rosé and Louis Roederer Cristal offer a toast to the most glamorous train ride in the world.
In the Piano Bar, the tinkling keys play as the train departs the station. Your Venice Simplon-Orient-Express journey can start your cruise holiday in sophisticated style or be the most indulgent way to arrive home, depending which package you choose. Along the way, you’ll travel through the village of eastern France and the cities of Italy, and enjoy brunch or lunch with the Austrian Alps in the background. You’ll have a chance to stretch your legs, of course, causing a scene as the most storied carriages in history roll into medieval Austrian and German towns and cities.
Evenings on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are the kind we’re all craving after a year or more spend in our cosies, tables dressed in crisp white linen and laid with gleaming silver. The dress code at dinner is utterly glamorous, sharp suits and full-length frocks befitting of the elegant surroundings in three dining cars; jeans just don’t cut it.
After two days, you’ll arrive at your terminus having experienced one of travel’s most iconic trips on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, albeit minus the presence of the moustached special detective Hercule Poirot.
Find out more about our Venice Simplon-Orient-Express cruise and stay package here.