Traveling by train has always been synonymous with elegance and class. Think train journeys like Britain’s Royal Scotsman; The Rocky Mountaineer of Western Canada or the Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin – all indelibly linked to refined notions of grandeur.
Now another piece of the world’s elite rolling stock – the famed Orient Express – is preparing to hit the rails again, with a variety of lavish routes criss-crossing Italy and nearby parts of Europe after some 15 years to have been out of service. Fresh details give a very luxurious image.
Launching in 2024, Orient Express La Dolce Vita will be a modern train experience infused with the glamor and sophistication of 1960s Italian culture.
A total of six trains will carry the nickname, covering a variety of one- to three-night routes, with most starting at Rome’s Termini station and traveling across the Trenitalia rail network.
Released as part of a recent design exhibition, new images reveal chic interiors adorned with rich wood paneling, plush velvet lounges made for late night martinis and highly reflective metal details.
In addition to an opulent dining car serving fine dining, the bar will be an equally lavish affair with grand skylights inspired by the Second Empire style, along with a central horseshoe-shaped glass counter and emerald green seating.
At each table, a clock rings for cocktail and dinner times. A call button is reserved for the champagne service.
When the socializing is over, guests can retire to suites with rounded corners, partitions covered in precious woods and leather, and headboards embellished with wood, mother-of-pearl and bronze.
The well-known Lalique “Blackbirds & Grapes” panels, from the historic train, are displayed in a niche. Large sofas can be transformed into a comfortable bed, while a bathroom and dressing room complete the ingenious layout.
Itineraries visit 128 stations in 14 regions with routes from Rome to Istanbul, the Croatian city of Split and Paris – the latter being the city where the name Orient Express departed on its maiden voyage 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 was created through an investment by hospitality group Accor, which plans to revive the 150-year-old railway brand and expand its reach with 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.
While somewhat confusing, it’s worth noting that this particular Orient Express is different from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express currently operated by Belmond.
Additional reporting my Matt Lennon.