South America’s first luxury sleeper train is operated by Belmond in Peru and Enigma has spoken to the company to find out more.
Belmond, the company behind exquisite trains such as the Venice Simplon Orient-Express through Europe and Ireland’s Belmond Grand Hibernian train, will offer a train experience across one of the highest rail routes in the world and spectacular views of the nature and landscapes between Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa.
Belmond's Chief Executive Officer, Roeland Vos, said in a recent interview with Luxury Travel Advisor that one project he is very excited about is “the launch of the Belmond Andean Explorer coming up in May” because it will be “like a modern version of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express” – doesn’t this sound very exciting?
When asked how the idea of the train came about, the company advised that Belmond ´saw that there was no offer of a sleeper train connecting the most important tourist destinations in the south of Peru (Cuzco - Puno - Arequipa)´ and after an incredibly amount of research, it was ´concluded that there was indeed a market for´ such a special experience.
The train arrived from Australia by ship last year and after an investment of 10 million dollars will include 20 carriages featuring 11 with cabins, two bars, two restaurants, one spa, two staff, one kitchen as well as one power carriage.
Guests will be able to choose between four separate journeys through the Peruvian highlands, which will reach the maximum height of 4,476 meters above sea level and a maximum distance of 688 kilometers.
1. Peruvian Highlands: Cuzco – Lake Titicaca – Arequipa city (2 nights, 3 days)
2. Andean Plains and Islands of Discovery: Arequipa – Lake Titicaca – Cuzco (2 nights, 2 days)
3. Spirit of the Water: Cuzco – Puno (1 night, 1 day)
4. Spirit of Andes: Puno – Cuzco (1 night, 1 day)
A total of 48 passengers can be accommodated in the 24 cabins including 2 deluxe double bed cabins, 6 junior double bed cabins, 11 twin bed cabins and 5 cabins with bunk bed. And unlike the olden days of luxury rail travel, these bedrooms all come with their own en-suite toilet and shower.
Interior designs, by Inge Moore of The Gallery HBA, are inspired by the texture of Peru’s hand-woven fabrics and the soft tones of the Alpaca wool blended with Andean slate greys create a sense of calm enabling guests to unplug, relax and enjoy the ride.
Looking after the well-being of each guest will be a team of 35 well-trained professionals, working as waiters, barmen, maîtres, cooks in the kitchen and housekeepers.
Considering Peru´s reputation as ´world’s most exciting culinary destination´ of the moment, food will of course also play an important role and the breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner menus have been hand-craftedby the Chef´s of the Belmond Monasterio Hotel in Cusco. The menus all feature fresh, colorful and seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes.
The Observation and Lounge carriages will be the perfect place to unwind, meet new friends and enjoy the views. Breath in the Andean air from the open deck of the Observation carriage as the train travels through the ever-changing landscape. Or share a lively story from the day’s adventures and enjoy a refreshing Pisco Sour by the bar.
Ticket prices will start from $480 per person a night up to $2065 per person per night based on double occupancy and including all meals, open bar and scheduled excursions.
The new luxury sleeper train option will be replacing the existing Andean Explorer Peru Rail day train, which currently serves Cusco – Puno and will stop operating by end of April 2017. The Belmond Andean Explorer is owned by PeruRail, a 50/50 joint venture between Belmond and Peruvian investors, but will be operated under the ´Belmond´ brand.
Crossing the Andes from Cusco to Puno, passing by Lake Titicaca, and then to Arequipa by car is already an unforgettable experience all on its own but doing it aboard a train while sipping a cocktail and enjoying elevated local cuisines truly will make this an once-in-a-lifetime adventure.