This Is Your Darjeeling Limited Moment
First-class flying has officially gone czar status.
So long as you have a czar-sized piggy bank.
Train travel, on the other hand, offers experiential opulence that’s attainable.
Two-hundred forty-six years after the first steam train was patented, rail transit remains the most underrated (and commodious) way to travel from A to B. The cost: fair, with no hidden fees. The safety: high-ranking by most conventional measures. Travel times: delightfully predictable. Cavity searches: almost nonexistent. And you are free to move about the cabin at any time. Trains have views. And private cabins. And bar cars.
Trains have character.
So we rounded up the crème de la crème of luxury locomotives on five continents. Come rail away.
The Golden Eagle Luxury Train
Home to the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Expresses, the Golden Eagle is a grand hotel on-the-go. Spanning Russia, Europe, Central Asia and China, the train provides discerning adventurers a path to some of the world’s most remote locations — along with three classes of cabin to choose from, including the Imperial Suite, a 120-square-footer complete with flatscreen and private bathroom.
Winding through the Andes, IndoChina and Italy, a Belmond adventure only begins with the train. Belmond’s Rolodex numbers 22 countries and extends beyond trains to extreme excursions, 5-star hotels and private residential rentals, river cruises and events. From London to Venice, to Botswana at its best, to a mountain-to-jungle tour of Peru, Belmond’s concierge pros are happy to customize you a tailor-made rail package.
The Blue Train
Africa measures approximately 5,000 from north to south, and the Blue Train serves damn near every leg of it. Their credo: “the best forced relaxation.” That’s something we could all benefit from. From the Cape to Cairo, we’re talking wine tastings and fine dining while gazing out at mountain ranges, jungles, deserts and grasslands stirring with some of the most diverse wildlife on planet Earth.
Outside of screaming down the Alps on a pair of K2s, this is the best way to see ‘em. The Bernina Express climbs through breathtaking glaciers up to 7,391 feet above sea level before descending the Bernia Pass through a dizzying network of 55 tunnels and 196 bridges.
Awarded the “World’s Leading Luxury Train” two years in a row at the World Tourism Awards, The Maharaja spans Northwestern India. Sip on champagne at breakfast while overlooking the Taj Mahal or glance in on an elephant Polo Match in Jaipur. Melding nostalgia with majesty, the Maharaja is the veritable Orient Express of the East.
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