Travelling by train has always been synonymous with elegance and class. Think of rail journeys like the UK’s Royal Scotsman; Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer or The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin – each indelibly linked with refined notions of grandeur.
Now, another piece of the world’s elite rolling stock – the famed Orient Express – is preparing to hit the tracks once again, with a variety of opulent itineraries criss-crossing Italy and nearby parts of Europe after some 15 years out of action. Fresh details paint a very luxurious picture.
Launching in 2024, Orient Express La Dolce Vita will be a modern-day rail experience infused with the glamour and sophistication of 1960s Italian culture.
A total of six trains will sport the moniker, taking in various itineraries lasting from between one and three nights, with most beginning at Rome’s Termini station and travelling across the Trenitalia rail network.
Released as part of a recent design exhibition, new images reveal chic interiors adorned in rich timber panelling, plush velvet lounges made for late night martinis, and high-reflective metal detailing.
In addition to a sumptuous dining car plating up sophisticated fare, the bar will be an equally lavish affair with large domes of light inspired by the Second Empire style, together with a central horseshoe-shaped glass counter and emerald green booth seating.
At each table, a clock rings for cocktail and dinner times. A call button is reserved for the champagne service.
When the socialising is done, guests can retire to suites featuring rounded corners, partitions covered with precious wood and leather, and headboards embellished with wood, mother of pearl and bronze.
In a niche, the famous Lalique “Blackbirds & Grapes” panels, originating from the historic train, are displayed. Large sofas convert to a comfortable bed, while a bathroom and dressing room complete the ingenious layout.
Itineraries will visit 128 stations in 14 regions covering routes from Rome to Istanbul, the Croatian city of Split and Paris - the latter being the city where the Orient Express name set off on its maiden journey to the city then known as Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1883.
The video below offers a more in-depth look at the upcoming train.
Orient Express La Dolce Vita is created through an investment from hospitality group Accor, which intends to relaunch the 150-year-old rail marque and broaden its scope to also include a new hotel brand based on the classic train.
The first taste will be the opening of Orient Express La Minerva, in Rome’s Pantheon district, and Orient Express Palazzo Donà Giovannelli in Venice in 2024, with an additional project announced for Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Though somewhat confusing, it’s worth noting this particular Orient Express is different from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express currently operated by Belmond.
Additional reporting my Matt Lennon.