Published: 8th May 2014
Sleeper services in Britain are run by Scotrail and First Great western using 30 year old carriages, which while offering privacy and a decent night’s sleep, are absolutely no match for the Belmond Royal Scotsman, a luxury private train which carries a few sleeping cars.
Belmond is the rebranded Orient Express owned marque and includes the Royal Scotsman which meanders around Scotland carrying no more than 36 passengers in luxury. The Royal Scotsman has one round-Britain tour a year but a new Scottish version is about to get underway.
The five day Scottish ‘Golf Tour’ starts from Edinburgh on May 18 and September 22 taking ‘guests’ through the Scottish Highlands to the far north in pampered luxury between prestigious courses. These are The Royal Dornoch, the UK’s most northerly championship course, Castle Stuart Golf Links where the Scottish Open has been held for the last three years and the Cruden Bay Golf Club.
Given the cost of the tickets, passengers can expect a ‘free’ lunch, no green fees and a pull cart. What is extra, is golf club hire and a caddy. Additional extras include a night at the 2014 Ryder Cup’s location, the Gleneagles Hotel and Spa, before the first departure.
The carriages are 50 year old BR built stock which have all undergone a huge rebuilding and conversion and is now really a travelling country house and now resembles an Edwardian gentleman’s train. They are branded with a crest of The Great Scottish & Western Railway Company and the carriages turned out in a maroon livery.
It is also the only UK train to boast an open verandah on the observation car for travellers to enjoy the stunning Scottish scenery. This saloon also has comfortable interior seating from which to enjoy the scenic routes to the Kyle of Lochalsh and through the Cairngorms National Park, whilst perhaps enjoying Scottish whiskies from the bar!
Sleeping accommodation is all in en-suite cabins with a personal steward service for the journey. And there’s not just silver service, the travelling Chef is of a Michelin standard who prepares authentic Scottish dishes.
You’ve guessed by now that this is not a trip for the feint hearted so far as cost is concerned! Tickets start at £5,350 per person which is based on two people sharing a twin cabin. The extra night at Gleneagles will cost a £500 supplement.
Belmond is the new name for anything that ran under the Orient-Express banner including the Northern Belle, Orient Express in Europe and the British Pullman in the UK. The company began operations in 1976 and is now a world-wide travel brand.
Where does the name Belmond originate from? It seems that it is derived from the Latin for ‘beautiful ‘ and ‘world’ and represents a continued commitment to creating authentic travel experiences spanning city landmarks, intimate resorts and unique travel adventures.
The company says that it offers discerning travellers exceptional service, unforgettable memories, surprising adventures and a sense of the unique remains integral to the spirit of Belmond. The company operates many hotels worldwide and six luxury tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
For those that can afford to travel with them, no doubt the memories will remain forever, for those that can’t, then the dreaming on will carry on forever!
And don’t forget, West Coast Railways is running a luxury dining train service in conjunction with The Ryder Cup event this Autumn. These trains will make a great way to beat the traffic associated with Ryder Cup events.