The term once in a lifetime has become rather cliché, especially when referring to travel destinations or experiences. But some of these experiences are truly exceptional and so unique that they’re truly worth the cost. Often, travelers splurge on a travel adventure to mark a major milestone or celebrate a special occasion. A train trip on the fabled Orient Express is indeed such an experience.
Agatha Christie’s book Murder on the Orient Express” and all of the subsequent movie and television versions have kept this train route in the forefront of the romantic imagination, even though the original Orient Express train died a slow death in the nineties.
The current version, the Belmond Venice-Simplon Orient Express has taken all the best that the original offered in the heyday of cross-continental train travel, and packaged it into an ultra-luxurious offering in restored vintage train cars that draw sold-out cabins despite the hefty price tag.
Sure, you could fly there in a few hours, or take an overnight high-speed train, but the experience of traveling from Venice to Paris on the Orient Express is really is all about the journey and not the destination.
This is also an opportunity to dust off your dressiest outfits and show them off again. While you may not be traveling with a ladies maid or valet to dress you, you will receive guidance on the expected dress code, especially for dinner. Cocktail dresses for women and suits for men are required at a minimum–gowns and tuxedos are highly recommended.
In keeping with this formal ambiance, meals are equally elaborate and probably worthy of at least one Michelin star. With three different restored period dining cars, each multi-course meal is a unique event. And if that were not enough, continental breakfast and afternoon tea are served in your cabin, where you can savor the delicacies as the scenic countryside rolls by. Make sure your pants have an elastic waistband; you’ll need it.
All this comes with the personal attention of your own steward who manages to be both unobtrusive and attentive at the same time. Every need, even ones you did not know you had, are easily addressed so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
For a few brief days, you can be pampered and pretend to be the movie star or royalty who traveled in such style in the early part of the last century. Everyone should get to experience the ultimate royal treatment at least once in their life, and an Orient Express experience does just that.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- You’ll enjoy decadent food and attentive service while traveling through Europe’s scenic countryside.
- The compartments are all in beautifully restored vintage train cars. During the day, they are configured for comfortable sitting. At night, the seats are converted into beds with luxurious linens.
- This one of a kind train experience isn’t replicated anywhere else.
- Cabins fill up quickly so it’s prudent to reserve well in advance.
- The compartments do not have bathrooms, just sinks for quick wash ups. Very nice toilets are located at the end of each car.
- There is a (highly) recommended dress code. Since you can only take a small bag into the compartment, you will want to plan and organize your clothes and luggage accordingly.
Be sure to get the whole scoop on traveling from Venice to Paris on the Orient Express on Rosemarie’s blog, Quiltripping.com:
Information from Belmond about the trip from Paris to Venice on the Orient Express.
All photo credits: Rose Palmer
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