Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express is the ultimate luxury rail journey, transporting travelers across the vast expanse of Russia aboard a train that feels more like a five-star hotel. Spanning 6,000 miles over 8 days, a ride on the Golden Eagle takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok as you traverse Siberia and the Ural Mountains in supreme comfort.
With just 100 guests spread across comfortable en-suite cabins, the vibe on board is intimate yet indulgent. During the day, guests can admire epic scenery from the stylish bar lounge or private dining car while tucking into gourmet meals and sipping premium wines. The interiors evoke the grand Victorian-era trains of yesteryear but with modern amenities like underfloor heating, private showers and flatscreen TVs in each cabin.
It's really the small touches that elevate this journey to dream status. Personal butlers tend to every need while onboard historians and Russian language lessons immerse you in the culture. Off train, exclusive sightseeing tours open doors to places regular tourists can't access. See St Petersburg's dazzling Amber Room, explore Siberia's Lake Baikal by private boat, and marvel at Mongolia's Gobi Desert by camel.
For those who've ridden this legendary train, it's an experience that stays etched in the memory forever. Travel blogger Kelly Dunning recalls it as her most luxurious travel adventure yet, from the lavish caviar-laden meals to the exquisite cashmere bedding. For train enthusiast Mark Smith, it was a bucket list dream fulfilled, crossing off Russia's vast terrain in indulgent style.
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- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Travel Like Royalty on the Maharajas' Express
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Cruise the Canadian Rockies on The Rocky Mountaineer
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Meander Through Western Europe on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Traverse Scenic Switzerland on the Glacier Express
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Experience Old World Opulence on the British Pullman
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - See the Outback in Style on The Ghan
- Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Dream of the American West on Amtrak's Southwest Chief
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Travel Like Royalty on the Maharajas' Express
Hop aboard India's version of the Orient Express for a week-long sojourn fit for maharajas. As the name implies, the Maharajas' Express aims to recreate the opulent era of the royal Rajputs with sumptuous Art Deco-designed cabins, butler service, and meals prepared by on-board chefs. This moving 5-star hotel journeys along four legendary rail routes that provide a taste of India's incredible diversity.
The train's 23 coaches accommodate no more than 88 guests, ensuring an exclusive ambiance. Cabins exude retro glamor with elegant furnishings like four-poster beds, silk linens, and colonial-style washbasins. Nearly all feature en-suite bathrooms with showers - a rarity on Indian trains. By day, guests live like royalty in spacious lounges appointed with rich fabrics, carved wooden furniture, and antique adornments. Sip a gin and tonic or curl up with a book as the Indian countryside slides by.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Cruise the Canadian Rockies on The Rocky Mountaineer
All aboard for a scenic sojourn through the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies. This legendary rail journey takes leisurely travelers on the ride of a lifetime aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. Spanning 3 routes and 4 unique rail packages, a journey with Rocky Mountaineer showcases the most jaw-dropping vistas in Western Canada. It's a front row seat to snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, glassy emerald lakes, and wildlife in their natural habitat.
As North America's largest privately owned tourist train, the Rocky Mountaineer provides a first-class experience with impeccable service, upscale cuisine, and exclusive off-train excursions. Travelers rave about the friendly staff who enhance the journey with interesting narratives about local history, geology, and nature. The train's decadent GoldLeaf service takes the experience over the top with spacious bi-level dome seating, gourmet meals, and unlimited cocktails in the private lounge.
According to avid train enthusiast Mark Smith, a ride through the Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer exceeded his already high expectations. He describes being lulled into blissful relaxation by the hypnotic scenery unfurling outside his domed window. Smith was enthralled by the changing terrain, from the greener Pacific slopes to the golden eastern plains framed by towering, snow-capped peaks. Food blogger Janice Heath recalls the sublime salmon lunch paired with Okanagan wines served while cruising the steel blue waters of Kamloops Lake.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Meander Through Western Europe on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Channel your inner Hercule Poirot aboard the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express as it winds through sublime European landscapes once traversed by fabled 1920s travelers. This iconic luxury train aims to evoke the romanticism and adventure of the historic Orient Express route from Paris to Istanbul. With its meticulous Art Deco styling and continental cuisine, it's a step back in time to the golden age of rail.
