THE RISE IN THE RAILS: LUXURY TRAIN TRAVEL MAKES A COMEBACK
Harking back to a bygone era, luxury train travel is making a comeback in 2017 in a big way.
First contender on the list is the Belmond Royal Scotsman. After spending the winter getting ready for its unveiling, the Scotsman will be back on the rails on April 17th with a trick up its sleeve: the Bamford Haybarn Spa. Billing itself as ‘the first rail spa carriage in Europe’, the spa will be available for overnight passengers whipping their way through the rolling countryside. Once ensconced in the spa carriage, you can choose amongst the likes of a Bamford bespoke facial (ancient yogic breathing included) or a deep-tissue back massage. Meanwhile, the rest of the train has been dubbed a ‘country house on wheels’ and with a Scottish whiskey selection that runs the gamut and a personal butler for your en-suite cabin, we can see why.
Quite literally raising the bar for rail travel is Planet Rail with its new Lucerne to Montreux journey, which has Belle Époque coaches and a full wine cellar carriage. While on the cultural front, October 2017 will see Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, who celebrated their 10th anniversary last year, launching a brand new 14-day trip that will run along the world’s highest railway, from Tibet’s Lhasa to Urumqi, at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains. It crosses not one but three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Dalai Lama’s winter and summer palaces and the Great Wall of China. There are many other stops along the way, including a camel ride at Crescent Lake and a visit to the ancient Buddha cave complex.
Another 2017 debut is Japan’s Twilight Express Mizukaze, which takes its inaugural journey on June 17th and is set to run from Kyoto to Shimonoseki (note that tickets must be purchased in Japan). Each of its Art Deco-style suites takes up a whole carriage and comes with en-suite bathroom and roll top tub. OK, the price might be a catch (you’re looking at upwards of £5000 per person), but maybe its two glass observation decks for stargazing could sway it…
Either way travel is becoming about the journey and not just the destination once again – and that should be welcomed.