Travel News

Three luxurious train journeys that put air travel to shame

The most luxurious carriages have new features that evoke the past and future of train travel.

By Helen Anderson
One of the suites on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, which is up there with the most luxurious trains in the world
The bar on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Golden Eagle

If an Imperial Suite wasn't quite lavish enough, an entire private carriage with its own kitchen, chef and guide was launched last month on the Golden Eagle's Trans-Siberian journeys. This epic route covers 11,000 kilometres in two weeks between Moscow and Vladivostok, largely following the Trans-Siberian railway. The new Romanov Suite has two bedrooms (one with a king bed), two ensuites and a lounge-dining room. All other cabins and the bar-lounge car have been refurbished recently. goldeneagleluxurytrains.com

The Romanov Suite on the Golden Eagle
The Romanov Suite on the Golden Eagle

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Journeys on this legendary train have, until recently, meant travelling just as guests did in the 1920s – with no showers, one toilet per carriage and hand basins in each of the 88 double and 11 single cabins. Three Grand Suites launched in March have private bathrooms with showers, double beds and living rooms, and the option of in-room dining. Fittings are inspired by the train's original Art Deco features, including Venetian glass, embossed leather and marquetry. belmond.com

A suite on the Simplon-Orient-Express
A suite on the Simplon-Orient-Express

Train Suite Shiki-Shima

Japan's most luxurious train is among its slowest, running at third of the speed of the fastest bullet train. Launched last May, the Shiki-Shima travels north from Tokyo through the regions of Kanto, Tohoku and Hokkaido, carrying guests in just 17 suites evoking traditional Japanese aesthetics. Two futuristic white observation cars bookend the train, and a restaurant car serves lauded seasonal menus on exquisite tableware. Some suites have tatami-mat floors, deep baths of hinoki cypress, and glass fireplaces. jreast.co.jp