The Original Orient Express Is Being Turned Into A Travelling Luxury Hotel
— 12 August 2022

The Original Orient Express Is Being Turned Into A Travelling Luxury Hotel

— 12 August 2022
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Although the behemoth hotel company is already set to resurrect to iconic Orient Express name next year with the Orient Express La Dolce Vita, it seems Accor isn’t done revisiting the brand that changed the face of luxury travel throughout the late 1880s. Around 140 years after the train’s first voyage in 1883, the company has announced that the original Orient Express, which consists of around 17 cars and, when it was last in service, formed part of the Nostalgie-Istanbul Orient-Express, will be turned into a lavish luxury hotel now that the convoy has been meticulously restored.

Parisian architect Maxime D’Angeac has been assigned to reimagine the decommissioned train, which now has capacity for 12 sleeping cars, one dedicated to a restaurant and three lounges, as well as one caboose. Details are tight-lipped, but we do know one car will be a “winter garden” of sorts, promising to be as lush and immersive as the scenic train journeys that hotel will embark on.

The all-suites hotel will be designed for function as well, considering the Orient Express Hotel won’t be stationary – it will cruise around the continent to restore glory to the vessel and offer something more than just a few steps above a typical overnighter.

Conde Naste is reporting that the restored Orient Express hotel could even be serving the train’s original routes, reviving the epic railroad journeys of yesteryear, with most of them likey ending in Istanbul. The project is likely to be ready just before the Paris Olympics in 2024, with renders of what the Orient Express hotel will actually look like to be released later this year.

The original Orient Express being resorted

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The bygone era of glamorous train travel will clearly form some sort of theme here, blended with modern tastes and tied together by the train’s Art Deco interior which was once considered the epitome of luxury travel. In reviving the original Orient Express, D’Angeac has been instructed to play chic furnishings against the interior’s original features, from the woodwork and engraved wall motifs to the heritage Lalique glass panels.

D’Angeac has described restoring the “great splendour of the Orient Express” as a technological challenge that has been years in the making, spurred shorty after the original cars were discovered on the border between Belarus and Poland in 2015 by industrial history researcher Arthur Mettetal.

According to Guillaume de Saint Lager, VP of the Orient Express, the idea of the whole refurbishment is the work up a train that is decidedly dislodged from time.

“The idea is to present a fantasy: a train that could have been made today or 100 years ago – with the addition of all the contemporary comforts, of course.”

Right now, the only Orient Express still in operation is Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express trail service, which is considered separate from Accor’s ventures and has been holding down the label’s legacy for many years now.

Reportedly, D’Angeac has been using the train’s historical archives to inform the current project, describing access to sketches, prints of fabrics, marquetry details, drawings and original plans to help with the restoration.

“Following the steps of our predecessors is essential to usher in the new Orient Express.”

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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