Few luxuries in life can compare to riding aboard the Golden Eagle, Russia’s most luxurious train. It is not a single train, but an army of luxurious accommodations on wheels with courteous staff, real furniture instead of seats, and altogether comfort. How did the Golden Eagle come to be? Let’s find out.
The story begins with GW Travel, a company based in the UK and set up just before communism in Russia came to a halt. It was created in 1989 and it has focused on developing tourism outside the biggest cities like Moscow. The company became a big hit in the 90s, as the private trains started connecting all the countries in the former USSR.
The birth, as it were, of the Golden Eagle started in 2004, when GW travel started focusing their efforts on comfort and luxury. Three years later, the train was built.
The Golden Eagle Launch
An ambitious and expensive project, the Golden Eagle was launched in 2007 and was worth about $25 million then. It was designed to run on the longest route in Russia, the Trans-Siberian. So, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express was welcomed by over 100 media stations and public figures, including Prince Michael of Kent, who was ready to commend the project that was the result of cooperation between Russia and Britain.
What to Expect Aboard?
While I was never lucky enough to get aboard one of the Golden Eagle trains, I do know that they go above and beyond for their patrons. The company takes extra steps to help you with visa and accompanying paperwork needed to travel through certain countries. They also have a doctor aboard every train and, most of the time, the doctor in question speaks English.
The train cabins are akin to first-class hotel rooms. The cuisine is excellent, there are snacks and drinks of a very wide variety, and you can expect guided off-train excursions. The bar and the food aboard the train do cost extra and you are allowed to use your credit card, provided you spend over $100. As is the case in hotels, you can expect toiletries and towels in your cabin.
What Are Some Notable Golden Eagle Trains?
The company started its journey as the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express but has since branched out into different routes and trains. One of the most popular trains is the Golden Eagle Danube Express, which, besides the luxury cabins and fine dining, includes live relaxing music in the lounge bar.
I also recommend checking out the Shangri-La Express, the most luxurious train in China, the Prestige Continental Express, which is the modern Orient Express when it comes to luxury, and the Glacier Pullman Express.