Slow down. That’s a message we’ve been hearing a lot lately. Breathe. Unplug. Pay attention.

Maybe that’s one reason for the recent renaissance of luxury trains. Now a spate of new, newly redone and classic trains harks back to the day when rail travel was an elegant affair. Consider it the antidote to Amtrak—to say nothing of the ever-shrinking seat 32E. These are carriages where people still—again—are expected to dress for dinner, where attentive waiters serve five-course meals on bone china, and where the linens are pressed. But traveling by train was not always so luxurious.

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Train Travel Through the Years | GolfShire Homes

Train Travel Through the Years

Travel has evolved immensely since the days of the pioneers, who had to endure riding in the back of horse drawn carriages over rough terrain for weeks or months on end. With the invention and adaptation of the steam locomotive, that all changed, and travelers were offered a much more luxurious option to transport them across long distances. Train travel quickly became the luxury travel choice for those who did not wish to sacrifice comfort in order to embark on a long journey. After all, trains have a much larger capacity than what the wagons of old times afforded travelers back then. Gone were the days of being exposed to the natural elements, or worrying about whether you had brought along enough food to feed the horses, and yourself for that matter.

Once traveling by train took hold across the world, the levels of luxury available to passengers on this revolutionary method of transportation quickly advanced to the point where they would feel quite at home during their journeys. Because of powerful steam engines, which were fueled by burning coal, trains were able to pull multiple cars, which could be outfitted with seats for economy travelers, and much more luxurious configurations for the privileged few who could afford to travel in the higher classes. Additionally, various cars served a multitude of purposes to make the trip that much more enjoyable

The first two cars of the trains of old used to include the locomotive, which had a conductor’s compartment, as well as the steam engine. The next car was where the coal used to fuel the engine was stored, and crew members would transport and shovel that coal into the fire of the engine to keep things moving along in uninterrupted fashion. The following car would typically house the operations crew, and the next one after that would be reserved for staff accommodation. The remainder of the train’s cars were all dedicated to the passengers, and this is where the ambiance of the luxury travel experience became apparent.

From dining cars, to the cars with passenger seating, where you could be served drinks while reading your favorite book or chatting with fellow travelers as you were shuttled for hundreds of miles, it was worlds away from having to ride on horseback to go long distances. There was even a car dedicated to gaming, where passengers could partake in games of poker, gin rummy, or dominoes. And, there would be a car with a bar inside, where one could sip on a fine single malt scotch while puffing on their preference of cigar or tobacco pipe and enjoying live entertainment provided by onboard jazz musicians.

Even with all of these glamorous amenities, there were yet another set of cars that followed behind those which were made for the general population. These upper class luxury cars contained dedicated suites with full beds and private bathing rooms, private butlers, private dining rooms, and an overall more refined experience for the most discerning, affluent travelers. These passengers received the ultimate levels of personal attention and catering, and it was for good reason as they paid top dollar for the ability to feel as though they were not traveling on a train full of other people, but rather that they were in their own private world.



Luxury Train Travel Redefined | GolfShire Homes

Luxury Train Travel Redefined

As time has progressed, the allure of luxury train travel has seemed to dwindle, courtesy of the likes of faster methods of transport, such as private jets, as well as the introduction of private automobiles and luxury buses. The more common application of travel by train in today’s world revolves around the business commuter than that of luxury leisure travelers. However, the old world glamour of luxury train transportation, along with the multitude of bespoke amenities on offer, has afforded upper class travelers the opportunity to continue to experience the grandeur of enjoying this travel method long after its days of glory. As a matter of fact, some have referred to modern day luxury train travel as being like a land based yacht cruise. The experience is less about how fast you can get to a particular destination, and more about relaxing and indulging in all of the benefits on offer.

According to the Luxury Train Club , luxury trains are at the pinnacle of the aspiration for relaxed travel. Imagine cruising through spectacular scenery; halting at iconic destinations; relaxing in opulent cabins and lounges; enjoying fabulous cuisine served in sublime surroundings; cocktails savoured in beautiful bar cars. Luxury train travel is the best way to travel on earth.

