Long before we took to the sky during the era of aviation, and even a couple of decades prior to the first luxury cruise ship, it was the railway that offered us the first taste of luxurious travel. In 1883, Georges Nagelmackers launched the Orient Express, which was Europe’s first luxury railway, revolutionizing and becoming synonymous with the industry.
Although it’s nearly impossible to truly understand the cultural impact of the Orient Express during its heyday — especially since the final tour of the original train ended in 1962, with the final full-route line from Paris to Istanbul ceasing operation in 1977 — passengers will be able to travel back in time to the ‘20s and ‘30s with a relaunch of the train expected for 2025.
Highlights include the Bar Car, featuring a René Lalique-inspired glass bartop and dining tables that have a pair of call buttons for different services and a clock that chimes at cocktail and dinner times. Likewise, the ‘30s-era Dining Car features wraparound armchairs against tables adorned with the same lampshade models used back in the day. The premium Suites, outfitted in materials like wood, leather, mother of pearl, and bronze, are decorated with the Lalique panels from the original train.
Preview stops for the Orient Express have already come to Paris and Miami, and a parallel specialty train has also been announced, dubbed La Dolce Vita (coming 2024), with ‘60s-era Italian design cues. Additionally, Orient Express Hotels are set to open in Rome and Venice in 2024. Reservations are not currently available for the main train, but La Dolce Vita is currently accepting pre-registration.