By Cacinda Maloney
The Luxury Rocky Mountaineer Train
When searching for the most over-the-top, fantastic experience in luxury train travel, I knew that the Rocky Mountaineer train was the place to start. Especially since it is the largest privately owned, luxury tourist train in the world. I was ready to see what they had to offer on a full-on, luxury vacation. When I am talking about luxury travel, I am talking about fully customizable vacations that cater to each families/couples needs at services that are considered to be the worlds best.
The Rocky Mountaineer train has no problem handling the elite travelers of the world. In fact, they offer over 45 different travel packages and five different scenic routes on their world-renowned luxury trains. Working hard over the years, they have defined their personal goal “to provide the most spectacular and unforgettable travel experience in the world” according to their website. I like it when a travel company makes that their mission!
Often times I talk about ‘value luxury’, which for the most part, is how I have traveled for 20+ years. I enjoy adventure, culture, history and the great outdoors, but by the time I get ready to settle in for the night, I am looking for luxury that has value. I have to admit there are times, though, when I splurge and get the entire experience that I cannot find when using my ‘value luxury’ model. It is during these times, that I make sure to use my airline points for flights so that I am maximizing my dollars spent per vacation.
I believe that Rocky Mountaineer has the experience to make your luxury train trip a reality.
The Luxury Rocky Mountaineer Train
Rocky Mountaineer Train offer two levels of service, RED and GOLD, but here we will be talking only about the GOLD level service: In 1885, pioneers rode the great eastern railway seeking their fortune in gold and started the historical BC Gold Rush! With this in mind, the Rocky Mountaineer Train is now seeking a different kind of gold rush by marketing their additional deluxe amenities that are offered:
Gold Leaf Service:
- Two-level coaches with the top level being a panoramic glass-dome.
- An exclusive dining room to eat hot, gourmet meals cooked by chefs. They use locally sourced food, served on china plates at a table, instead of a tray. They have two meal sittings to choose your three-course meal.
- Comfortable, wide and reclining seating with drop down tables.
- Downstairs has a spiral staircase and bathrooms.
- Unparalleled services with complimentary alcohol flowing and continuous snacks.
- Outdoor viewing platform for fresh air and reflection-free photography.
- Plush accommodations in popular hotels upon arrival with transfers and luggage delivered to your room.
Even today, Rocky Mountaineer Train is refurbishing their coach trains that are already considered world class. Their focus will be on rider comfort technologies, such as state of the art electrical seats with lumbar and calf supports, electric outlet and USB ports for personal electronic devices (hi five on that one!). They will also improve interior design, lighting, plumbing, electrical work, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. They have put the largest capital investment in their 25-year history to revitalize 16 Gold Leaf cars, which should be completed in 2018. Basically this means the comforts will become even more splendid!
The Luxury Rocky Mountaineer Train: Over-The-Top Luxury Excursions
Alaska – Combining an Alaskan cruise with the Rocky Mountaineer is a brilliant idea! The Alaskan cruise is another “trip of a lifetime” to add to the Rocky Mountaineer Train ride thru the Rockies on Holland America. You will see Glacier Bay on an inside passage cruise.
Banff – The Banff Sightseeing Gondola is located just 5 minutes from the Town of Banff. You will be sitting in a 4 passenger, glass enclosed gondola over the unsurpassed view of Banff at almost 7500 feet. You can also go out on the observation deck. Banff Skywalk (a 1km self-guided walkway) to the Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.
As part of the sightseeing day between Banff and Calgary, a stop is made between these two locations in Kananaskis with a 12-minute Summit Helicopter tour, just 7,546 feet above sea level!
Lake Louise – Travel by coach along one of North America’s most scenic highways, the Ice fields Parkway. En route to Lake Louise, join an Ice Explorer excursion on Athabasca glacier and walk on the Glacier Skywalk.
Vancouver – Take the Sky ride Gondola up to Grouse Mountain. Not to be missed is the Capilano Suspension Bridge while in Vancouver. You can also do Zodiac rafting, tearing into the waters of Vancouver at 55 mph with wind blowing thru your hair!
Whistler – Take the Peak 2 Peak Alpine Experience – A 20-minute gondola ride to the top of Whistler Mountain. It is an engineering marvel that connects the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains via 4.4 kilometer, 436 meters high gondola ride. Venice would be jealous.
The Luxury Rocky Mountaineer Train: Luxury Hotels
Fairmont Hotels are great to stay in when taking a Rocky Mountaineer Train, as they are scattered around at many of the destinations that Rocky Mountaineer travels. They have a Fairmont President’s Club which provides benefits like complimentary internet, preferred check-in, and programs like Fairmont Fit at most of their hotels. And the best part – There is no charge to join and you can do it online here. (Value Luxury!)
- Vancouver: Fairmont has three hotels in Vancouver: The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront, and Fairmont Pacific Rim and like most sisters, they are very different from each other. But, in each they have complimentary BMW bicycles available for guests. I stayed at the Fairmont Vancouver and can vouch for its excellent location, old world elegance and its “castle in the city”reputation. I had a chance to go for a spa treatment at the Pacific Rim and can tell you it is a “do not miss spa” experience at the Willow Stream Spa and the views from the outdoor 5th floor lounge and jacuzzi are fantastic!
- Victoria, BC The Fairmont Empress on Vancouver Island is also famous for their afternoon tea. They can offer harbor-to-harbor helicopter service with Helijet. It is a beautiful scenic flight over the Gulf Islands that takes approximately 25 minutes.
- Banff: The Fairmont Banff Springs, is an iconic, castle-like hotel and is nestled in the mountains of Banff, yet is walking distance to the cozy town. They also have an amazing spa with access to mineral pools/steam room/lounge. It is pure Heaven!
- Lake Louise: The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is situated right on the edge of the lake and offers a serene stay. It is that photo of a hotel that you have dreamed about all your life!
So there you have it, a list of luxury excursions and hotels when you choose too vacation in the lap of luxury with the Rocky Mountaineer Train ride across Canada. Put this one the bucket list!
Disclosure: I was hosted by Rocky Mountaineer and Fairmont on my stay while visiting Vancouver to Banff, Canada this year.
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