LIVING THE DREAM
THE VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS
Belmond (0845 077 2222; belmond.com), the company which runs the Venice SimplonOrient-Express offers a range of experiences.
Paris-Istanbul This is the one for connoisseurs, the closest it gets to the signature journey of the Orient Express and the journey frequently referred to as the Grand Tour. Next year’s outbound trip runs from August 24-29; the return – to Paris rather than Venice in 2018 – runs from August 31 to September 5. Five nights combining accommodation in Budapest and Bucharest and three nights on the train starts from £13,986 for two adults sharing outbound; £13,320 return.
London-Venice Throughout the season from March to November, the train travels from London to Venice or vice versa, via Paris. During the two-day journey, you will see lakes, mountains and rolling countryside and and dress for a dinner that reaches Michelin star standards. From £2,129 per person based on two sharing.
London-Berlin Last year saw the launch of a new journey from London-Berlin for those wanting a fresh take on a traditional experience. The
chug-chug of motion. The longer the journey goes on the more you get used to it. That said there were no complaints about a night at the Gresham Palace, a monument to Art Nouveau magnificence directly overlooking the city’s dazzling Chain Bridge and a very elegant Four Seasons hotel.
While Lake Balaton – a small diversion south from Budapest – offered an almost Mediterranean moment of repose, the journey took a very different turn as we crossed into Austria during the course of our final night on board. Some celebrated the moment – at about one in the morning – with another nightcap in the Piano Bar. Others waited for the dawn and the thrill of drawing the blind for a first glimpse of Alpine huts, rushing streams and the majestic mountains themselves, route seeks to rekindle some of the glamour of the 1920s when Berlin was a post-war metropolis with a flourishing arts and cabaret scene. The journey departs London June 21, 2018 arriving in the German capital the following day. From £2,365 per person, based on two sharing.
Murder Mystery This journey, involving short trips within the UK on board the Belmond British Pullman, sister train to the Venice Simplon-OrientExpress, seeks to engage would-be detectives with a murder mystery to solve during the course of a journey in which lunch is also served. From £340 per person with departure dates throughout the year
some already capped with snow.
More visual stimulation awaited as we crossed the Brenner and came into that part of Italy known as the South Tirol (or Alte Adigo) and the drama of the Dolomites.
Scenery wise this was probably the highlight of the trip and it was fitting that as we approached Venice itself we had time to reflect on what everyone I spoke to considered to have been a journey that not only met but exceeded expectation. Istanbul felt like a very long time ago.
There may not have been a murder on board – but there was mystery and magic and music at pretty much every step of the way.
It’s certainly the best train I have ever travelled on.
Murder on the Orient Express is released on November 3