LOOKING AT ALTERNATES TO AIR TRAVEL? HERE ARE FIVE OF THE WORLD’S MORE MEMORABLE LUXURY TRAIN EXPERIENCES. By Serena Marotta
Pride of Africa
The Pride of Africa by Rovos Rail is arguably the world’s most luxurious train travel experience. Combining luxury and old world elegance, the train boasts fabulous equipment, five-star dining, and unparalleled, discreet service. Rivaling most luxury hotels, it combines the largest suites in rail travel today with timeless grace. Guests have their choice of eight different safaris across South Africa. A champagne reception is provided for all departures, and the owner of the train endeavours to meet and greet all guests upon arrival and departure — an exciting and personalized experience like no other.
Belmond Royal Scotsman (Scotland, England, Wales)
Guests are immersed in history, nature and romance from the moment the Belmond Royal Scotsman begins its unique journey through the Scottish Highlands. Considered a “country house on wheels,” and serving no more than 36 guests at a time, this intimate experience is illuminated by each private cabin’s Edwardian air of elegant luxury. The train boasts two stellar restaurants, and offers over 50 whiskeys. Activities include clay pigeon shooting, and tours of local castles and grand country estates. For whisky and golf aficionados, the journey may be tailored, promising both an exhilarating and truly unforgettable experience.
Eastern & Oriental Express (Southeast Asia)
The warm elegance aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express makes this Asia’s most luxurious rail experience. Guests can choose from four elegant, private cabins on journeys from Singapore to Bangkok. Boasting three glamorous restaurant cars (two on each journey) and a piano bar open all night, the atmosphere and discreet service urges guests to relax and indulge. Inclusive tours feature a stay at a Belmond hotel, but you’ll hardly want to leave. However, if you do, expert guides will lead you through the region’s intoxicating culture.
Golden Eagle Danube Express
A world leader in exclusive luxury rail tours, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains is a name to be trusted. The newly enhanced Danube Express gives travelers the flexibility of a longer traveling season, with romantic voyages in first class facilities through some of Europe’s less explored destinations. Attentive personal cabin attendants allow guests to completely relax while enjoying diverse touring options. Fine dining can be enjoyed both on the train and locally. With fewer than 50 guests on board, a special Gala Caviar dinner, live music and even an onboard doctor, the “hotel on wheels” has certainly earned its name.
The Blue Train
The Blue Train was recently voted Africa’s Leading Luxury train in 2014 for the sixth consecutive year at the World Travel Awards, and it’s easy to see why. The all inclusive luxury train takes guests between Cape Town and Pretoria, maintaining charm and romance in its five-star accommodations. Enjoy South Africa’s most spectacular scenery with 24-hour butler service, private lounges with en suite bathrooms, and elegant dining featuring award-winning South African wines. Guests even get a free night at a five-star partner hotel at either destination, before or after the journey.