Forthcoming Orient Express La Dolce Vita trains will give passengers a taste of the good life with luxury rail journeys across Italy and continental Europe. Jenny Southan reports
More than 150 years after Georges Nagelmackers launched the first luxury Orient Express train, a new luxury sleeper train experience from Accor hotel group (which uses the Orient Express name under licence from the SNCF French railways) will take passengers through Italy – and beyond, from 2023.
According to a report in The Times, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita will rival the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, which has been running since 1982 and offers London-Venice one-night sleepers for over £4,000 per one-way ticket.
Six trains will travel from Rome to other parts of Italy but also to Paris, Istanbul and Split, covering 14 regions in total. What’s more, stopovers in Rome will feature the very first Orient Express Hotel, Minerva, scheduled to open in 2024.
Costing an average of €2,000 per night, per person, the company says that most journeys will start in Italy, taking in destinations such as Venice, Tuscany and Sicily. In addition, three dedicated itineraries will take people through eight countries, linking Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split. The concept for the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita trains pay tribute to “La Dolce Vita”, a historical period of glamour, joie de vivre and artistic fervour in Italy during the 1960s.
With support from Accor, La Dolce Vita train’s official hospitality partner, and a partnership with Trenitalia and Fondazione FS Italiane, the journey invites passengers to travel across more than 16,000km of workable railway lines – 7,000 km of which are not electrified and are vestiges of Italy’s storied history.Designed by Dimorestudio, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train “embodies the Italian art of living and all its beautiful traditions with a more contemporary spirit of travel”. There will be 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, one Honour suite and a restaurant, all “boldly celebrating the craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s”.Before departure at the Roma Termini station, the Orient Express executive lounge will welcome passengers offering them a selection of refreshments in a “convivial and elegant space”, complete with dedicated services and staff to assist them.
In collaboration with renowned local and international chefs and sommeliers, travellers will also experience five-star service, Italian wines and exclusive haute cuisine.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO Accor, says: “At Accor, we consider it an immense privilege to re-launch the historic Orient Express brand for passionate and discerning travellers. These trains offer a new vision of luxury travel that is beyond our imagination.
“Our association with Arsenale Group has opened up new horizons in perfect harmony with the heritage and philosophy of Orient Express, and marks our constant desire to keep moving forward.”
Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles and Orient Express, Accor says: “It is thrilling to be bringing the refined nomadic spirit of Orient Express back to life for a new generation of travellers. The original train route was innovative in the way it paradoxically brought cultures together – the Occident with the Orient, history with modernity.
“As artisans of travel, we wish to revive this old-world, awe-inspiring ‘journey to elsewhere’ and reconcile certain paradoxes: a journey and a destination, astonishment and inspiration, movement and contemplation. Against the backdrop of breathtaking panoramas and a unique blend of cultures, we are convinced that travellers will have unforgettable experiences in Italy with Orient Express La Dolce Vita.”