The Belmond Grand Express: Ireland's Answer to the Orient Express
The appreciation of grandness is an acquired skill. A priceless antique to one person may be viewed as just an old chair to another person. After mentioning the term, “The Orient Express,” one can only elicit an extreme guess as to how such a term may be received in the 21st century. Would the Millennial demographic even know the term? Another person may be only able to think of societal clichés pertaining to mystery novels, movies, and greater entertainment culture. The real Orient Express began as a standard rail service in the 19th century. It’s earned renown as a luxury rail car service did not manifest itself until later, but the mythology had by then taken on a life of its own. In fact, since the original heyday of the famed Orient Express, the contemporary standard for grandeur and excellence in hospitality service on a rail car of elegance has been often imitated, but never capable of surpassing the mystique of the original.
Belmond, the globally recognized hotel, and hospitality curator may have just obsoleted and modernized the term, “Orient Express, as a synonym for luxury on the rails. Introduce yourself to the 21st-century analog for the 19th century Orient Express: The Belmond Grand Hibernian, which is Ireland’s first luxury rail carriage service. “Hibernia, “is a contemporary variation of an ancient Latin word that was once used as a reference for, “Ireland.” Which is appropriate for the Belmond Grand Hibernian’s retro-nostalgic décor and atmosphere hearkens back to the glamorous past of luxury rail service to modernize the experience for the future.
Tourism In Ireland
Tourism is big business in Ireland. Well over 8 million people visited Ireland in 2015. Belmond aspires to capitalize on those numbers by offering the most elegant and luxurious rail carriage experience since the Orient Express. Belmond is known for operating other standard and luxury railcar services in Europe, including the Venice-Simplon line, the UK’s own Pullman Line and the Royal Scotsman to name a few. The route name of the Belmond Grand Hibernian’s inaugural service will be called the “Legends and Loughs,” line. The train will traverse scenic tours of the most beautiful cities in Ireland like Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Coleraine, among others. For an added touch of mystique, each rail car on the Belmond Grand Hibernian is named after a county in Ireland. For example, the observation car is named, “Kildare.” On the Legends and Loughs route tour, there will be local excursions to cities such as Blarney Castle, Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher.
Every item of wooden furniture on the train was sourced from Irish forests and land. The interior design was commissioned by James Park Associates. The carpentry and paneling on the train are all adorned and decorated with Celtic knot symbols. Passengers will be able to visit places like iconic golf courses, landmarks made famous by the residencies of famous Irish writers and artists, patronize local gourmet and luxe dining restaurants, the Middleton distillery and much more. Every night after the dinner in the Kildare car, there will be music performed on indigenous Irish instruments and spoken-word performances concerning Irish folklore, tales, and myths. The Belmond Grand Hibernian will operate for only 9 weeks in 2016 with service starting in late August and commencing in late October. There will be 20 trips in total in the inaugural period of routes. In total, there are 10 rail carriages on the train, with 5 sleeping carriages, 2 dining carriages, and an observation deck.
Passengers can purchase two-day, four-day or six-day journey packages for the Belmond Grand Hibernian. Tickets can be purchased in accommodation package tiers ranging from $3,300, $5,600 and $8,600. Ticket prices include full cabin suite accommodations, all meals, entertainment, local activities and scenic off-train excursions. The Belmond Grand Hibernian inaugural route season is already 85 percent sold out with most customers coming from Australia, the United States, the U.K., Germany, and France. Belmond has high hopes for the Belmond Grand Hibernian and their goal of re-establishing the allure of a 5-star luxury hotel experience on the rails for the 21st century.