WHICH DAZZLES MORE, the list of famous faces who’ve ridden these carriages or those who’ve starred in films about the historic train? The inaugural Orient Express service launched on 4 October 1883. During its time, the train carried passengers including Tolstoy, Trotsky, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia and the spy Mata Hari. To the present day, movies about the service have starred Sean Connery (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1963), Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express, 2017), among others. And let’s not forget its crucial role in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The Venice Simplon-Orient Express is, quite simply, the most storied set of carriages in the world. It offers an experience that promises to take you not just across Europe but to transport you to another world entirely. With its polished wood, sumptuous upholstery and antique fixtures, the train epitomises the opulence and elegance of the Golden Age of travel.
Authenticity is everything here. The train comprises the original sleeping cars of the 1920s and 30s, along with three dining cars, an elegant bar car replete with baby grand piano and a boutique. Passengers may choose from a single or twin cabin, or stretch out in a suite.
There’s much to marvel at in the cabins’ ingenious design. A washbasin is concealed in a handsome wood cabinet. A plush daytime sofa is transformed into cosy upper and lower berth beds with crisp damask sheets by your cabin steward while you dine in the evening. The beds are then whisked away again after you’ve taken breakfast. This magically discreet service is all part of the experience.
Classic routes on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express take in such fabled European cities as London, Paris, Venice, Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. But this experience really is all about the journey. As you glide through lush, rolling countryside and majestic mountains, you’re encouraged to savour every moment.
Besides feasting your eyes, you’ll be deliciously indulged with our famed cuisine. Each dish is lovingly prepared by Executive Chef Christian Bodiguel, a true culinary master who has honed his craft on the train over three decades. He takes his inspiration from what’s seasonal and local, with ingredients picked from the destinations the train travels through.
On the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, evening dress for dinner is absolutely part of the experience. As the train moves into the inky night, the glittering art deco champagne bar. beckons. Be assured that whichever route you choose, you’ll be embarking on an adventure for the senses and the imagination—in which you take the starring role.
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