There was a time when a train ride across Europe aboard the Orient Express could be considered the pinnacle of luxury travel. Unfortunately, those days ended more than 10 years ago when bullet trains became more popular and airfares got cheaper.
If you’re a fan of so-called “luxury rail travel,” here’s some good news: the Orient Express is slated to return in 2023.
As part of the new initiative, known as Orient Express La Dolce Vita, six trains will operate on routes in 14 regions, including three international destinations from Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split, Croatia. One of those itineraries will even include a stop in Rome so guests can stay at the Orient Express Hotel, which is slated to open in 2024.
The initiative is the result of a collaboration between real estate investment firm Arsenale SpA and Orient Express of the Accor Group.
“We consider it a great privilege to re-launch the historic Orient Express brand for passionate and discerning travelers,” says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor. said in a statement. “These trains offer a new vision of luxury travel that is beyond our imagination.”
A historical past
The original Orient Express was launched in 1883 by the entrepreneur Georges Nagelmackers. It originally offered a twice-weekly service that began in Paris and then meandered through Strasbourg, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest before ending in Varna on the Black Sea The guard told. Then a steamer carried travelers across the Black Sea to Istanbul.
Thanks to well-known books and films, the luxury train also became a cultural icon. In 1929, for example, the Orient Express was stuck in the snow near Istanbul for several days, which served as the inspiration for Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express.
You may also remember that the Orient Express played a prominent role in Ian Fleming’s novel and film of the same name. Greetings from Russia. Even James Bond was traveling on the Orient Express with Russian employee Tatiana Romanova when they were fleeing agents of the international criminal organization SPECTER.
A triumphant return
The original Orient Express was discontinued in 2009. In 2023, however, the new Orient Express will operate in 14 regions in Italy and go to Paris, Istanbul and Split. Although the exact routes of the trains have not yet been confirmed, journeys are expected to take between 1 and 3 days and accommodate around 60 passengers.
The trains will cross approximately 10,000 miles of railroad lines, 4,400 of which are non-electrified and are historic lines. On the way, depending on the route, passengers can see alpine mountains, sandy beaches in the south and metropolises such as Milan, Florence and Venice.
The highlight of any trip can be the train itself. The concept for the new La Dolce Vita trains on the Orient Express “pays homage to ‘La Dolce Vita’, a historical epoch of glamor, joie de vivre and artistic zeal in Italy in the 1960s”, Accor Group explained.
The architecture and design studio Dimorestudio designed the trains to “embody the Italian art of living and all its beautiful traditions” combined with a contemporary spirit. Each train will include 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites and one honor suite, as well as a restaurant.
The train service will also work with local and international chefs and sommeliers to provide five-star service to travelers so they can “enjoy the beauty and excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ through award-winning Italian wines and exclusive haute cuisine”. Company explained. In addition, travelers are greeted in the Orient Express Executive Lounge prior to departure so they can relax and enjoy refreshments.
“The original train route was innovative in that it paradoxically brought cultures together – the West with the Orient, history with the modern,” said Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles and Orient Express, Accor. “We want to revive this old world, the awe-inspiring ‘Journey to Another’ ‘and reconcile certain paradoxes: a journey and a destination, astonishment and inspiration, movement and contemplation.”
Start dreaming now
Unfortunately it is not yet possible to book accommodation on the trains of the Orient Express La Dolce Vita. The exact routes have not yet been determined, but most will start in Italy before traveling across Europe.
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