Europe

Venice Simplon-Orient delights the discerning.

The understated luxury of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express | Photo credit: Orient-Express Hotels (UK) Ltd./Matt Hind

History. Authenticity. Romance. Allure.

The Venice Simplon-Orient Express delights the discerning. Its 1920s-vintage Art Deco cars, sparkling in their navy and gold livery and snowy white roof, take your breath away.

The high level of service, the five-star degree of delectables and wines, and the thrill of travelling in a glittering, rolling work of art can cause one to become overjoyed.

Such is an experience aboard The Venice Simplon-Orient Express. The train’s mystique and allure has attracted and enthralled passengers the world over to the elegance, sophistication and romance of the renowned and most authentic of luxury passenger train services.

The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train service originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. The train operated from 1883 to 2009 and is not to be confused with the Venice-Simplon Orient Express train service, which continues to operate to this day in fine style and form. The fabled luxury train was however saved by entrepreneur and rail enthusiast, James B. Sherwood. In 1977 he bought two of the train’s carriages at a Sotheby’s auction in Monte Carlo.

The next few years and $16 million were spent locating, purchasing and restoring some 35 vintage carriages. In May 1982 the legend was reborn when the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express made its maiden run from London to Venice. Today, the gleaming carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express luxury train continue to transport passengers across Europe in exquisite surroundings on one of the most celebrated and romantic journeys in the world.

The Orient Express experience has always been something more than a mere train journey. Ever since 1883, when the Orient Express made its first journey from Paris to Istanbul, it has captured the imagination of the world.

There is no more special sight than seeing the train for the first time, whether you are boarding the umber and cream carriages of the British Pullman at London’s Victoria station or the blue and gold Continental Wagons-Lits in Venice, Calais or another of its European destinations. This memory will last a lifetime.

Once you step aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, you will have stepped back into a more gracious and elegant age. Today, the glamour and romance lives on, and, in an age that too often reduces travel to speed and convenience, the experience is more attractive and satisfying than ever.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is distinctive down to the smallest detail. The train is composed of original 1920s and 30s European carriages, painstakingly restored to their original elegance and grandeur. The carriages boast exquisite parquetry panels and designs by artists of the art deco movement, including René Laliqué.

Once your journey starts, and you have settled into your private cabin, you can watch Europe’s finest scenery move smoothly by, providing rarely seen and ever changing landscape.

The VSOE can accommodate up to 190 passengers; so you will be in the company of others as appreciative and enthusiastic as yourselves.

In fact, you have, by virtue of being onboard the train, become a part of pop-culture. The glamour and rich history of the Orient Express has lent itself to the plot of books and films and the subject of television documentaries.

You have, no doubt either read or heard of

Or you may have seen

  • Orient Express (1934) (Film adaptation of Graham Greene’s Stamboul Train)
  • From Russia, with Love (1963) (James Bond’s fight with a rival spy is set aboard the train)
  • Istanbul Express (1968) (Made for TV starring Gene Barry)
  • Romance on the Orient Express (1985) (Made for TV movie starring Cheryl Ladd)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2004) (Mr. Fogg rides aboard the train to Istanbul)
  • Mystery on the Orient Express (Made for TV starring David Copperfield)

So you too can travel aboard this train that has carried dignitaries, aristocrats, royalty, spies, celebs and writers.

A variety of journeys is available, which can be taken individually or as a centrepiece to a European tour. Some of the VSOE signature journeys are, for example

  • London – Venice
  • Paris – Budapest – Istanbul
  • Istanbul – Bucharest – Budapest – Venice
  • Venice – Krakow – Dresden – London

Discreet service with a smile | Photo credit: Orient-Express Hotels (UK) Ltd./Matt Hind

Travelling in private compartments, you will be attended by Cabin Stewards throughout the journey, and are assured of attentive and discreet service. Each compartment has its own original washbasin cabinet with hot and cold water, and at night-time becomes a comfortable bedroom.

Meals on board are unforgettable. There are three dining cars, and softly muted lighting enhances the mood while fine linen, French silverware and heavy crystal invite you to prepare for a meal to remember. All dishes are freshly prepared on board by French chefs, with the finest supplies taken on board during the train’s journey.

The quality of the onboard services, combined with the dining facilities and menus, have been often described as uncompromising.

To complement (And complete) your journey, Orient-Express owns or manages several hotels in Europe that are deemed equally as luxurious as the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. In fact, the company is affiliated with hotels of prestige and renown in not only Europe but North America, the Caribbean and Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa and Africa. And each property caters to the whims and requirements that have come to be associated with name Orient-Express.

So the next time you are contemplating a European vacation, think about what can be considered a trip of a lifetime and remember four essential components that comprise a memorable experience:

History. Authenticity. Romance. Allure.

You may just begin writing your book …

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