Luxury train travel might just be the best way to travel. Luxury train trips are popular as romantic getaways for honeymoons and anniversaries, luxury business trips while entertaining clients, or simply a lavish sojourn for a well-needed retreat. Luxury American train travel via US railroads is still a popular option and one that affords an extravagant lifestyle aboard myriad different trains. Luxury train vacation perks offer passengers dozens of ways to relax, unwind, and enjoy the journey while also enjoying culinary delights, extravagant and spacious accommodations, onboard spa treatments, and a host of other delightful amenities.
One of the biggest benefits of luxury train travel is, by far, the view. Though first-class passengers might be traveling on a train that has many seating classes, and clearly traveling the exact same route, the views from the train are exquisite from first class. Dome cars are popular types of train cars that have a clear, curved dome on top, providing 180 degrees of pure scenery. The panoramic views presented with dome cars, like those on the Alaska Railroad, afford exquisite passing scenery and a close-up look at an array of flora and fauna. Cars sit higher than regular train cars and are reminiscent of an aquarium. Often dome cars enjoyed during luxury American train travel have adjacent, private dining areas below that also have large, picturesque windows.
First-Class or GoldStar is what luxury seating is called aboard many US trains. When the revered American Orient Express was still in service (it was decommissioned in 2009) an excursion aboard was a quintessential luxury train vacation. Millions of dollars had gone into a full restoration layering each of the fifteen cars in pure elegance. Huge sleeper cars, plenty of gold, brass, and silver touches, a variety of rich wood trimmings and furniture, and a host of refined textiles adorned each car like a luxury hotel room. Today, many luxury trains aspire to be as indulgent as the American Orient Express, but so far none have surpassed its offer.
Though many trains do offer First-Class seats, private trains have the most grandiose luxury backdrops. A luxury train vacation is available by private rail cars in many major cities including Chicago, Houston, and New York City. Luxury train travel in Chicago aboard the privately owned Royal Street rail car is an unforgettable journey. The historic, 1959 Pullman car, built for Louisville & Nashville Railroad, is restored and now features five bedrooms, several private baths, onboard meal service, multiple observation areas, and high-tech gear. Other services included in luxury train travel aboard private cars include freshly brewed tea and coffee, laundry service, hand-delivered newspapers, and even fully stocked libraries. You’d hardly know you were on a train save for the passing scenery.
Luxury train travel aboard the famous Grand Canyon Railway is one of the most breathtaking ways to take Grand Canyon tours. Luxury Parlor Class seating is exclusive and lavish. Elegance permeates each parlor car which is equipped with large, plush, lounge seating. The platform off the back of each parlor car has an open-air viewing area and inside, the private bar with attentive staff pour premium drinks for guests. First-class service also means fresh pastries and fruit, hot coffee and tea, snacks, and champagne on the way back to the Williams depot.
Amtrak, the biggest passenger rail company in the United States, runs 34 routes cross-country and offers a choice of first-class seating. Though not nearly as luxurious as private trains are, first-class is considered luxury American train travel on Amtrak’s trains. Some of the most popular trains include the California Zephyr that travels from Chicago to San Francisco, and the Empire Builder which heads from Chicago to either Seattle or Portland. First-class seating includes meals, newspapers, towel service, bottled water, and an accessible attendant.