With a staff that is kind and efficient at all time, The Blue Train is proof that sophisticated comfort can also run on rails.
By Jesús Rosado
Considered one of the most luxurious in the world, The Blue Train is the brainchild of British politician Cecil Rhodes, who set out to create a railway joining Cairo to Cape Town. However, the entire project was never finished, limited to only the section between Pretoria and Cape Town, enough to attract those who want to know the wild beauty of the African continent and enjoy adventure travel.
Served by a staff that is pure kindness and efficiency at all times, The Blue Train has shown that the most sophisticated comfort can also run on rails. Offering luxurious rooms and suites—each with a high-definition screen that reproduces the landscape—you can also get closer to the idyllic views from the large windows.
And, even more, those who reserve the double suites, these boast spacious tubs, from where—drink in hand—guests cab be seduced by the untamed landscape on the other side of the glass.
The 17 air-conditioned coaches of The Blue Train have nothing to envy a high-class hotel facility. The tour supports 74 passengers, who pay US $2,500 in high season and about $1.800 when demand decreases. The train consists of 37 rooms and three different kinds of suites—standard, luxury, and l—all exquisitely decorated with local details and warm accents.
Dining at the restaurant entails a suit for men and dresses for women, and there are two fun-filled lounges for socializing. The first serves tea while the other lounge is the ideal place to contemplate the surroundings. The kitchen elevates South African cuisine to an art form, and the wine list is an expression of winemaking in the region. In each case, diners are served with impeccable taste, fine china, and exquisite cutlery.
The Blue Train also has an exclusive boutique where the passenger will find a suite of options to purchase a valuable gift for yourself or someone special back home.
The entire journey takes 27 hours and 1,600 kilometers going diagonally across South Africa. It makes a stop at the Kimberley diamond mines when going southbound, and moves toward the north in Matjiesfontein—a small town now considered a historical monument. During the trip, the train keeps a cruising speed of 55 miles per hour, allowing the traveler to enjoy the two great attractions: the stunning natural surrounding environment and wellbeing, comfort and excellent service in each car.
Several of the waiters have worked on the train for years and are examples of professionalism. Their shifts are rotated 24 hours, seven days a week. Attentive at all times, when you need a drink or a bite, the requesting board any clothing or the most unusual detail that can claim a passenger from his suite.
¿Famous travelers, who have made the journey? At the moment, I can mention seven names: Nelson Mandela, Naomi Campbell, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon, Mia Farrow, Margaret Thatcher and Kylie Minogue ... although the list is much longer. Each of these celebrities gave themselves to the mystique of this tour through such a diverse and fascinating territory that combines magic and reality aboard. ■
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