From South Africa to Japan, here what it’s like to travel one some of the world’s most luxurious trains.
Seven Stars in Kyushu
Japan’s ultraluxe rail line traverses the dramatic mountainous island of Kyushu, stopping at the rustic town of Yufuin, a destination famous for its hot springs.
Every detail is considered in the Seven Stars’ passenger suites. The walls feature Kumiko latticework, made by local craftsmen in Okawa, Fukuoka, without the use of nails. The sinks, meanwhile, were created by the late Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, a celebrated potter.
In the dining car, extensive rich wood detailing, from the chevron parquet pearwood floors to the coffered, arched ceiling, competes with epic views of Japan’s countryside.
Rovos Rail in South Africa
South Africa’s Rovos Rail has one of the largest fleets of refurbished trains from the late 1960s and early ’70s, and operates painstakingly restored vintage coaches.
Given the spatial limitations of a train coach, transforming one into a luxurious sleeper is no easy feat, requiring all kinds of architectural strategizing.
Period details abound on the Rovos coaches, including the carved-teak pillars of the dining car, which emulate the design of a 1924 train restored by the South African firm.
Al Andalus in Spain
The Al Andalus traverses southern Spain’s scenic Andalusian region, departing from Seville (or Grenada) and stopping at various gastronomic and cultural destinations.
Several of the coaches used for the Al Andalus were originally built in the 1920s and welcomed British monarchs traveling from Calais, France, to the Riviera. The interiors have a mix of period details, like the metalwork and lighting, and Belle Epoque–inspired flourishes.
Andean Explorer in Peru
Traveling through the highlands of Peru, the Andean Explorer overlooks dramatic terrain, from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. A bar car with panoramic windows and an open-air observation deck provides an ideal vantage point.
The wood paneling, bronze details, and elegant geometry of the ceiling of the dining car summon the Pullman trains of the 1920s, the inspiration behind the Andean Explorer’s design.
Golden Eagle through the Ural Mountains
The Golden Eagle’s Trans-Siberian Express tour travels through the Ural Mountains, across the steppe, and around Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake.
The Golden Eagle’s bar car is fit for a czar, with traditional Russian furnishings, including crystal from the centuries-old Dyatkovo factory and ceramics from the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg.
Like what you’re reading ?Subscribe to our top stories.