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Travel and Leisure on the Orient Express

Scenic Italian village in the Alps as seen from a train like the Orient Express


As we anticipate the launch of our Travel and Leisure luxury linens collection, and as the world opens up again, we are definitely feeling the travel bug here at Sobel Westex. That got us thinking about some of the most classic and romantic travel destinations and adventures of a lifetime that await travelers around the world. 

Beloved by generations of luxury travelers, the train route called the Orient Express, and made famous by mystery writer Agatha Christie, is one of these, and certainly a wonderful voyage to enjoy for those who like to watch the world go by from the window of a luxury train. This legendary train adventure began well over a century ago, and can still be enjoyed today by those who want to relive this classic and most elegant rail adventure.

The Story of the Orient Express Luxury Rail Travel

Afternoon tea service aboard a luxury train like the Orient Express

The classic European rail line travels an epic route through the stunning Alps mountain range in France, Switzerland and Italy and visits many of the greatest cities of Europe, with its longest route stretching from Paris to Istanbul. The line began service in 1883, with Its original route through the great cities of Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna and Budapest, and its southern route through Lausanne, Milan, Venice, Belgrade and Sofia both terminated in the exotic port city of Istanbul. Other routes came and went over time, including the Simplon line through the Simplon Pass in Switzerland, and the Arlberg line, which went as far as Athens, Greece. These routes running through the heart of old Europe, discontinued during times of war and with minor route alterations through the years.

Luxurious Accommodations Aboard the Orient Express

The heyday of luxury train travel was really thanks to the creative work of George Pullman who introduced state of the art luxury train cars in 1864 in Great Britain. Pullman cars featured luxurious parlors, dining areas and sleeping cabins. The cars had leather seats, mahogany furniture and velvet curtains. Meals were served with crystal glassware and silver cutlery, and guests slept on silk sheets, and enjoyed marble and bronze fixtures in their bath facilities. Pullman partnered with Belgian entrepreneur, Georges Nagelmackers, and together they put the Pullman cars into service with the goal to link Europe West to East in a single rail line. The exceptional comfort and service of these cars became the standard for luxury rail travel across Europe for decades to come, and the Orient Express line became a must-do destination for the elite.

During its heyday before the turn of the 20th century, travel on the Orient Express was a favorite of the rich and connected. The famous train was enjoyed by royalty, the aristocracy and high society as it became a must for those who wanted to feel they had reached the height of luxury travel and adventure. Meals were elegant, offering delicacies like foie gras and caviar. The Orient Express was, and still remains, a luxurious and leisurely journey with first class service and accommodations, fine cuisine and plenty of time for socializing among the travelers.

A Murder Mystery Beloved by Train Enthusiasts Worldwide

Silhouette of mustached man with magnifying glass a detective at work

Attractive male silhouette in hat looking with magnifying glass showing small korean heart gesture. Man searching sales or discounts at sunset using loupe with urban view. Investigation concept

Anyone familiar with the Orient Express has probably seen a movie or TV dramatization of Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. It is one of the most famous and intriguing of her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot novels. The beautiful details of the Orient Express passenger cars and the awe inspiring landscapes along the route are described in realistic detail since Agatha Christie herself rode the Orient Express. She reportedly wrote part of the famous novel while staying in Istanbul.

All Aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Venice, Italy. Scenic panoramic view of the Grand Canal with Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. Venice in the sunlight. Panorama of Venice in summer. Cityscape and landscape of sunny Venice.

Temporarily discontinued in 1977 as air travel increased, the Orient Express was refurbished and reborn in 1982 as the Venice Simplon Orient Express. The drilling of the Simplon Tunnel in Switzerland, the longest tunnel in the world at the time it was completed in 1906, gave the luxurious train voyage a new route, one that is still used today  The tunnel shortens the rail route through Europe and includes stunning Alpine vistas dotted with quaint, picturesque Swiss villages. The original Orient Express was finally retired in 2009.

But, the romance is not dead. Travelers today can book luxury tickets on the refurbished and upgraded luxury Venice Simplon-Orient-Express line. These days, luxury travelers have the chance to relive the decadent voyage that is like a visit to the past, but with modern comforts, great wine and gourmet meals. The pricey tickets are booked out well in advance for this one of a kind adventure. 

Travel and Leisure Linens Bring Top Travel Destinations Home

Sobel Westex Travel and Leisure line of luxury linens cover image with travel photos

If you aren’t quite ready to jet off to Paris to join other elegant passengers on the Orient Express, you can enjoy our new Travel and Leisure linens at home. This exciting new collection, collated in partnership with the experts at Travel + Leisure Co., will feature designs that reflect world class destinations beloved by luxury travelers, and places where Sobel Westex linens provide comfort and relaxation in the luxury hotels and resorts the visitors enjoy. When your travels come to a stop, furnish your home with some of the same soft, restful pillows, luxury sheets, plush, absorbent towels and more that you remember from your travels. Bon voyage, and sign up for news on new arrivals from our beautiful new travel and leisure collection today. Shop any of our exciting themed collections anytime at

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