Insights+

Glamour and Intrigue Aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express

On Thursday, the 2nd of November, the 2017 film version of “Murder on the Orient Express” received its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A galaxy of stars populated the 1974 original screen version, and forty-three years later a prestigious stellar cast will add a new lustre to the gripping intrigue of Agatha Christie’s 1934 classic fictional novel. Naturally the film is set to regenerate interest amongst aficionados of authentic luxury rail experiences, who will be inspired to board one of the most luxurious trains in the world, the mere mention of this film and your thoughts and mental imagery immediately transport you into a world of glamour and luxury that evokes the golden age of travel.

The stunning cabins aboard Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are completely timeless, from the polished wood to the sumptuous upholstery, every detail is gleaming with original craftsmanship. It is a stage upon which the passengers are the stars, and those seeking that celluloid moment will be delighted by the news that even more luxurious accommodations are soon to be revealed. Receiving their own premiere in 2018 on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are the Grand Suites designed exclusively for Belmond by Wimberly Interiors.

How do you approach the invention of three grand suites aboard the most luxurious train carriages in the world? With more than 25 major international hospitality designs in 2016 alone and winners of over 60 awards and accolades, Wimberly Interiors were thrilled to be selected to work on such a prestigious project that would require such phenomenal attention to detail and a deep understanding of the vision of the Belmond brand.

Just as Poirot, the world’s greatest detective, would piece together a solution, the Wimberly Interiors’ team, led by Rachel Johnson, set about piecing together a bespoke design concept for the highly original Grand Suites, reflecting three of the train’s most famous destinations. Paris, Istanbul, and Venice, transported to the trifecta of dream travel experiences aboard the ultimate train. Meticulous planning of the suites resulted in three distinct personalities subtly and deftly executed with authenticity and style while cleverly creating a sense of place.

“It was extremely important when developing the design concept, that we embraced the unique story and history of the Belmond brand. To capture the epitome of classic luxury travel that the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express exudes,” comments Rachel Johnson, Vice President and London Studio Director, Wimberly Interiors. “We focused on moments within each city, inspiring visual cues and the overall Belmond guest experience. It was an exciting challenge to use this inspiration to recreate the essence of Art Deco glamour in a graceful and timeless design.”

The Paris Suite takes inspiration from the city’s love of the art deco movement, haute couture, and gastronomic excellence channelled into the design of elegant furnishings, delicate fabrics, and Lalique crystal panels. The Venice Suite references the grandeur of its namesake through damask silks, blue and silver hues, Murano Glass Chandeliers, traditional Venetian mirrors, and an antique tapestry which combine to evoke a true sense of a baroque and renaissance city. The rich patterning of the Topkapi Palace, the Ottoman era, and the Grand Bazaar are all evidenced in the sumptuous Istanbul Suite. Marquetry panels accented with mother of pearl, amber crystal, and embossed leather nod with refined opulence to the exotic power of east meets west.

A new generation of filmgoers are likely to be inspired in the coming months to book their own unique and special travel experience. Gliding across Europe, the only thing even vaguely murderous will be choosing which Grand Suite to travel in. Whichever you decide you’ll feel like a Count or a Princess as you take up residence in a space of ultimate luxury design that will transport you to another place and time.