The original Orient Express returns after a luxury renovation

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A glamorous reboot of the Orient Express is hitting the tracks in 2024, and the first peek inside its carriages is breathtaking. By Stefanie Waldek

Operated by Orient-Express A brand of the Accor hotel group, this new edition of the mythical luxury train has a link with the past: it includes 17 cars from the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, discovered in Poland in 2015.

The iconic train line has a complex history; the first Orient Express line was inaugurated in 1883, linking Paris and Istanbul (then Constantinople) via trains and ferries. From this time a number of operators used the Orient Express name, traveling on a variety of routes criss-crossing Europe. This included the Nostalgia-Istanbul-Orient-Express, which operated for most of the 1980s and included a long-haul trip from Paris to Tokyo.

This is what the Orient Express looks like after the remodel

Image credit: Maxime d’Angeac/Courtesy of Orient Express, Accor

Today, the Orient Express brand is bringing the Nostalgia-Istanbul-Orient-Express back to life, bringing in French designer Maxime d’Angeac to expertly refurbish and update the original 17 cars.

“By slipping into the shoes of its creators, from René Prou ​​​​to Suzanne Lalique, I have tried to reinterpret the history of this mythical train, not only with nostalgia, but with a desire to prolong its history, to transport to another place. As if it was all just a dream,” d’Angeac said in a statement to the Travel + Leisure.

Train interiors
Image credit: Maxime d’Angeac/Courtesy of Orient Express, Accor

This dreamlike quality is why there is a mixture of asynchronous design styles. In the bar car, four columns with bronze capitals support glass domes in the Second Empire style, under which follow one another a multitude of scalloped banquets. Then, in the dining car, guests experience a classic art deco look inspired by the trains themselves, with mirrored ceilings, marquetry paneling and decorative designs reminiscent of the tapestries of 20th-century illustrator Suzanne Lalique.

Orient express renovation
Image credit: Maxime d’Angeac/Courtesy of Orient Express, Accor

Suites are a bit more contemporary — though they still have a vintage brown and jewel color palette, they play with quirky geometry, square panels, and perspective-shifting circular mirrors adorning the abstract comet-patterned walls on the floor. carpet.

Orient express renovation
Image credit: Maxime d’Angeac/Courtesy of Orient Express, Accor

“Some guests will think that [the train] was built in the 1930s. Others will see that it is a modern interpretation, but we like to play with the notion of time and really blur the line between past and future,” said Guillaume de Saint Lager, vice-president President of Orient Express. Travel + Leisure.

The reinvented Orient Express will make two preview stops in the form of immersive exhibitions, this week in Paris, from October 17 to 21, then in Miami Beach at Design Miami, from November 30 to December 4. And the train itself is scheduled to leave in early 2024.

While waiting for this grand debut, keep an eye out for other upcoming projects from the Orient Express brand: hotels in Rome, Venice and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which will create a whole world of Orient Express-related travel opportunities.

This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com

Main and Feature Image Credit: Maxime d’Angeac/Courtesy of Orient Express, Accor

Related: Luxury travel lovers, take note. Palace On Wheels is back on track and here’s how much it’ll cost you!

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