Look inside the VERY luxurious Orient Express train launching in Paris in 2024

Agatha Christie would be impressed.

Stunning designs have been unveiled for re-imagined interiors of an Orient Express train being restored to its former glory, including an ultra-luxurious new Presidential Suite.   

The iconic train is synonymous with glamour and is featured in the author’s timeless 1934 murder mystery. Now, the modern well-heeled can look forward to a sleek update of a long-distance passenger train service originally created in 1883. French firm Accor is restoring 17 original Orient Express carriages – formerly known as ‘Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express’ – dating from the 1920s to 1930s, with a new service due to launch in Paris in 2024. 

The original Orient Express stopped service in 1977, but in the 1980s, the Swiss tour operator and businessman Albert Glatt launched the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, a train composed of the historic cars of the Orient Express that ran between Zurich and Istanbul. 

French firm Accor is restoring 17 original Orient Express cars ¿ formerly known as ¿Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express¿ - dating from the 1920s to 1930s, with a new service due to launch in Paris in 2024. Above is a rendering of the newly-unveiled Presidential Suite that will occupy one of the carriages

French firm Accor is restoring 17 original Orient Express cars – formerly known as ‘Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express’ – dating from the 1920s to 1930s, with a new service due to launch in Paris in 2024. Above is a rendering of the newly-unveiled Presidential Suite that will occupy one of the carriages  

The original Orient Express stopped service in 1977, but the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, a train composed of the historic cars of the Orient Express, was launched in the 1980s. It later stopped service and the cars ¿disappeared off the rails and off the grid¿, only to be discovered on the border between Poland (above) and Belarus in 2015

The original Orient Express stopped service in 1977, but the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, a train composed of the historic cars of the Orient Express, was launched in the 1980s. It later stopped service and the cars ‘disappeared off the rails and off the grid’, only to be discovered on the border between Poland (above) and Belarus in 2015

It enjoyed great success – in 1988, the train embarked on a history-making route that linked Paris to Tokyo, and in 1992, Michael Jackson travelled on it for a few weeks during his European tour for his album Dangerous. Unfortunately, it stopped service a few years later and ‘disappeared off the rails and off the grid’.

The carriages – 12 sleeping cars, one restaurant, three lounges and one van (where the guard sits) – were discovered in Poland, by the border of Belarus, in 2015. 

Arthur Mettetal, a researcher who conducted an inventory of the Orient Express for the French train service SNCF, spotted the train in a video posted by an anonymous person on YouTube. In the video, he spied the sign for the ‘Malaszewicze’ station, a name widely used in Poland, and eventually managed to track down the carriages using Google Maps and Google 3D.

When Mettetal visited the train a few months later, he found that ‘the cars appeared to have been sleeping there in the open air for about ten years’, says the Orient Express. Fortunately, the carriage interiors were well-preserved, with Art Deco style marquetry and Lalique panels engraved with a ‘blackbirds and grapes’ motif.

Arthur Mettetal, a researcher who conducted an inventory of the Orient Express, spotted the train in a video posted by an anonymous person on YouTube and managed to trace its whereabouts

Arthur Mettetal, a researcher who conducted an inventory of the Orient Express, spotted the train in a video posted by an anonymous person on YouTube and managed to trace its whereabouts  

When the train was discovered, ¿the cars appeared to have been sleeping there in the open air for about ten years¿, says the Orient Express

Fortunately, the carriage interiors were well-preserved when they were discovered

When the train was discovered, ‘the cars appeared to have been sleeping there in the open air for about ten years’, says the Orient Express. Fortunately, the carriage interiors were well-preserved 

Above are the train's Lalique panels engraved with a ¿blackbirds and grapes¿ motif

In 1992, Michael Jackson travelled on Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express for a few weeks during his European tour for his album Dangerous

On the left are the train’s Lalique panels engraved with a ‘blackbirds and grapes’ motif. In 1992, Michael Jackson travelled on Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express for a few weeks during his European tour for his album Dangerous

Ownership of the train carriages was eventually handed over to Accor and Orient Express and they were returned to France for restoration

Ownership of the train carriages was eventually handed over to Accor and Orient Express and they were returned to France for restoration

A rendering shows the restored train in motion

A rendering shows the restored train in motion 

Two years later, following negotiations with the proprietor of the carriages, ownership was handed over to Accor and Orient Express and they were returned to France for restoration.

It’s at this point that Maxime d’Angeac, an architect known for carrying out prestigious restoration and decoration projects for major luxury houses, was brought on board to restore the carriages and to reinterpret the decor of the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express.

Unveiled at the Design Miami/2022 fair in Miami Beach, Florida, the train’s stunning Presidential Suite occupies an entire train car of the former Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express and is described as a space of ‘unprecedented dimensions: 69ft (21m) long and 9ft (three metres) wide’.