Luxury travelers on the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains enjoy first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the world's most remarkable sites and a room with a view that constantly changes. Aboard this luxury hotel-on-wheels you can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining and elegant surroundings - no matter where you choose to explore.

Today, there is a multitude of luxurious train journeys around the world that provide luxury travelers can enjoy. Perhaps the most luxurious train in the world is The Pride of Africa, operated by Rovos Rail. The company, which was started in South Africa in 1986, offers travelers the life changing experience of traversing through the varied terrain of one of the least traveled regions of the world. Onboard accommodations aboard this ultra luxurious rail service include the spacious, and beautifully appointed, Royal Suites. If feeling as though you are enjoying a stay at a 5-star hotel with an ever changing view of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world is what you desire, these palaces on wheels will offer just that.

The Royal Suites on The Pride of Africa feature Edwardian era design elements, as well as wood panelling, which transports guests back in time to a period of elegant grandeur. The air-conditioned suites also include private, full-sized bathrooms, complete with Victorian bath tubs and modern showers. Hot water and other modern amenities, such as a mini bar with a refrigerator, are also standard in these most luxurious of accommodations. Guests may also choose to relax in their own private lounge area while being encapsulated in their personal luxury atmosphere.

Of course, eventually you will want to venture out of your secluded lair to explore everything else that that extraordinary train has to offer. One such place you can visit, should you care to socialize with your fellow passengers, is the lounge car, where you can relive the moments of centuries gone traditions of enjoying a fine cigar as you sip on South African wines, or your preferred scotch. There is also an observation car at the back of the train which provides uninterrupted views of the infinite, wild landscape of the most exotic continent on the planet.

Dining aboard The Pride of Africa is no typical experience either. At dinner, guests are expected to wear their finest formal attire, with men being required to wear jackets, and ladies having the option of donning fine gowns or suits. The cuisine, of course, focuses on top quality ingredients prepared by world class chefs, and also features local African fare, such as wild game. Although there are three coordinated meals provided daily in the dining cars, guests also have the option of requesting 24-hour room service to be delivered to their private luxury suites.

Other amazing features of choosing to travel on the Rovos Rail coordinated excursions, are themed journeys, which they offer to various groups of luxury travelers to more closely suit their tastes. On every trip, guests can expect to be treated to such experiences as embarking on African safaris, where they can view wildlife up close in the untouched natural habitat. Lions, cape buffalo, and rhinos are all but guaranteed to be encountered when the train makes its two day stop at the Madwike game preserve in South Africa. And, there is even an overnight stop at the breathtakingly beautiful destination of Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

Other journeys on offer include the African Collage, where travelers are taken on a 10-day excursion from Pretoria to Cape Town. On this trip, the itinerary includes a game drive through Kruger Park, which is perhaps the best known preserve in all of Africa. Following that stop, guests are guided down The Valley of a Thousand Hills and eventually end up in Oudtshoorn, where they can experience a full-fledged ostrich farm where they can admire the graceful avian giants in a natural setting. If you are a golf lover, and seek to play your favorite game in the most exotic of settings imaginable, Rovos Rail offers a 9-day Golf Safari across northeastern South Africa. What a pleasure it must be to enjoy one of the most unique golfing experiences of a lifetime, all while traveling in superior luxury and comfort.



Embark on Your Luxury Journey

The many luxury travel modes available to today’s travelers are both opulent and rapid. Whether flying a private jet across the ocean to arrive at your destination in hours, or lounging on a luxury yacht as you float along from island to island, there are so many experiences to be enjoyed in so many ways. But in this fast-paced, electronically connected world where our cell phones never seem to leave our hands, and work never seems to escape us, the idea of reverting back to a centuries old way of luxury travel aboard a train is worth taking a look at.

Envision yourself completely disconnected from the modern, developed, overpopulated world that so many of us endure on a daily basis. Imagine embarking on an exotic endeavour through the most untouched regions of our planet, and being immersed in a breathtaking natural environment, all while maintaining a high level of luxury living. That is what the experience of luxury train travel is all about.



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