Tag Archives: India luxury train

What a Week! Chic Italian Hotels, Posh Irish Castles, Cute Polar Bears…and Great Trains!

21 Aug
The Oliviero Restaurant, at the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, is famous for its seafood specialties. The hotel enjoys a prime slice of Sicilian real estate.

The Oliviero Restaurant, at the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, is famous for its seafood specialties. The hotel is located on a prime spot of Sicilian real estate. Belmond photo by Genius Loci

We’re just back from Virtuoso Travel Week, luxury travel’s biggest pow-wow of the year, hosting almost 5,000 travel professionals from all over the world.

Here are some goodies from our take-home bag, soon to appear on our website. Email me, and I’ll update you as news becomes available.

  • SignBoard_Small

    Venice Simplon-Orient-Express‘ “bread-and-butter” route is Venice-Paris-London, and vice-versa. The addition of a week’s worth of fabulous Belmond Italian hotels — there are six — makes for even more memories. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

    ITALY: Our popular “Romantic Italian Holiday” will be even more over-the-top when you upgrade it with Belmond’s “Grand Tour of Italy” package. The package price is starts at 3,780 Euro (currently about $4,300) per couple for seven nights at a minimum of two of Belmond’s iconic Italian properties (there are six in all).

    You have 30 days to complete your hotel stays. Blackout dates apply, but the price includes daily buffet breakfast. (Our agency’s “Bellini Club” status earns guests even more; please call.)

    Add a fanciful train ferry twist if you stay at either of the company’s Sicilian retreats (that’s right; Italian Railways still operates a train ferry to Sicily for the 30-minute “voyage” to the island). Click here to ask for more info.

Japan's Kyushu Seven Stars luxury train includes 12 suites, 2 deluxe suites, a diner and (above) lounge, with bar. By all accounts, the train is a work of art, boasting exquisite woods and fabrics. Kyushu Railway Photo

Japan’s Kyushu Seven Stars luxury train includes 12 suites, 2 deluxe suites, a diner, and lounge (above) with bar. By all accounts, the train is a work of art, boasting exquisite woods and textiles throughout. Kyushu Railway Photo

  • JAPAN: We organized a custom tour that includes the “impossible-to-get-a-ticket-on” Kyushu Seven Stars luxury train.

Kyushu dazzled the luxury train world two years ago when it debuted this artwork on wheels. And the Japanese love it — so much so that it’s almost impossible to get space on the 30-passenger train.

We’re working with a Virtuoso partner in Japan to finalize a deluxe rail tour that will include the Seven-Stars’ four-day trip. We’ve already got the train reserved. November, 2016. Click here to ask for more info and to get on our “first notification” list.

ashford castle

  • IRELAND: Add an extended stay at magical Ashford Castle, voted last week as Virtuoso’s “Hotel of the Year.” It’s a perfect add-on to the new Belmond Grand Hibernian luxury train or to Lindblad/National Geographic’s 2016 Orion cruises, which will visit Ireland on two trips: June 12-19 or June 19-26. Click here to ask for more info. 
Enjoying a drink in the Royal Scotsman stylish, but very comfortable, bar car. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy

Enjoy a drink in stylish comfort in the Royal Scotsman’s bar car. IRT Photo by Eleanor Hardy

  • EUROPE: The good ship Orion’s 2016 Bergen-Glasgow cruise also offers tantalizing add-ons to the Belmond Royal Scotsman, whose Edinburgh terminus is just 30 minutes by train from Glasgow by ScotRail. The Lindblad/National Geographic cruise, dubbed “Norway and Scotland: Fjordlands to the Inner Hebrides,” runs July 17-24 and 24-31. We thought this would be a grand combo. Click here for more info.
  • A polar bear inspects Natural Habitat tour participants (viewing him from the safety of their NH 'Polar Rover' tundra truck. Natural Habitat photo

    A polar bear inspects Natural Habitat tour participants (viewing him from the safety of their NH ‘Polar Rover’ tundra truck.) Natural Habitat photo

    CANADA: Polar bears up close and personal: that’s what you’ll get when you travel with adventure specialist Natural Habitat. There’s convenient VIA Rail Canada service to the tour’s jumping-off point, Winnipeg. The tours run in October and November. We love NatHab, voted “Most Sustainable Tour Company,” at Virtuoso Week. Click here to ask for more info.

  • The National Geographic tour of Switzerland and Italy is a 10-day journey from Zermatt and the Upper Engadin Valley to Italy’s Lake Como featuring two of the IRT Society’s “World’s Top 25 Trains”: the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. National Geographic photo

    EUROPE, ASIA, N. AMERICA: National Geographic specialists accompany luxury rail tours for in-depth explorations. Among the offerings are “Swiss Trains and the Italian Lake District,” “India by Rail Photo Expedition” and “Norway’s Trains & Fjords.” Click here to ask for more info.

