Grand Dames of the Rails: VSOE’s Grand Suites Offer Privacy, Ultimate Luxury

8 Jun
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Senior steward Francesco preps Grand Suite ‘Istanbul’ in preparation for its very first guests. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

It’s been just over two months since I flew to Italy to inspect the three brand-new Grand Suites aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. I was lucky enough to be one of six travel professionals invited aboard for the Suites’ inaugural journey and unveiling party — and the only advisor from the Western Hemisphere to be included.

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Grand Suite ‘Venice.’ IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

I shared many beautiful images in my first blog post (click here to read), but I wanted to return to the subject to expound further on all of the intangible elements that make the Grand Suites so exciting.

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Grand Suite ‘Paris.’ IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

What can Grand Suite guests expect on their trip in addition to opulent surroundings?

For one thing, total privacy — if you want it. The Grand Suite carriage will always be placed at the rear of the train, in order to ensure no ‘regular’ guests stumble through by accident. And meals can be served in your cabin, where your living area easily converts into a romantic space for dining.

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Grand Suite ‘Istanbul.’ IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

For another, regal, attentive service. Grand Suite guests will share one dedicated senior steward for the duration of their trip. (For comparison, one steward is assigned to each twin carriage, tasked with managing up to 18 guests at a time).

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Copper rain shower with exclusive Guerlain bath products. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

Finally, at the press of a call button, your steward will graciously appear with chilled champagne — included throughout your journey with the booking of a Grand Suite.

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Towels emblazoned with the train’s emblem. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

And if you’re lucky enough to be one of the very few in a Grand Suite on the Paris-Istanbul or Istanbul-Paris journey, your Grand Suite will land you in upgraded hotel rooms — Suites, to be precise — in Bucharest and Budapest.

So what does the VSOE offer to those of us who aren’t able to spring for a pricey Grand Suite? (prices run far into double digits — in pound sterling — on the longer journeys).

Luckily, the train staff expertly create an atmosphere on board the train where every guest is treated like visiting royalty.

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Full-length wardrobe (seen at left) — one of two in every Grand Suite. IRT Photo by Rachel M. Hardy.

And right now, we are pleased to offer a sumptuous upgrade that will make you feel even more cossetted. Book a VSOE twin cabin on a journey departing Venice to Paris/London in July, August, or November, and you’ll receive a complimentary upgrade to a Cabin Suite at time of booking. (A Cabin Suite is two twin cabins connected by a private, interior door; this doubles your space and includes two windows,  two vanities, two little tables, and and two lower beds.)

This offer also applies to a select few departures from London/Paris to Venice on the following dates: July 19, October 28, & November 8. You must reference this blog post, and you must book your journey before June 30, 2018.

If you are ready to book, or if you have questions, please call us at (800) 478-4881 or (502) 897-1725 if outside the US / Canada — or e-mail us at tourdesk@irtsociety.com.

Click here for more info about the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, and a list of itineraries offered. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

Rachel M. Hardy is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and Virtuoso luxury travel advisor for The Society of International Railway Travelers®. She specializes in luxury rail and adventure in Europe, South America, Africa (rail & safaris) and Canada.  She was the first advisor from the Americas invited to see the new Grand Suites on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Our agency is a proud member of Virtuoso and the exclusive Belmond Bellini Club.

3 Responses to “Grand Dames of the Rails: VSOE’s Grand Suites Offer Privacy, Ultimate Luxury”

  1. Ray June 9, 2018 at 1:33 PM #

    Please send link for your (new?) offer for Nov departures. Thx.

    • Eleanor Flagler Hardy June 9, 2018 at 3:13 PM #

      Dear Ray: Thanks for your question. Book a VSOE twin cabin on a journey departing Venice to Paris/London in July, August, or November, and you’ll receive a complimentary upgrade to a Cabin Suite at time of booking. Any questions, please email tourdesk@irtsociety.com, and we’ll respond ASAP.

  2. kmschultz17@gmail.com June 9, 2018 at 5:29 PM #

    Hi there!
    Thanks for sending the beautiful, interesting, and unique magazine about the trains in Europe and Canada. I really enjoyed it very much. I was surprised that lots of the trains are so beautiful and unique, as I never have been there before. I wish I could join all of us to travel by train a lot. Thanks for sharing with me. Smiles.
    I once went to travel by train with a RR Club group in only Norway, Denmark and Sowden in February 1984. I was surprised that the trains were very clean. We staying in the sleeper cars most of the time. and did stayed at some hotels. I never forgot that we had a very wonderful time there.

    I just had a shoulder (replacement) surgery on April 9th. I am getting better now.

    Thanks for the very wonderful railroad magazine, you sent last week. Smiles.

    Sincerely, Karen Schultz

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