While the original Orient Express offered direct rail passage to Istanbul, the modern version charts a more leisurely course through Western Europe. Plush vintage carriages connect Paris, Venice, Budapest, and other storied cities on journeys ranging from 1 to 7 nights. This allows discerning guests to experience top European destinations while relaxing in old world elegance between stops.
According to journalist Nick Trend who sampled the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, "For anyone who still harbours childhood dreams of steam billowing across pine-clad mountains, first-class compartments and frosted glass restaurant cars, it represents the pinnacle of luxury slow travel." He highlights that while luxury cruising may boast more ostentatious opulence, the Orient Express radiates timeless style and romance.
Fellow travel writer Lee Marshall who rode the iconic train concurs. He admits while the experience comes at a high price, there's an intangible magic and emotional pull. Marshall describes being lulled to sleep in his cozy vintage sleeper by the gentle rocking carriage and clickity-clack of the rails beneath him. He savored views of the Swiss Alps and Italian Dolomites while dining on refined French cuisine paired with fine wines.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Traverse Scenic Switzerland on the Glacier Express
Cutting a captivating course through the heart of the Swiss Alps, the Glacier Express provides the ultimate panoramic train journey through scenic Switzerland. This nourishing 8-hour voyage links Zermatt and Davos aboard an historic narrow gauge railway crafted in the 1920s. With its soundtrack of clattering carriages and steam whistles echoing off sheer valley walls, it whisks travelers on a soul-stirring ride through verdant Alpine meadows, dense pine forests, curving cobblestone hamlets, and gushing waterfalls.
Of the Alpine rail routes that zigzag across Switzerland, the Glacier Express stands apart for the diversity in its topography and scenery. As it elevates from the verdurous foothills of the Rhône Valley to the icy realms of the Oberalp Pass at 6,670 feet, the views along the way feel like flipping through a Swiss almanac. Streaming out the oversized windows are cinematic panoramas of the iconic Matterhorn peak and the glaciated Bernese Alps with frolicking chamois and flitting edelweiss adding to nature’s stage.
For train lover and travel blogger Lucy Dodsworth, riding the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Davos was a memorable way to experience Switzerland’s astounding beauty. She delighted in the train’s slow pace, which allowed ample time to soak up the romantic landscapes unfurling outside her window. Dodsworth says the Glacier Express made the perfect day out from her Lake Geneva base, providing a refreshing perspective of Switzerland beyond what the typical traveler sees.
Fellow blogger AnneWoodyard shares Dodsworth’s sentiments. She advises that rather than simply focusing on the destinations, travelers should embrace the journey along the fabled route. Woodyard suggests packing a Swiss picnic with local cheese, salami, nuts and fruit to leisurely nosh while cruising past breathtaking vistas of Alpine glaciers and verdant meadows dotted with wildflowers and grazing cows with bells around their necks.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Experience Old World Opulence on the British Pullman
Step aboard the British Pullman for a quintessential taste of luxury train travel with a distinct British twist. As the UK’s only luxury day train, this vintage jewel in the Belmond portfolio transports travelers to a bygone era of refined indulgence. Its beautifully restored 1920s carriages with polished wood panels, plush armchairs, and intricate marquetry summon images of Hercule Poirot peering through the fog on the Orient Express. Yet its sophisticated five-star dining and relaxed pace capture the best of modern British hospitality.
Journeys on the British Pullman showcase the natural beauty of the English countryside while evoking the lavish train travel of the Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age. The vintage carriages are painstakingly restored artifacts of the Golden Age of rail, featuring delicate brass furnishings and art deco geometric patterns. With capacity for just 128 passengers across 11 exquisite coaches, the experience feels intimate yet exclusive.
By day, guests recline in comfort on plump armchairs gazing out at rural England gliding by. They nibble elegant canapes and sip champagne as the British Pullman heads for destinations like stately Warwick Castle or Shakespeare's charming Stratford-upon-Avon. By night, they indulge in Belmond's celebrated culinary offerings like beef wellington or lobster thermidor paired with fine wines as live jazz sets a festive mood.