A highlight of the 55-sq-m (592 sq ft) suite is the ‘LX’ luxury Orient Express cabin dating from 1929. Billed as a ‘unique collector’s item’, it holds two beds and is adorned with solid mahogany and fully-restored marquetry from the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express.

Moving on to the suite’s ‘spacious’ second bedroom, passengers will find that it’s furnished in embroidered velvet and features custom-made furniture and an elegant bathroom that pays tribute to the French furniture maker Albert-Armand Rateau.

Elsewhere, there’s a theatrical ‘Four Column room’ that’s embellished with beautiful Lalique panels and a gas fireplace.

The train¿s stunning Presidential Suite (pictured in the rendering above) is described as a space of ¿unprecedented dimensions: 69ft (21m) long and 9ft (three metres) wide¿

The train’s stunning Presidential Suite (pictured in the rendering above) is described as a space of ‘unprecedented dimensions: 69ft (21m) long and 9ft (three metres) wide’

Passengers will find that the suite¿s ¿spacious¿ bedroom is furnished in embroidered velvet and features custom-made furniture

Passengers will find that the suite’s ‘spacious’ bedroom is furnished in embroidered velvet and features custom-made furniture

¿It is a work carved out of excess, inspired by the geniuses and pioneers of Art Deco,' architect Maxime d'Angeac says of the Presidential Suite (above)

‘It is a work carved out of excess, inspired by the geniuses and pioneers of Art Deco,’ architect Maxime d’Angeac says of the Presidential Suite (above)

Above is the Presidential Suite's theatrical ¿Four Column room¿, complete with a gas fireplace

Above is the Presidential Suite’s theatrical ‘Four Column room’, complete with a gas fireplace

Accor says the ultimate surprise in the suite is the Cabinet de l’Egoiste, a secret room that’s ‘dedicated to good vibes and epicurean festivities’.

Design Miami guests can discover the legendary train via an immersive, virtual reality experience before the fair ends on December 4.

Renderings released earlier this year show other suites on the train, which have rounded corners, partitions ‘covered with precious wood and leather’, and headboards embossed with wood, mother of pearl and bronze.

Another picture shows the decor of the Bar Car, a ‘sumptuous’ space with a glass bar counter and large light fixtures that are inspired by the eclectic Second Empire style of the 19th century. Elevating the space even further, there’ll be a clock on each table that rings for dinner time and cocktail hour and a call button will be installed to order Champagne.

A further rendering reveals the stunning Dining Car, where passengers will dine under a mirrored ceiling and sit back in wraparound armchairs. Partitions in the space are decorated with a reinterpretation of the ‘rail’ motif created by the Parisian illustrator Suzanne Lalique-Haviland in the 1930s. 

The Bar Car (above) is a ¿sumptuous¿ space with large light fixtures that are inspired by the eclectic Second Empire style of the 19th century

The Bar Car (above) is a ‘sumptuous’ space with large light fixtures that are inspired by the eclectic Second Empire style of the 19th century

The revamped Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express promises to offer 'unparalleled luxury'

Passengers dine under a mirrored ceiling and sit back in wraparound armchairs in the Dining Car

The revamped Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express promises to offer ‘unparalleled luxury’. Passengers dine under a mirrored ceiling and sit back in wraparound armchairs in the Dining Car (pictured right) 

Commenting on the Presidential Suite, Maxime d’Angeac explains: ‘The Orient Express Presidential Suite captures the essence of the future train.

‘It is a work carved out of excess, inspired by the geniuses and pioneers of Art Deco, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann and Armand-Albert Rateau, and by the importance of refinement and the absolute finesse of detail.

‘It is a suite where travellers can experience history, extreme luxury and ultimate comfort all at once.’

Other suites on the train boast partitions that are ¿covered with precious wood and leather¿

Other suites on the train boast partitions that are ‘covered with precious wood and leather’ 

Headboards in the train's bedrooms are embossed with wood, mother of pearl and bronze

Above is the stylish bathroom in one of the train cars

Headboards in the train’s bedrooms are embossed with wood, mother of pearl and bronze. On the right is the stylish bathroom in one of the train cars

Maxime d'Angeac set out to reinterpret the decor of the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express

Maxime d’Angeac set out to reinterpret the decor of the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express

Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, adds: ‘The Orient Express legend unveils its secrets at the heart of the major international design fair: Design Miami.

‘At the crossroads of creativity and healthy imagination, Orient Express has found the best setting to unveil the exclusive decor of its Presidential Suite that will mark the history of train travel and continue the Orient Express legend with authenticity and unparalleled luxury.’

When it launches, the revamped Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express won’t be the only Orient Express whisking passengers around Europe. 

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has been running various routes since 1982, and the Orient Express La Dolce Vita is due to launch in early 2024, journeying through Italy and further afield to Paris and Istanbul.


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