More than 150 years ago, Georges Nagelmackers turned a dream into a reality when he launched the first luxury Orient Express train. Soon, Orient Express will head back on track to offer travellers an unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most beloved countries: Italy.
From the luxury rail tourism project signed by Arsenale S.p.A., now in association with Orient Express of Accor Group, comes the Orient Express La Dolce Vita which will welcome its first passengers in 2023. Six trains will embark through several iconic itineraries across 14 regions and beyond, including three international destinations from Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split. A magical stopover in Rome will feature the very first Orient Express Hotel, Minerva, scheduled to open in 2024.
The concept for the new Orient Express La Dolce Vita trains pays tribute to “La Dolce Vita”, a historical period of glamour, joie de vivre and artistic fervour in Italy during the 1960s. With support from Accor, La Dolce Vita train’s official hospitality partner, and thanks to the partnership with Trenitalia and Fondazione FS Italiane, the journey invites passengers to travel through more than 16,000 km of workable railway lines – 7,000 km of which are not electrified and are vestiges of Italy’s storied history. The Orient Express La Dolce Vita offers a new way of experiencing the country: an environmentally-friendly adventure where forgotten roads are explored, hidden treasures discovered and where architectural triumphs take centre stage.
Designed by Dimorestudio, the global architectural and design studio founded by Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran in 2003, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train embodies the Italian art of living and all its beautiful traditions with a more contemporary spirit of travel. The train’s sumptuous decor will adorn 12 Deluxe cabins, 18 Suites, and one Honour Suite and restaurant, all boldly celebrating the craftsmanship, design and creativity of the 1960s and 1970s.
In collaboration with renowned local and international chefs and sommeliers, travellers will experience 5-star service on board, savouring the beauty and excellence of “Made in Italy” through award-winning Italian wines and exclusive haute cuisine. Before departure at the Roma Termini station, the Orient Express executive lounge will welcome passengers offering them a selection of refreshments in a convivial and elegant space, complete with dedicated services and staff to assist them.
The itineraries have been chosen to create unique travel experiences, all capable of awakening our five senses. Most will start in Italy, revealing the wonders of the Alps, the bucolic countryside, or the paradisiacal beaches of southern Italy. In addition, three dedicated itineraries will take you through eight countries, linking Rome to Paris, Istanbul, and Split.
Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale S.p.A explains: “It is a great honour and privilege to work with Orient Express, one of the most prestigious luxury brands in the world. This agreement marks a new stage for our La Dolce Vita trains – a mark of trust and esteem that enriches the Italian tourist offer. We will take travellers to discover new itineraries, to unique places where they will be able to live a ‘Made In Italy’ experience with a warmth entirely our own. The journey itself becomes the destination and Italy have never been so close and sensational.”
Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO Accor, expands: “At Accor, we consider it an immense privilege to re-launch the historic Orient Express brand for passionate and discerning travellers. These trains offer a new vision of luxury travel that is beyond our imagination. Our association with Arsenale Group has opened up new horizons in perfect harmony with the heritage and philosophy of Orient Express, and marks our constant desire to keep moving forward.”
Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles and Orient Express, Accor says: “It is thrilling to be bringing the refined nomadic spirit of Orient Express back to life for a new generation of travellers. The original train route was innovative in the way it paradoxically brought cultures together – the Occident with the Orient, history with modernity. As artisans of travel, we wish to revive this old-world, awe-inspiring ‘journey to elsewhere’ and reconcile certain paradoxes: a journey and a destination, astonishment and inspiration, movement and contemplation. Against the backdrop of breathtaking panoramas and a unique blend of cultures, we are convinced that travellers will have unforgettable experiences in Italy with Orient Express La Dolce Vita.”