Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please! The Chic Train destination Extravagance will soon depart from track one, platform Design. Passengers are kindly asked to watch their manners and stuff their wallets!
Elegant trains with interiors reminiscent of the best luxurious hotels. We’ve all seen them in old photographs and historical movies about the Belle Époque and the interwar period where wealthy families would travel in compartments finished with expensive wood and top-quality fabrics. To compensate for the several-day itinerary, the journey was packed with soirees, gourmet dinners and parties. The most famous of these trains was, of course, the Orient Express, running from Paris to Constantinople (now Istanbul) since 1883 – it even served as the backdrop for one of Agatha Christie’s most gripping crime novels.
Over time, after the events of the twentieth century, trains oozing with over-the-top wealth became a bit too much and out of place in the post-war reality. The rich switched to other means of travel: fancy cars and airplanes. And so the train was soon to gain the status of a convenient, fast and accessible mode of transport. Nowadays, the first class of modern trains is usually a minimalist space with bright décor, Wi-Fi connection and – luckily – comfy seats with power outlets to charge our phone or laptop.
But since fashion, like history, likes to repeat itself, and sophisticated finishes and classy designs are again in vogue, so are trains dripping with luxury. The only difference is that people nowadays are looking for a unique adventure rather than just somewhere to relax on the beach – and is there anything more unique than traveling across the continent in the premium setting of a luxury train? Granted, this isn’t a trip for everyone. A six-day journey, the modern equivalent of the Orient Express, Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has fares ranging from GBP 15,000 all the way to 50,000, depending on the ticket class.
And there are more exclusive trains like that one: a restaurant onboard, a spa car, they have it all. Unique interiors and impeccable service complement the picturesque routes passing through the world’s most breathtaking regions. Take the Andean Explorer, which combines modern design, exotic atmosphere and a long list of amenities; if we’re looking for a luxurious, three-day journey deep into the Andes, that’s certainly one way to do it. Then there’s the Revos Rail, often compared to a five-star hotel on rails, offering a two-week trip through jaw-dropping African landscapes. The fare of this last one? USD 16,500, but who’s counting!
So how are we feeling? Packed and ready for the adventure of our lifetime? If, for some reason, you’re too busy or simply don’t feel like traveling the world onboard luxurious trains, you may at least want to consider popping the 2017 move adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. It’s better than nothing and you don’t have to be there waiting on the platform!
transl. Jakub Majchrzak