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Synonymous with Old World opulence, this train ride returns as a lavish modern journey through South America
Photos: Courtesy of Belmond
The Lounge Car provides a comfortable setting to relax and mingle while taking in the view.
In the 1800s, the Orient Express was originally created by French company Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits for ordinary international railway commute. However, due to its comfort and rich heritage at a time when travelling was still dangerous, the automotive became synonymous with glamour, intrigue and luxury.
The Orient as many know ceased operations in 2009, but now, a modern version has been revived, whisking passengers on an opulent journey of discovery through enchanting South America.
The Belmond Andean Explorer will traverse the Peruvian Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.
New heights and horizons
Private automotive company Belmond, has been operating routes throughout the world using the original Orient Express carriages, and they will launch the new Belmond Andean Explorer in May next year.
The train will chug along one of the highest rail routes on earth, traversing the Peruvian Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, passing arresting natural wonders and ancient kingdoms.
The Belmond Andean Explorer will travel on four routes. One of them is the “Peruvian Highlands”; a three-day, two-night journey from Cusco — capital of the ancient Inca Empire — through the 4,800m-high plains of the Andes and the remote villages of Puno to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arequipa city.
Ticket prices start from $629 per person per night, and are fully inclusive of all meals, access to an open bar and scheduled excursions out to Peruvian wonders.
In the Dining Cars, guests are served seasonal menus whipped up with local ingredients.
Lap of Luxury
Resurrecting the lavish and exotic aura of the Orient Express, the Belmond Andean Explorer is fitted with quality furnishings inspired by traditional Peruvian textiles such as hand-woven fabrics and the soft tones of alpaca wool, blended with a slate-grey aesthetic of the Andean landscape.
Its interiors are inspired by the slate-grey aesthetic of the Andean landscape.
The train can accommodate up to 68 guests in refined, en-suite cabins, which include spacious double cabins, twin cabins and bunk bed cabins for two. In the Dining Cars, guests are served seasonal menus whipped up with local ingredients by the chefs at Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco.
The Observation Car has an open-air deck where passengers can enjoy Peru’s dramatic views over a refreshing drink, while the Lounge Car provides a comfortable setting to relax and mingle.
Other Orient Routes
Besides Peru, Belmond also operates luxury train journeys in other regions in the world, using the original carriages of the Orient Express from the 1920s and 1930s. It runs to and from major European cities like London, Paris and Venice, explores the exotic wilderness of the African continent, and continues the original Orient route from Paris to Istanbul.
The company has also just launched the Belmond Grand Hibernian in Ireland this year.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 156, July 22 – August 4, 2016, with the headline ‘All aboard the Orient Express’.