Marriott Rewards has a redemption option for Venice Simplon Orient Express luxury train journey using Marriott Rewards points. Regular passage is $3,140 one-way for overnight travel between London and Venice, Italy or the reverse route. London to Venice (or vice versa) one-way Superior Class travel for one passenger aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is 285,000 Marriott Rewards points for one person in a double carriage. Round-trip is 400,000 points for one passenger or $4,710 to purchase a ticket. That is a good redemption value for Marriott Rewards points, but you either need points for two passengers to book a double occupancy cabin or pay for the second passenger.
The Original Orient Express Rail Journey
Murder on the Orient Express is a 1934 Agatha Christie mystery novel featuring her fictional detective Hercule Poirot traveling on the Orient Express luxury sleeper train service from Istanbul to Paris.
The original Orient Express operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits ran train service between Paris and Istanbul from 1883 in a 3-night journey. These were the first sleeping cars and dining cars used for long-distance train travel in Europe. Georges Nagelmackers, Belgian founder of Campagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, was inspired to upgrade train travel in Europe by a trip he made in the USA on Pullman night cars.
There is a hotels connection between Campagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits and Accor Hotels which include luxury brands Sofitel and Pullman. There is also a connection with Carlson Hotels (Radisson, Country Inns & Suites) with Carlson being 55% owner of Carlson-Wagonlit Travel. But those are different stories.
From 1883, the Orient Express operated between Paris and Istanbul in three nights and three times per week in each direction. The Orient Express deployed the first sleeping and dining cars for long-distance train travel in Europe. In 2003, the company restored seven cars of the famous Pullman Orient Express and made it available for tourist events. After 2007, the night sleeper service named Orient Express only operates between Strasbourg and Vienna. Made obsolete by Europe’s high-speed rail network, the Orient Express made its last run on 14 December 2009.
Wikipedia Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits
American businessman James Sherwood purchased and restored historic 1920s and 1930s Pullman rail cars and rail cars from Campagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits in the 1970s and 80s. The first London-Venice train journey was run in 1982.
The company is now owned by luxury travel provider Belmond, which operates hotels, trains and river cruises. The Venice Simplon Orient Express website offers video of the train cabins.
Luxury train travel in the UK and Europe using Marriott points is an option for the well-traveled seeking a unique kind of travel experience. London to Venice one-way or round trip on historic rail cars from the 1920s and 30s provide a taste of travel pre-dating air passenger flights and before high-speed trains.
Marriott Rewards offers rail journeys through Belmond beginning at 85,000 points per person for day travel in Britain, up to 400,000 points for round-trip rail travel between London and Venice.
London-Venice Orient Express travel details
2 Days / 1 Night, from US$3,140 per person (or 285,000 Marriott Rewards points).
The classic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train journey. Depart London mid-morning for your luxurious overnight journey to Venice, where you arrive late afternoon the next day.
Day 1 – Depart London Victoria Station 10:45am.
- Board the Belmond British Pullman train at London Victoria station, your steward will show you to your reserved seat.
- Sit back and enjoy Brunch served with a Bellini as you travel through the Kentish countryside.
- After crossing the Channel board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train.
- Enjoy a delicious four-course dinner, prepared by our skilled French chefs.
- After dinner retire to your cabin, which has now been transformed into a cosy bedroom.
Day 2 – Arrive in Venice, Italy 5:56pm (17:56)
- You awake to the magnificent mountain and countryside scenery as breakfast is served in your cabin at a time to suit you.
- Spend the morning relaxing in your cabin or in the Bar Car chatting to fellow guests.
- Enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch which is served in another one of the beautiful restaurant cars.
- While away the afternoon admiring the passing scenery as the train travels through the Italian Dolomites.
- Later, afternoon tea is served in your cabin.
- All too soon it is time to prepare to disembark as the train crosses the Venetian Lagoon and pulls into Santa Lucia station.
Britain and Southeast Asia Rail Journeys
There are several other luxury rail travel journeys available through Belmond The following trips are available for booking using Marriott Rewards points.
Singapore to Bangkok (or vice versa) one-way Pullman Cabin travel for one passenger aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express for 240,000 Marriott Rewards points. 3 days and 2 nights. Retail price $2,560.
Singapore to Bangkok (or vice versa) one-way State Cabin travel for one passenger aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express for 290,000 Marriott Rewards points. Retail price $3,740.
British Pullman & Northern Belle Journeys
Bath Excursion aboard the British Pullman train, includes round trip travel from London to Bath, tour of Roman baths and supper for 105,000 Marriott Rewards points.
Bath Excursion aboard the steam-hauled British Pullman train, includes round trip travel from London to Bath, tour of Roman baths and supper for 120,000 Marriott Rewards points.
The Golden Age of Travel excursion on the British Pullman. Round trip signature journey through Britain’s glorious countryside for 85,000 Marriott Rewards points.
The Golden Age of Travel excursion on the steam-hauled British Pullman. Round trip signature journey through Britain’s glorious countryside for 105,000 Marriott Rewards points.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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