Travel Bureau - Blog: All aboard the Orient Express

All aboard the Orient Express

Friday 19 October 2018

Travel Bureau’s personal travel expert, Danielle – a self-confessed train travel geek – had the treat of a lifetime earlier this year, when she climbed on board the Venice Simplon-Orient Express service from Venice to London.

The Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Since its very first service on 4 October 1883 the Orient Express has stood as a shining example of the finest in luxury rail travel. The historic service was given a new lease of life when Belmond founder, James B Sherwood, purchased two vintage train carriages at an auction in Monte Carlo in 1977. After five years spent hunting down more antiquated rail treasures and finding the expert craftsmen to restore them to their former sophisticated glory, the iconic midnight-blue cars of the Orient Express hit the rails once more.

The recognisable blue carriages of the Orient Express

Over its long history the Orient Express has played host to such famous guests as Tolstoy, Lawrence of Arabia, Dame Judi Dench and now, Danielle Waters! Danielle boarded the iconic train in Venice at 11:05 am, welcomed on the platform by a white-gloved steward in blue and gold livery.

Danielle gets ready to board the Orient Express

Once on board, Danielle was instantly transported to the golden age of travel; the storied carriages holding whole worlds of imagination, their opulent yet elegant décor recalling the easy glamour of bygone days.

The Orient Express Bar Car

The train’s accommodations are housed in the original 20s and 30s sleeping cars, which are full of classic Art Deco accents. Each cabin has been flawlessly designed using beautiful polished wood, sumptuous furnishings and stunning antique fixtures. What’s more, the Orient Express now has three utterly gorgeous Grand Suites on board which, comprising a set double bed and spacious en-suite, even come with free-flowing Champagne!

A Grand Suite on board the Orient Express

If you’re not in a suite, your cabin is discreetly transformed from a day-time lounge to a cosy bedroom with upper and lower births while you dine.

Dinner on board the Orient Express

Perhaps Danielle’s favourite part of her experience on board the Orient Express was, in fact, dining; an event which is not just about exceptional food but also attitude and ambience. But, of course, the food is exceptional. Ingredients and inspiration come from the destinations that the train travels through and every dish is artfully designed by culinary master, Executive Chef Christian Bodiguel, who has dedicated his 30-year career to honing his craft on board the Orient Express.

One of the dishes on board the Orient Express

Danielle was blown away by the 3-course lunch, the first of many spectacular meals enjoyed on board, while travelling through the scenic landscapes of Italy and France. Changing into evening dress for dinner is a huge part of the experience, a small act of self-transformation that allows you to truly embrace the sense of occasion. And let’s be honest, anyone would feel out of place wearing jeans and a t-shirt in the magnificent dining carriages of the Orient Express. 

Dressed for dinner on board the Orient Express

After dinner, step through to the glittering, Art Deco bar car and embrace old-school sophistication as you sip on a glass of Champagne while the resident pianist plays on the carriage’s baby grand piano.

A waiter pours Champagne on board the Orient Express

Of course, as well as transporting the rich and powerful through Europe, the Orient Express has also played a part in the continent's literary history including crucial roles in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the eponymous Murder on the Orient Express. Fancy a cocktail? Ask the barman to mix you a Guilty 12. This unique drink is an homage to Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery, with each of the twelve top secret ingredients representing one of the novel’s culprits.

Bed time on board the Orient Express

Full and happy after a day of the finest kind of indulgence, you can retire to your cabin for a restful night’s sleep on crisp damask sheets. And if you think that your indulgence quota is full, think again! The next morning, after a light breakfast served in your cabin, an exquisite, mouth-watering brunch consisting of smoked salmon followed by lobster is served in the dining car.

Brunch of smoked salmon & scrambled eggs on the Orient Express

Watch the world go by from your cabin as you steam towards Calais where you will finally have to say goodbye to the Orient Express. From here, luxury coaches will transport you through the Eurotunnel, from where you will board the British Pullman and enjoy a delectable afternoon tea en-route to London Victoria.

It might be hard to tear yourself away from the heady romance and nostalgic glamour of luxury rail travel, but at least you know you’ll be able to face the challenge well fed!

To find out more about journeys on board the Venice Simplon-Orient Express speak to Danielle or another of our personal travel experts on 0191 285 9321. Alternatively, you can email or visit us at 69 High Street, Gosforth. Find out more about Danielle’s stay in Venice or luxury on the rails in Canada on board the Rocky Mountaineer.

Sign up to our instore events and holiday inspiration mailing list!   

Foreign currency now from Travel Bureau

Planning a holiday, honeymoon or trip abroad? Speak to our team about currency today.

Find out more

Latest Event

More exciting events coming in 2018

Latest News

First Class’ new 2019/20 brochures for Australia and New Zealand have just hit the shelves at Travel Bureau and they’re full of amazing itineraries to help you explore these two diverse and beautiful island nations. As well...
At Travel Bureau we're all about personal service, we love getting to know what your passions are so that we can create a holiday experience that's perfect for you. Of course, it doesn't stop there, we love hearing all about...
Former Etihad Airways’ Lounge in London Heathrow will be rebranded as ‘The House’, as part of a new contemporary airport lounge brand launched by the airline in partnership with No1 Lounges. The project will debut at London...
Earlier this week Silversea Cruises announced agreements to build three news ships.  Two new ultra-luxury vessels will join the fleet in 2022 in a new "Evolution Class" and a new expedition ship, Silver Origin, due for...
LAST CHANCE - Fred Olsen & Emerald Waterways early booking offers end Wednesday 31 October Sail with Fred Olsen straight out of Newcastle's Port of Tyne and enjoy a FREE all-inclusive drinks upgrade on selected 2019...

Travel Tweets

In our @Silversea Hand-Picked Collection we have a trio of incredible offers with amazing savings and added benefit… 9 hours 17 min ago
Brand-new #Australia and #NewZealand brochures from our fantastic travel partner @firstclass_hols are in store now… 1 day 10 hours ago
Travel Bureau expert Garry recently visited #Switzerland for a relaxing railroad adventure, exploring the spectacul… 2 days 11 hours ago
RT @lonelyplanet: Explore Paris' under-the-radar alternatives to its most famous sites: 3 days 17 hours ago
Save up to a HUGE £1,780 per couple on this amazing twin centre #Bali holiday. 10 nights in stunning luxury hotel… 4 days 14 hours ago
RT @CNTraveler: These are the top 10 best places to spend New Year's Eve 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @lonelyplanetUK: How to choose a Caribbean island (The ultimate conundrum? Probably not - but a nice one to have!) 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @NatGeoTravel: Despite its small size, Switzerland boasts more than its fair share of dramatic scenery 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @VisitSA_UK: For close encounters of the elephant kind, book a stay at Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa immediately - Located within Welgev… 5 days 19 hours ago
RT @WTGF_Games: Not long now until registration opens for the NewcastleGateshead Games. #PoweredbytheGiftofLife 5 days 19 hours ago