All Aboard the London to Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train
PUBLISHED: 09:53 12 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:24 13 May 2015
"Amazing … like stepping back in time"
This was going to be a journey we would enjoy as much our final destination and that too was very special.
It had all started with a call to Mulberry Travel when we said we wanted to do something really special for our anniversary. They weren’t pushy and wanted to make sure we were happy with our decision. Now, stepping on board the Venice Simplon Orient Express, we knew we had made the right choice.
This was going to be a journey we would enjoy as much our final destination and that too was very special. We were spending two nights in the famous Venetian Hotel Cipriani where George Clooney had stayed before he got married. However, the whole luxury train was like a work of art and a true Art Deco icon.
We had breakfast of smoked salmon and caviar with scrambled eggs and washed it down with Bellinis served in cut glass flutes. As the train made its way to Folkstone West we watched the Kentish countryside rush by. When we were transferring onto a fleet of executive coaches to make the crossing via the Eurotunnel shuttle train, we could hear a band playing on the platform.
In Calais we boarded the continental Venice Simplon Orient Express train in all its restored blue and gold glory. Uniformed stewards greeted us and our own personal steward, who was to look after us for the rest of our journey, showed us to our seat. It’s far more civilised than a cramped aircraft - no arguments over leg-room, no airport security and no bland airline food in plastic trays.
Our sleeping compartment had a sofa that was transformed by our steward (while we were dining on lobster and drinking champagne) into bunk beds and although small were surprisingly comfortable. Behind shiny wooden doors with inlaid marquetry was a wash-stand with toiletries and soft towels.
The three beautifully restored restaurant cars had their own unique ambiance Cote d’Azure with Lalique glass panels, Etoile du Nord had exquisite marquetry and L’Oriental was decorated in black lacquer. The chef and his skilled team prepared exceptional fresh gourmet-standard food. The set-menus were inclusive although there are a la carte options available at additional cost.
One of the highlights of the Orient Express is to dress for dinner and sample the exceptional dishes served by the train’s chefs. The dress code in the evening for dinner is a suit and tie for men and smart attire for women but a lot of the passengers entered into the spirit of the occasion dressing up in black tie and even1920s and 30s style outfits. This all added to the atmosphere of this unique, glamorous experience that harks back to the golden age of travel.
At the heart of the train there was the stylish Piano Bar where we relaxed and had a cocktail and listened to the music played by the resident pianist.
Overnight the train travels from Paris to Switzerland and next morning an excellent breakfast is served in the compartment by your personal steward while outside there is the breath-taking mountain scenery of Switzerland and Austria.
After a fantastic three-course lunch in the restaurant car, the train had almost reached Venice Santa Lucia Station. This is situated on the banks of the Grand Canal in central Venice where we would be transported by water taxi to the Hotel Cipriani.
If you would like to experience one of the most romantic journeys in the world on the Venice Simplon Orient Express or you want to create your own special holiday then just call Mulberry Travel on 0800 122 33 64 or visit www.mulberrytravel.com