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Time Traveling on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Step aboard the historic carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and discover this uncontested icon of the rails. Take a breathtaking journey on the classic route from London to Venice, through rural French farmlands and Swiss Alpine valleys and enjoy the magical atmosphere of a timeless Grand Tour.

An icon of Art Deco design and an enduring symbol of luxury, the ​Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a true classic. This train has long captured the hearts and imaginations of glamorous guests. The story of this authentic work of art begins in 1977, when James B Sherwood, Belmond’s founder, purchased two vintage carriages, spotting a renewed appetite for sophisticated travel.

In the following years, he searched far and wide to unearth rail relics from famous vintage trains and restore them with the help of skilled craftsmen. All the carriages have been restored to their former glory and the iconic midnight-blue train finally rolled onto the rails in 1982, ready to escort guests in unmatched luxury on a classic journey between London and Venice.

The original Orient Express service launched on 4 October 1883 by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. The timeless glamour of luxury travel still breathes within the carriages, which retain their vintage charm and innate opulence. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers its guests an experience that promises to take them on a journey across Europe and back in time. 

With its polished wood surfaces, sumptuous upholstery and antique fixtures, the train epitomizes the opulence and elegance of the Golden Age of travel. From the Art Deco flourishes to the masterful marquetry, the train is a design lover’s dream and a sight to be seen to be believed. Authenticity is everything here: the train features the original sleeping cars of the 1920s and 30s, along with three dining cars - Etoile du Nord, Cote d’Azur and L’Oriental.

‘Etoile du Nord’ was built in 1926 in England and showcases beautiful marquetry realized by master woodworkers; ‘Cote d’Azur’, built in 1929 as a first-class Pullman is a shining window of the stunning René Lalique glass; ‘L’Oriental’ was originally a Pullman kitchen car, update and refitted with elegant black lacquer panels and sumptuous red fabrics. As far as the eye can see, guests can genuinely savor a world of timeless glamour, relaxing in stunning 1920’s cabinets rich with charm and craftsmanship.

During its time, the train carried passengers including novelist Leo Tolstoy, revolutionary Leon Trotsky, Hollywood starlet Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia and the spy Mata Hari. Thanks to the extreme attention to detail and accuracy in creating its opulent atmosphere, the train transports you back in time, surrounded by original details and ready to enjoy your grand voyage.

The shiniest jewels of the train are, without a doubt, the six luxury suites. Inspired by the Orient Express itinerary, each is named after a city and their interior is inspired by Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Vienna, Prague and Budapest.

The interiors of the grand suites embody Art Deco indulgence mixed with modern comfort: rich hues of gold and emerald green reflect the romantic charm of ‘Vienna’, while the ‘Budapest’ suite is adorned with intricately detailed inlaid wood and sumptuous silk embroidery inspired by Gothic and Ottoman architecture. The ‘Prague’ suite is a perfect balance of ancient and modern, captured through layers of hand-embroidered cushions and Cubist inspired mosaic patterns, while delicate Italian décor is the signature trait of ‘Venice’. Light, elegant and classic, the ‘Paris’ suite reflects the French capital’s romantic charm and an atmosphere of true Turkish opulence awaits the guest in the exotic ‘Istanbul' suite.  

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, with its rich heritage, stunning interiors and five-star service, is a journey that can't fail to capture the imagination. The original Orient Express ran between Paris to Istanbul, but it is now possible to experience over 20 routes throughout Europe each year.

Be swept away by rolling razzmatazz and glamour on a grand tour through Europe.

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