It’s not about the train, it’s about the people.
But bloody hell, if you are going to get on a train, what a train to get on!
Modern life and modern travel is becoming increasingly about speed and destination. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, however, (while still delivering the destination, in my case Venice) is all about the journey itself.
There is no argument about the world class experience, food, style, and service; as it is exactly what you would expect when booking a trip with The Venice Simplon-Orient Express. What I found, however, was not expected; and this was the pleasure of making a trip and taking the time, not only for yourself but also for your fellow travellers.
I was not expecting the fun in dressing for dinner, together with other dinner guests looking equally marvellous in their sartorial elegance. Dressing for supper is a sadly neglected past time, which is such a shame as it made this meal an exquisite occasion. So I say, bring it back!
The Bar Car had the atmosphere of a private house party, or a club where everyone knows your name. A kind of happened upon speakeasy, full of vibrancy and beautifully eclectic people accidentally thrown together. Albeit bewitched by each other’s company for that evening, there is a sense of knowing that you are all passing ships; and that this is a moment to be enjoyed, and before long it is time to move on.
I managed to stay in the bar, meeting the most dazzling group of people until 3am in the morning. Stumbling back to my home for the night, along corridors of polished French inlayed cabin doors. Hopping onto my top bunk and rocking to sleep with the rhythmic sound of the wheels turning on the track.
I took the option to have breakfast in the dining room, surrounded by Lalique glass and the early snow topped peaks of the alps. While hot coffee, smoked salmon, freshly squeezed juices, and warm pastries, prepared me for an exhausting day of watching Europe slip by.
Seamless service, amazing cuisine, and interiors lifted from the pages of history, are all truly fabulous; but if you make the most of the people you meet on the trip, it will become a trip of a life time, so be prepared to be delighted.
Words: Andrew Downs
An overnight journey aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Venice to London or vice versa starts from £2,210 per person