Exploring the world from the seat of a luxury locomotive conjures images of a bygone era where it’s all about the journey, not the destination. These days, train travel focuses on going places in style with sophisticated accommodations. Read on for seven of the world’s most stunning sleeper trains.
Train Suite Shiki-shima
Operated by East Japan Railway Company, the sleek 10-car Train Suite Shiki-shima departs from Tokyo’s Ueno Station and explores the countryside with two- to four-day excursions. The exclusive train includes a dining car, a lounge car, and two observation cars (one at the front and the other at the back) that are designed for taking in Japan’s natural vistas. For bunking, there are 17 luxurious suites that all include fireplaces and beautiful cypress wood baths.
Belmond Andean Explorer
Peru’s 16-car Belmond Andean Explorer traverses the Andean landscape from Cusco, the capital of the Incan empire, to Arequipa with one- and two-night trips. With 35 cabins on board, you can choose from bunk beds, twin beds, or double-bed suites, and snuggle up with an alpaca blanket as you admire sights like Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon from your berth. Two dining cars, a spa, an observation car, and a lounge with a piano bar give you plenty of space to explore while on board, too.
The Golden Eagle explores Russia, Mongolia, and Norway’s Arctic Circle with a handful of epic voyages that last anywhere from 12 to 15 days. Itineraries are packed with The North’s great natural wonders like the aurora borealis, Lake Baikal, and the River Volga. Three suites ranging from 60 to a sprawling 120 square feet with en suite bathrooms offer up all the comforts of home. And the lounge and restaurant cars are comfortably appointed, making your two-week railway adventures feel like your’e living in the lap of luxury.
With its maiden voyage scheduled for December 6, Australia’s brand-new luxury sleeper train the Great Southern has all the bells and whistles with a lounge car, a restaurant, and a platinum club lounge. Journey across the southeast Outback between Brisbane and Adelaide on one of the three- and four-day trips. Exclusive accommodations like the Chairman’s Carriage (slated for the 2020/2021 season) can accommodate up to eight travelers and include a private lounge area with an attendant to take care of all your needs.
With 12- and 15-day itineraries that traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, the Shongololo Express is the way to take in Southern Africa’s spectacular landscape and wildlife—including magnificent sights like Victoria Falls. The 72-person train is handsomely outfitted with wood-paneled walls and leather—a nostalgic nod to the heyday of train travel. Guests can choose from double or twin bed accommodations for bunking. And you can embark on a safari while lolling in the dining carriage, lounge, or observations cars.
Belmond Grand Hibernian
Feel the luck of the Irish aboard this stately gem. The warm and inviting interior of the cozy 10-carriage Belmond Grand Hibernian draws inspiration from Dublin’s Georgian architecture. Two- to six-day excursions across The Emerald Isle make stops in quaint towns like Cork and visit fun destinations like historic castles and whiskey distilleries. Sleeping berths include 16 twin and four double suites clad in tartan textiles and decorated in Celtic motifs.
Departing from Mumbai, the Deccan Odyssey offers two 15-day journeys—one across Northern India, and another throughout the southern region. Decorated in traditional Indian designs with carved wood and vibrant textiles, the locomotive has more than the standard luxury train offerings. Other carriages house an on-board spa, gym, salon, sauna, library, and business center. For those who want to travel in style, the spacious Presidential Suites include a separate lounge area along with two en suite bathrooms.