This is your chance to relive all the grandeur of the Grand Tours of yesteryear, once embarked on by the British landed gentry. You’ll start by travelling on the world’s most iconic train, enjoying multi-course fine dining and sipping bar-car cocktails as you wind from London, through France and over the Alps to Verona. Here, you’ll be met by a private driver and whisked to your accommodation on the shores of Lake Como. Staying in a 20th-century grand dame, it’s the chance to explore historic villas and fishing-village idylls before returning for some private-beach relaxation in the sun.
Your journey begins at Victoria Station in the heart of London, where you'll board the British Pullman for the journey south to Folkestone. Onboard, you'll be treated to your first taste of travel's golden age, brought to life by means of a sumptuous Bellini-paired brunch as the Kent Countryside rushes past. Then, after a channel-tunnel hop to Calais, you’ll be welcomed aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express by your personal steward, settling into your polished-wood private cabin before changing for dinner. It’s an extravagant, multi-course affair served among Lalique glasswork and capped by bar-car drinks.
Lunch & Dinner included
With your compartment converted to plush berths as you dined the night before, you’ll awake well rested this morning, enjoying views of the Swiss Alps and a Continental breakfast served in the intimacy of your cabin. As the scenery levels out, you’ll have some time to admire rural Italy before it’s time for the next of your indulgent meals – a three-course lunch.
Then, arriving in Verona, consider pausing to explore its pretty piazzas and thousand-year-old Roman amphitheatre before your private transfer whisks you on to Lake Como. It’s a scenic drive, bringing you along the lake’s mountain-backed shores to arrive at your opulent hotel.
Stay: Villa d'Este, Lake Como
Breakfast & Lunch included
You’ll have four nights to rest up in the lap of luxury, staying in an Art Nouveau icon that, with a century-old history, has won high praise from legendary actress Greta Garbo. Indeed, it showcases the best views over the glittering Lake Como from an array of superb facilities.
Expect everything from fine-dining terraces and private-balcony, lake-view rooms to a private beach, infinity spa and even a pool floating in the lake. But, you’ll also want to explore the nearby medieval castles, church towns and impossibly grand 18th-century villas. The most evocative way to see it all? From a Venetian water taxi, departing from your hotel’s private marina.
Stay: Villa d'Este, Lake Como
After a last indulgent breakfast, a final private transfer will see you the short distance to Milan. While you’ll be brought to the airport for your flight home, consider lingering a little longer to take in the city’s stunning Gothic cathedral, luxury boutiques and, yes, Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
"Perhaps the ultimate mini-moon, here I've combined the world's greatest rail journey with truly romantic cities and staggeringly beautiful landscapes. After multi-course dining and champagne indulgences on board the train (for the ultimate treat, I'd recommend an upgrade to a Grand Suite), a stay at a luxury Lake Como hotel right on its glittering edge is the perfect way to relax – after a day spent strolling through Verona, of course. There's also time to explore stylish Milan – which is sure to end your holiday in the most glamorous of ways."
Oct & Dec 2023 from: £6,330 pp
Apr & Nov 2023 from: £7,685 pp
The Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express operates between Mar and Nov