Luxury train travel is making a comeback. Epic train journeys continue to hold the romance of a bygone era. And with new trains and routes appearing around the world, from Asia to Africa and Europe, more and more travellers are opting for the comfort of riding the rails.
There’s a reason train travel is gaining popularity: As air travel becomes commoditized — with ever-shrinking seats, scaled-back service and fewer perks (unless you pay extra) — travellers are looking to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
On a luxury train, you can roam freely around the cabin, stretch out your legs in comfy seats, all while sipping wine with a gourmet meal. Instead of looking at your watch, wishing away the time until you arrive at your destination, stare out the window as dramatic landscapes float by, feeling a connection to nature you simply don’t get while watching movies on a tiny screen on the back of a headrest.
Here in Canada, Rocky Mountaineer offers a custom-designed GoldLeaf fleet, with bi-level, glass-domed coaches that offer jaw-dropping views of the iconic Canadian Rockies – from wildlife and waterfalls to famous whitecap mountains – travelling along routes best described as engineering marvels.
The upper level of each coach in GoldLeaf Service is accessed by a spiral staircase or lift, and its full-length, glass-dome windows offer 180-degree panoramic views of the Rockies. Enjoy a drink in reclining seats that rotate to accommodate groups of four, while the onboard Hosts regale with stories of the surroundings throughout the journey.
The lower level serves as a private dining car, with large picture windows, so you can enjoy gourmet meals while watching the scenery glide by. GoldLeaf Service includes hot gourmet breakfasts and lunches, morning scones and afternoon wine and cheese, complimentary beverages (including alcoholic drinks), as well as snacks. The gourmet meals are prepared onboard, and the menu features regional dishes and B.C. wines.
If you want to get even closer to nature, step onto an exclusive open-air viewing platform, and soak up the mountain air and watch the scenery — maybe even spot a bear or two, if you’re lucky. There’s plenty of wildlife to see along the trip, including deer, elk, moose, bald eagles, osprey and bighorn sheep. The GoldLeaf fleet slows down at the most scenic spots so you’ll get teh best views and be able to snap photos, something Rocky Mountaineer refers to as “picture-perfect speed.”
Train travel has an air of adventure about it, but it’s also a way to connect with a destination and see it in a new way. Rocky Mountaineer travels through some otherwise inaccessible terrain, revealing hidden views of river canyons, towering waterfalls and pine-covered slopes that aren’t reachable by foot, car or motor coach. Because after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
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