The Orient Express may date back more than a century, but it’s certainly chugging along with the times.
The famed train service, which is helmed by French hospitality group Accor, will soon undergo a major makeover to ready it for discerning travelers of the future. The Orient Express 2.0, which is set to debut in 2025, has just been teased in a series of new images and will be fully revealed at upcoming exhibitions in Paris and Miami.
At first blush, the luxurious locomotive oozes glitz and glamor just like its predecessor. Historic carriages from the first Orient Express trains that Georges Nagelmacker launched in the late 1800s have been entirely reimagined by Maxime d’Angeac. The French architect has worked on a number of projects for luxury houses, such as Daum, Hermès and Guerlain, over the past 20 years, and thus brings a wealth of experience to this new endeavor.
“This is the reinterpretation of a legendary train, conceived as a new embassy of French luxury, sublimated by the know-how and talents of the best French craftsmen,” the architect said in a statement.
Taking cues from the 1920s, the dramatic interior is characterized by a rich color palette, velvet furnishings, eye-catching light fixtures and plush carpets. The Bar Car is set under large domes of light inspired by the Second Empire style and features a glass counter that doubles as a tribute to French jeweler René Lalique. Each table in the space also sports a special clock that rings at cocktail and dinner times, along with one call button for Champagne and another for staff.
Elsewhere, the decadent Dining Car has a few subtle nods to previous Orient Express trains. Partitions in the car, for example, showcase a reinterpretation of a “rail” motif that Suzanne Lalique-Haviland conceived in the 1930s. Outfitted with a striking mirrored ceiling, the carriage is also adorned with wrap-around armchairs, tables and lampshades that mirror the original furnishings.
When it’s time to catch some Zs, the upscale suites will provide solace. Each offers a large bed with an intricately embroidered headboard, a generous sofa, a bathroom and a dressing room. The famous Lalique “Blackbirds & Grapes” panels from the original Orient Express train are also displayed in the space, alongside handsome wood and leather partitions.
The “Orient Express Revelation“ exhibition will be in Paris from October 17 to 21, then Design Miami in Miami Beach from November 30 through December 4. If the train’s 2025 launch date feels too far away, Accor’s Orient Express La Dolce Vita is set to make its first voyage throughout Italy in 2023.
Click here for more images of the train.