Travel The World In Luxury On The World's Most Luxurious Trains
On Rich Report's list of opulent journeys, you can explore Europe, Asia, and North America by rail.
Train journeys are well deservedly romantic: They let you immerse yourself in the surrounding scenery while adding an old-world touch to every languid moment. Those that go beyond just getting from one place to another, where the ride itself is an experience, are the most enjoyable: "To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers-in fact, to see life," wrote Agatha Christie. Whether traveling across Europe on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express or traveling through Vietnam on the Vietage, these eight storied trains promise a journey unlike any other.
There are a variety of journeys that will take travelers across the African continent's most beautiful landscapes, from Durban, South Africa, to Namibia to the recently added Copper Trail travelling through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. A sophisticated backdrop for world-class cuisine paired with some of South Africa's best wines, served on fine china and glassware with crisp linens and silver, is set in vintage wood-paneled coaches with panoramic windows and plush textiles. An open-air observation car allows you to immerse yourself in the scenery.
In 2020, Anantara Hotels launched a luxe rail service linking Da Nang, near Hoi An, and Quy Nhon, connecting two of the resorts' five-star properties, Anantara Hoi An Resort and Anantara Quy Nhon Villas. The route travels through the rolling hills of Vietnamese countryside. Six-hour journeys with 12 seats feature a sleek, modern interior with picture windows and comfortable seats. A bar offers craft beers, wine, snacks, and with Anantara's wellness pedigree, there's a dedicated spa where guests can get 30-minute treatments for their shoulders and heads. In case that isn't enough to keep you occupied, every trip includes a special three-course meal of Vietnamese fare with French accents, such as foie gras terrine with Phu Quoc pepper, braised Wagyu neck with sesame jus, and crème brûlée.
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train
With rich wood marquetry panels and designs by artists of the Art Deco movement, Belmond restored this historic train to its 1920s splendor. The spectacular Grand Suites can stand up to any luxury hotel room thanks to marble en-suite bathrooms, 24-hour butler service, and complimentary Champagne. However, if you can pull yourself away from your cabin, you'll find piano entertainment, craft cocktails, lobster rolls, truffle club sandwiches, and extravagant meals prepared according to your specific wishes. The continent can be explored by one-night trips between Paris and Budapest, Venice and Amsterdam, or longer journeys between Paris and Istanbul, stopping in Budapest and Bucharest along the way.
On the Rocky Mountaineer, the views are everything. Gold Leaf's glass-dome coaches provide passengers with the best views of the breathtaking mountain scenery; the dining car and upper level of the dome can be seen from the outdoor viewing platforms as well. On Gold Leaf trains, there are no sleeping cars, but you can combine a ride with packages that include hotel stays along the way. They offer gourmet breakfasts, lunches, and complimentary beverages and snacks. Itineraries through the western Canadian Rockies are not the only routes Rocky Mountaineer offers in the U.S. With its new route between Moab, Utah, and Denver, it adds its first trip through the U.S.
In this train, there are just 20 seats in 10 suites, and securing a cabin requires an exercise in patience thanks to a lottery system. As soon as passengers board, however, they are greeted by extravagant cabins with wood panels, sumptuous fabrics, and hand-painted sink basins. Passengers can enjoy live music in the evenings on the Blue Moon lounge car which has a coffered ceiling, panoramic views, and comfortable sofas, while in the Jupiter dining car, seasonal ingredients are cooked to perfection with a focus on the countryside and seas of Kyushu—but be sure to check out the separate tea room. A traditional Japanese ryokan stay and a number of local excursions are also included in a one- or three-night itinerary.
Andean Explorer, A Belmond Train
The first luxury train in South America soars over the world's highest rail network in Peru over several one- or two-night trips. With its elegant design, the 16 carriages are reminiscent of its surroundings, transporting guests from Cusco and Lake Titicaca to Arequipa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike most luxury trains' vintage-inspired décor, these carriages are made from rich leathers and Alpaca wools in vibrant colors and Incan patterns — evoking the beauty of the Andes. There are also two dining cars, a spa, and a lounge car in addition to the 35 cabins on board.
Discover Australia's remote lands from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south aboard this legendary luxury train, which makes the three- to four-day trek through some of Australia's most remote regions. A stylishly appointed and spacious modern cabin, panoramic windows, and access to the exclusive Platinum Club make the Platinum service a smooth ride.
Indian Splendour, Heritage of India, and Indian Panorama are India's most acclaimed luxury trains, while the Treasures of India tour is one of its most popular four-day trips. There is a tiger tracking excursion in Ranthambore National Park and a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra among the highlights. With plush beds in lavishly decorated cabins and butler service, passengers won't have to sacrifice any luxuries onboard. Two restaurants serve Indian and international cuisine beneath hand-painted ceilings, along with a lounge car with cocktails, books and board games.