  • India's Deccan Odyssey offers the best of both worlds: incredible, close-up vistas of Indian culture and life through the picture windows of a luxurious hotel on wheels, with warm, attentive service, wonderful meals (with local as well as Continental cuisine) and supreme comfort. IRT Photo by Angela Walker

    India’s Deccan Odyssey offers incredible, close-up vistas of Indian culture and life through its large picture windows. Service is warm and attentive. IRT Photo by Angela Walker

    INDIA: Deccan Odyssey luxe train upgrade: luxury travel specialist Cox & Kings now supervises off-board AND on-board services, which is a blessing to the discerning traveler.

Its classic 12-day, 11-night Mumbai-Delhi itinerary includes visits to the monuments of Vadodara, the lakes and palaces of Udaipur, the Taj Mahal in Agra, the tiger reserve at Ranthambore (where tigers are making a comeback) and the Pink City of Jaipur.

A new 11-day, 10-night trip, the “Hidden Treasures of Gujarat,’ includes a search for Asiatic lions in Gir Forest National Park, a visit to Modhera’s Sun Temple and an exclusive tour of one of the country’s best wineries. Click here for more info.

  • The Blue Train grants free passage for children 5 and under, provided they sleep with their parents. Pictured above, a compartment with twin beds. Blue Train photo

    The Blue Train grants free passage for children 5 and under, provided they sleep with their parents. Pictured above, a Blue Train compartment with twin beds. Blue Train photo

    AFRICA: The romantic Blue Train might not seem the most likely venue for kids, but it can be  a financial boon to parents. One child aged five or under can travel free with mom and dad–so long as he/she shares the same compartment (OK, maybe sometimes not so romantic). Children aged 6-12 pay 50% of the rate. Click here for more info.

The above travel suppliers are some of our top Virtuoso partners. See something you’re interested in? Email us, and let us know what trip interests you, when you want to go and who is traveling with you. We’ll respond ASAP!

The Society of IRT is a proud member of Virtuoso, and also of the Belmond Bellini Club. What does this mean for our guests? Call us: 800-478-4881. Our web site:                       http://www.irtsociety.com

India’s Maharajas’ Express Joins World’s Top 25 Trains List

29 Nov
The Maharajas' Express

©The Society of International Railway Travelers Photo by Angela Walker

The Society of International Railway Travelers® is pleased to christen the newest member of its World’s Top 25 Trains list, The Maharajas’ Express. The Society announced the 2011 list for release Nov. 30.

The Indian luxury train began service in March and boasts 19 cars (excluding staff and generator cars). The train’s four itineraries begin and end in Delhi or Mumbai and include visits to such iconic locales as Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

The MaharajasExpress brings to four the number of Indian trains on the Society’s list of World’s Top 25 Trains, a remarkable feat, said Society CEO Owen C. Hardy. “India has proven time and again its incredible commitment to rail — not just luxury service but service for the everyday person. Congratulations to the builders, owners and operators of the Maharajas’ Express.

Other trains in India on the World’s Top 25 List, returning this year, are the Deccan Odyssey luxury train, which offers touring from as far afield as Mumbai to New Jalpaiguri; the Palace on Wheels, a first-class touring train in royal Rajasthan, and the tiny Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in W. Bengal, which runs up to the hill station of Darjeeling, and whose remarkable engineering and history earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.

Meanwhile, Angela Walker, Vice President for Operations for The Society of IRT, recently returned from India and issued a glowing report about the Maharajas’ Express. Find her report here.

The trains on the Society’s World’s Top 25 Trains list come from all over the world, and just about every continent.  The Society welcomes comments on our list. It is based on extensive first-hand experience on trains the world over by owners, staff, writers and members, who evaluate them extensively upon their return from travel. “These trains are the best of the best,” said Hardy. “We salute them for providing amazing and adventurous experiences for those lucky enough to take them.”

The World’s Top 25 Trains-2011

(Note:  Trains are listed by region and are not ranked within the list.  * signifies luxury train; + means the train provides a luxury service option on board.)

Africa

Pride of Africa*

Blue Train*

Asia

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Deccan Odyssey*

Eastern & Oriental Express*

Maharajas’ Express*

Palace on Wheels

Shangri-La Express

Europe

Bernina Express

British Pullman*

Danube Express

El Transcantabrico*

Flam Railway

Glacier Express

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Royal Scotsman*

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express*

North America

Royal Canadian Pacific*

The Canadian

Rocky Mountaineer

South America

Andean Explorer

Hiram Bingham*

Australia

Ghan+

Indian Pacific+

Sunlander+

The Society of International Railway Travelers® is an award-winning publishing company and full-service travel agency and tour operator based in the U.S. and serving clients from around the world. To order a complimentary emailed PDF of the IRT Society’s Best-Loved Railway Journeys 2010, register on the company web site:http://www.irtsociety.com/.  To order the printed version, please contact the company for payment details. The Society specializes in luxury, deluxe and railfan journeys around the world.

%d bloggers like this: