31 December 2009
The Maharajas’ Express is the newest luxury train in India and the first of its kind to offer journeys across the whole country. And trust us, it’s a world apart from Network Rail.
Offering four itineraries of six and seven nights, The Maharajas’ Express takes passengers to some of the most exotic destinations in India, including Mumbai, Vadodara, Udaipur (voted the best city in the world in Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2009 World’s Best Awards), Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park, Agra (home to the majestic Taj Mahal), Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi, to name just a few.
Transported from the train in anything from super deluxe coaches to luxury cars (depending on your cabin class), guests enjoy guided tours at each destination. And because this is the last word in Raj-like extravagance, tours include the likes of a champagne lunch watching elephant polo in Jaipur, a sumptuous high tea at the LaxmiVilas Palace in Vadodara, and travelling for sundowners in the sand dunes of Bikaner by decorated and canopied camel cart, accompanied by a troop of musicians. Better still, your complimentary sightseeing kit comes with bottle coolers, ‘shoe uppers’ and authentic pith helmets – useful, one supposes, when tracking tigers in Ranthambore.
The train itself has a total of 23 coaches, with four distinct configurations. There are five carriages for Deluxe Cabins, six for Junior Suites, two for Suites and one Presidential Suite with a carriage to itself. All come with individual temperature controls (the first of their kind in India), lcd televisions, dvd players, direct dial telephones, internet access and large panoramic windows. A team of well groomed butlers – one for each carriage – is on hand to assist you in anything from laying out your tux (dinner is a formal affair) to working the dvd remote.
There are two fine-dining restaurants, a smart wood-paneled bar offering complimentary Indian beers, wines, spirits and snacks, a high-end boutique for those who love to shop and an observation lounge with its own bar, game tables and comfortable armchairs.
Ever wondered what it would feel like to live like a Maharaja? Well now you can find out.