A train journey spread over days, or even weeks, evokes a special sense of adventure, especially if you are getting pampered in a private cabin equipped with the most luxurious amenities you can dream of.
Long haul luxury rail travel has made a resurgence in recent years, that there have never been so many competitors, falling over each other, in an effort to woo a guest to come aboard and experience their many exotic and scenic routes. So if an ultimate holiday is on your mind, here are some of the most luxurious trains in the world in which you can travel like a maharaja.
THE MAHARAJA EXPRESS (A MANSION ON THE MOVE), INDIA
At $ 23,700 per person (in the Presidential Suite) for a 7day/6 nights trip, a journey on the Maharajas Express is said to be the ultimate combination of opulence infused with a lot of charming culture. This super luxury train attends to every possible need of the guest and gives them a feel of royalty during every single day they spend, whether it is on and off the running wheels. This multiple award winning train takes 88 passengers at a time across the heart of India, from New Delhi to Mumbai. Stops enroute allow the guests to get a glimpse of the hidden riches of India, with fantastic options to view a Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild, or make offerings to the holiest of Indian rivers, the Mother Ganges during a glittering nighttime ritual that is a cynosure of all eyes.
GOLDEN EAGLE LUXURY TRAIN, RUSSIA(ELEGANCE ON WHEELS)
Russia's premier luxury train, the Golden Eagle was the brainchild of UK based GW Travel, who were considered to be pioneers in developing rail tourism in Russia since 1989 when the idea of taking a private train journey was unheard of. Today the latest Golden Eagle, launched in 2007, offers some of the most upscale service in each of its deluxe en-suite sleeping cars, and is said to be the flagship train of the company. You can book it as part of your Tailor Made rail holidays package.
Every luxury rail journey itinerary onboard the Golden Eagle is carefully planned so that the guest travels in a relaxed and informal manner throughout the entire voyage. Once you set foot on this seven star hotel on wheels, you can only expect the best hospitality in some of the most elegant of all surroundings, supplemented by the presence of a round the clock personal valet service. There are three categories of cabins available namely, the Imperial suite, Gold Class and Silver Class. A classic fifteen days on the Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express, costs roughly $20,000 including flights, if traveling from the UK.
BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER, PERU(TRACK THE CONDOR)
The Belmond Andean Explorer, is the first luxury sleeper train of its kind operating in South America, over some of the highest rail routes in the world. The train can take up to 48 guests per trip in a range of accommodation consisting of Deluxe, Junior, Twin Bed to Bunk Bed Cabins. The interiors are inspired by Peru's special Alpaca wool, thereby instilling an atmosphere of calm and relaxation. Two dining cars, a lounge car, an observation deck and a spa are on hand to pamper the travelers.
The breathtaking journey takes the lucky few across the scenic Peruvian Highlands from the ancient Inca empire capital of Cusco to Lake Titicaca and onward to the volcanic 'White City' of Arequipa on a three day two night trip. During this epic journey across the high plains of the Andes, the train touches a staggering elevation of 4,800 m in pristine condor habitat. Needless to say, oxygen supply is adequately available in all the cabins. The train runs every Thursday through Saturday, round the year, except in February and costs $ 4180 per person in the Super Deluxe Cabin.
EASTERN AND ORIENTAL EXPRESS, THAILAND (EXPERIENCE SOUTHEAST ASIA IN STYLE)
The Eastern Oriental Express made history as the first luxury train to transport travelers from Singapore to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur. The train follows the success of its more reputed partner, the famous Venice Simplon Orient Express and enjoys the same popularity too. The fully air-conditioned train has all the frills of a five star hotel, with guests having the choice to choose from a variety of accommodations ranging from the super deluxe to staterooms.
There are three dining cars, an observation and lounge car, a saloon car and a piano bar car situated at the centre of the train where are all the social gatherings take place. The journey lasts for two nights and three days and tariff varies from $7350 for the presidential suite to $3100 for every passenger in the Pullman coach.
VENICE SIMPLON ORIENT EXPRESS, LONDON ( ROMANCE AND LUXURY COMBINED)
World class on board service, excellent food, vintage coaches and experiences which won't leave you disappointed, makes travel on the Venice Simplon Orient Express worth it at least once in a lifetime, provided you can afford it. This beautifully restored private train runs between London, Paris, Verona and Venice, once a week from November to March. The train runs occasionally to Rome, Budapest and other destinations like Istanbul as well in August.
The price tag for a 24 hour train ride may seem high, but the trip exceeds the expectations of every passenger. The food is plentiful and the scenery stunning and service top class. The British Pullman runs from London to Folkestone, then after crossing the channel the VSOE Continental takes over from Calais to Venice. The one way cost per person from London to Venice is about $ 3000 and return from Venice to London about $ 2800.
THE BLUE TRAIN, SOUTH AFRICA (SEE THE CONTINENT FROM NORTH TO SOUTH)
The Blue Train travels across South Africa linking the vast South with the North on an epic rail journey over untamed territory. The journey begins from Cape Town to Pretoria and further north to culminate at the awesome Victoria Falls. The 1600 km trip covers some of the most spectacular and diverse landscape to be found in the African sub-continent. Not only can you travel on the Blue Train as a regular passenger, but can travel on the train for weddings, birthdays, honeymoons or any memorable event.
The only luxury train with a fully equipped conference coach that can hold 22 guests is great for holding corporate events. The train can be chartered to travel on custom made trips, or even cross border journeys lasting from a few nights to several days. One way journey rates are around Rand 32,000 per person in the luxury cabins.
Luxury trains are designed for comfort and to impart a unique travel experience. This premier travel option has become popular in several countries across the world, and allow passengers to witness the local environment which otherwise would not be possible by any other mode of transport.