Launching in June, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train, will travel to the Ligurian coast for the very first time in its four-decade history, connecting the two iconic destinations of Paris and Portofino.
This new, annual overnight journey will see the train winding through the French countryside and along the coastline of the Mediterranean Riviera, concluding at Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino, where guests will reside for two nights. Steeped in history and glamour, Splendido offers a cinematic escape perched in the hills overlooking Portofino. Here, Jean Imbert, the legendary train’s renowned Michelin-recognised chef, will host a special culinary evening with a bespoke tasting menu in a gastronomic ode to this new voyage.
As the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express departs Paris on Thursday 20 June, guests are invited to step aboard and soak up the Art Deco ambience of their accommodation of choice. With the recent addition of eight new Suites, the train now offers a trio of cabin categories to suit every traveller, from the Historic Cabins, where a daytime lounge magically transforms into cosy upper and lower berth beds; and the lavish new Suites, offering twin or double beds with marble ensuite bathrooms; to the Grand Suites, six vast private suites that nod back to the golden age of travel in true 1920s grandeur, each taking inspiration from Europe’s most alluring cities: Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.
After settling in and enjoying a French goûter in their cabins, guests will gather in Bar Car 3674 for handcrafted cocktails and live music by the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express’ resident pianist. As the train winds past the cities of Dijon, Lyon and Avignon, a new summer menu by Michelin-starred chef Jean Imbert will be served in restaurant cars Côte d’Azur, L’Oriental, and Étoile du Nord. Accompanying each course are handpicked wines from the train’s extensive collection, a homage to Europe’s finest appellations.
After dinner, it’s back to the iconic livery of Bar Car 3674, where drinks will flow and The Uppertones – an energetic three-man-band of trombone, vocals, piano, and drums playing Swing, Boogie and Calypso tunes, will play long into the night.
The next morning, an indulgent continental breakfast will be served in the privacy of the cabins, to the backdrop of spectacular coastal views as the railway connects France with Italy, moving past the famous towns of Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo. As the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express gracefully crosses the Italian border, guests can admire the vibrant cities of Ventimiglia, Savona, and Genoa, the former capital of one of the world’s most powerful maritime republics.
In this final leg of the journey, a delicious brunch will be served before arriving in Santa Margherita Ligure where the train experience ends, but the Italian sojourn continues at Splendido.