For Fran Golden, global travel editor of Cruise Critic, her journey aboard the British Pullman exceeded expectations. She delighted in interacting with the convivial staff and found the sophisticated five-course dinner a highlight. According to Golden, while the train has an element of old-fashioned opulence, its focus is on modern taste and refinement. She particularly enjoyed opportunities to debark and explore historic British locales before reboarding the train relaxed and refreshed.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - See the Outback in Style on The Ghan
With its iconic red livery slicing across the remote Australian Outback, The Ghan is a journey synonymous with discovering the nation’s sweeping frontiers and rich Indigenous culture. This legendary train service connects Darwin to Adelaide via Alice Springs on an epic 2,979 km transcontinental crossing. While the arid Outback scenery dazzles through floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s the train’s fascinating history and unique onboard experiences that make a ride on The Ghan an inimitable Australian travel experience.
The train gets its quirky name from the late 19th century Afghan cameleers who traversed the same desert crossing with their herd. In 1929, the track was finally completed allowing The Ghan to commence service. While the train has transformed over the decades from steam engine to sleek modern carriages, it remains an essential Outback transport ferrying locals between remote settlements. For savvy travelers, it's an opportunity to immerse in areas only accessible by rail.
Venturing into dusty frontier towns like Manguri, Finke and Kulgera that rarely see tourists, Ghan passengers get a sense of Outback life. They might chat with weather-beaten cattlemen or Indigenous artists. Local buskers with accordions and didgeridoos sometimes serenade The Ghan during stops. At Alice Springs, visitors gain insight into Aboriginal culture at the Native Gap Park and Telegraph Station. There are also excursions to UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Red Centre’s meteorite craters and canyons.
Back on board, The Ghan promotes a refined explorer vibe with modern lounge cars, an excellent restaurant and well-appointed cabins. The Platinum cabins add extra touches like roomy bunks, en suites and room service. The real magic happens at night in the Outback Explorer Lounge with stargazing from bubbly spa baths on the open-air deck. Swapping travel tales with fellow passengers while the Milky Way dazzles overhead makes for an unforgettable evening.
According to Australian travel writer Roderick Eime, The Ghan exceeded his expectations providing a comfortable way to absorb the epic landscapes of the Red Centre. He highlights experiences like visiting an Indigenous arts center where children practiced spear throwing and sampling bush foods like Quandong pie and crocodile skewers. For Eime, some of the most memorable moments came from yarning with fellow Aussie passengers who shared unique perspectives on Outback living.
Track to Dreamland: 7 Luxurious Sleeper Trains for a Journey to Remember - Dream of the American West on Amtrak's Southwest Chief
For those who romanticize the wide open plains and looming red rock formations of the American Southwest, a journey aboard Amtrak’s legendary Southwest Chief offers the perfect window into this captivating region steeped in Old West history and off-the-beaten path charm. Charting a course between Chicago and Los Angeles, the Southwest Chief traces the same 2,265-mile route along the old Santa Fe Railway that early pioneers and 20th century jet-setters traveled.
Yet unlike those frantic cross-country road trips that whisk travelers nonstop along Interstate 40, the Southwest Chief moves at an unrushed pace allowing adventurers to soak up the subtle changes in scenery and culture. From the heartland of Kansas with its sprawling wheat fields and quaint farming towns to the high desert of New Mexico blanketed in sagebrush and stubborn piñon pines, it’s a nourishing overland adventure.
The Santa Fe Railroad was the first to cross the wilderness between Chicago and the Pacific. They did so in style aboard trains like the Chief and Super Chief that lured golden age Hollywood stars with their top-notch service and sophisticated observation cars. That spirit lives on today aboard the double decker Superliner coaches that still evoke mid-century cool with their sleek lines and “Hi-Level” sightseeing lounge.
Yet what really sets the Southwest Chief apart is the pocket of more authentic Americana it opens from its one-of-a-kind whistle stops. When the Chief pulls into forgotten burgs like Dodge City, tiny La Junta, and Thoreau, NM not much has changed since the Dust Bowl era. Wandering the worn wooden boardwalks flanked by original false front facades lets modern time travelers experience the Wild West ambiance. Riding the rails also provides a close-up look at roadless terrain like Arizona’s Painted Desert and New Mexico’s Continental Divide that car travel flashes by too quickly to appreciate.