An Icon of Art Deco Design
The inaugural Orient Express service launched on 4 October 1883. During its time, the train carried passengers including Tolstoy, Trotsky, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia and the spy Mata Hari. To the present day, movies about the service have starred Sean Connery (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1963), Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express, 2017), among others. And let’s not forget its crucial role in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The Venice Simplon-Orient Express is the most storied set of carriages in the world. It promises to take you not just across Europe, but to transport you back in time. With its polished wood, sumptuous upholstery and antique fixtures, the train epitomises the glamour and elegance of the Golden Age of travel.
The carefully restored 1920s cabins are rich with craftsmanship. Plush sofas provide the perfect spot to watch the scenery unfold. At night, climb the upholstered ladder to your upper berth or cosy up under crisp sheets on the bottom bunk. Art Deco interiors and Lalique glassware conjure the romance and glamour of the Roaring Twenties.
The luxurious dining car, where scenes for Murder on the Orient Express and other movies were filmed, is now in the OSE museum of Thessalonica. The local authorities plan to refit the train to make it available for tourist use around the Balkans in the near future.
Classic routes on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express take in such fabled European cities as London, Paris, Venice, Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. But this experience really is all about the journey. As you glide through lush, rolling countryside and majestic mountains, you’re encouraged to savour every moment.
The glamour and rich history of the Orient Express has frequently lent itself to the plot of books such as Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene written in 1969, From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming written in 1956 and of course Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie written in 1934.