Staff Review

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express


18 Nov 2018

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

Checking out of the Hotel Cipriani would ordinarily be a deflating experience but during my private water taxi journey to Venice Santa Lucia station, I was filled with excited anticipation for my journey back to London onboard the Venice Simplon - Orient-Express. Following check-in, a steward wearing an immaculate royal blue uniform greeted me at the entrance to my designated carriage. Every inch of the train was a step back in time; the beautiful wooden marquetry of the cabins, the Silver Service waiters preparing the dining cars for brunch, the exquisite place settings and the baby grand piano in the bar car.

The journey started with a glass of champagne followed by a lavish 3-course brunch. I still have daydreams about the dessert - pears poached in hibiscus tea and sweet wine, filled with bitter dark chocolate. The quality of food was quite astounding and standards of which you would expect at any top London restaurant. Sit back, relax and begin to enjoy the scenery as you journey through northern Italy and Austria. The afternoon can be spent reading, chatting with new friends over coffee or simply taking in the views. One of my most vivid memories was awaking from my post afternoon tea snooze with a picture-perfect view of snow capped mountains from my window. Truly breathtaking.

Dressing for dinner is an excuse to go to town. Over-dressing is impossible onboard the Orient Express. Ladies and gentleman wearing evening dress fill the bar car, enjoying the piano music and an aperitif before dinner. Don’t hesitate to pack the tuxedo that only comes out a few times a year, or your feather boa and pearls. Looking and feeling the part is all part of the experience. Dinner started with steamed sea bass, followed by roast saddle of lamb and the favourite bit (I think there’s a pattern forming here!)…………a chestnut charlotte accompanied with mandarin flavoured custard. I certainly slept very soundly after such a feast.

During dinner, the lighting in your cabin is dimmed and the bank seating is converted in to a very inviting bed; slippers and an embroidered dressing gown are provided. For extra space, consider opting for a ‘cabin suite’, which will provide far more space and added comfort. Breakfast was served in my cabin upon arrival in to Paris. Here the train stops to allow you enough time to take in a little fresh air and to stretch your legs. Once in Calais we were transported by luxury coach to Dover, where we met the British Pullman for the final leg of our journey. Just when I was contemplating my crash diet for the following week, brunch was served – broiled lobster followed by a caramelised apple tart. By the time the train arrived in to London Victoria, the foodie in me was protesting at the fact that we had to disembark! My time onboard the Orient Express was a truly magical experience – but I was soon jostled back in to reality, when having to battle with the commuters for my journey back to South West London! Wondering how to celebrate a pending anniversary or special birthday – think no further! The trip is worth every penny and will leave you with life-long memories.

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