With its rich heritage, glamorous interiors and world-class food and wine, a journey aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is, quite simply, the ultimate in luxury rail travel. And this classic route, a two-day sweep from London to Venice, remains its headline act. From piano recitals and champagne receptions to wine-paired gourmet food served by white-gloved waiters, you’ll enjoy the high glamour of the 1920s as the Alpine landscapes of France and Switzerland rush by. Then, arriving into Venice’s storied maze, you’ll pair the grand elegance of a Baglioni hotel stay with a private guided tour and queue-jumping tickets to the Doge’s Palace.
The luxury begins at home, with a chauffeur transfer to Victoria station in the heart of London. After a private champagne reception, you’ll head out aboard the British Pullman, passing through the Kent countryside as a gourmet lunch and fine wines ease you into life on board. Then, after a Eurotunnel hop between Folkestone and Calais, you’ll step aboard the signature blue-and-gold carriages of the Orient Express to recall the golden age of travel in your 1920s oak-panelled cabin. The day concludes with more delicious, wine-paired food as you call into Paris before heading east, overnight, towards the Alps.
Lunch & Dinner included
Wake this morning to a delicious Continental breakfast served in your cabin as first the Swiss Alps, then the beauty of rural Austria rushes past. Perhaps spend some time browsing in the on-board boutique before a three-course lunch and the armoured peaks of the Dolomites signal your arrival into Italy. Then, as an afternoon tea is taken, you’ll cross the Venetian Lagoon to arrive into the Venezia Santa Lucia station where a waiting water taxi will whisk you to the pier of your palace hotel. With rooftop terrace views across San Gorgio Island and the San Marco Basin, you’ll be within a stone’s throw of some of the city’s most famous sights; the Bridge of Sighs, the Palazzo Ducale, St Mark’s Square and the iconic Harry’s Bar are all just a stroll away.
Breakfast & Lunch included
Today, you'll lose yourself amid the history and beauty of Venice’s ancient waterways with a private, expert-led tour. Begin with a visit to Doge’s Palace, where you’ll jump the queues with priority entry before your guide introduces you to the grandeur of its Gothic façade and the treasure trove of Venetian history that lies within. Then, the rest of the day is up to you. Ask your specialist about a sightseeing tour to explore the Venetian Islands' pretty mix of medieval towns and teal-blue waters, or simply wander at your leisure, taking in the architectural marvels of St Mark’s Square, enjoying a gondola punt, or stopping by for Bellini at the Hotel Metropole, one of Hemingway’s favourite haunts.
Linger over breakfast before a final morning’s exploration and a water-taxi transfer to the airport for your flight home. On arrival, a chauffeur will see you safely to your door.
"Simply put, this is one of the greatest journeys by rail. Not only is the route impossibly scenic, but the onboard experience is truly indulgent, from the fine dining to the white-gloved service. Lastly, speak to your consultant about travelling in the Grand Suites. New for 2018, these are the last word in luxury, resplendent in Art-Deco opulence and free-flowing champagne."
Low Season from: £3,205 pp
High Season from: £3,365 pp