by Carlos Melia
Traditional style and elegant comfort provide an unparalleled way to explore the very best of Scotland and the Highlands. Here is my photo album and videos of the daily life onboard the luxury train “The Royal Scotsman” by Orient-Express, traveling from/to Edinburgh across the Highlands. I spent 5 fabulous days onboard, and I have to say, it is without a doubt a true travel experience. The train itself becomes your destination, and the most sophisticated and comfortable way to explore the breathtaking wonders of this amazing country.
This was my fourth time onboard Orient-Express trains, and I look forward to my next. I have tried before the iconic Eastern Oriental Express (from Thailand to Singapore), the Hiram Bingham (from Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru), dinner onboard the Orient-Express from London to Manchester, and now I have added The Royal Scotsman.
Embark on a truly unique journey on board The Royal Scotsman. As the train draws out of Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, your journey into a magical place of history, nature and romance begins. Watch the sun chase the last of the mist from the mountaintops as you sip your coffee. Enjoy a morning in the great outdoors with an exhilarating clay pigeon shoot or a highland safari before lunch, followed by a visit to a ruined castle or a whisky distillery. Indulge in afternoon tea while sharing stories with fellow guests as the train journeys on. Nightfall brings cocktails and candlelit dinners before sinking into your comfortable cabin to dream of the next day’s adventures.
You can see my cabin in this video here. This was a Double Twin Cabin. Compared to my previous experience on the Eastern Oriental Express, this rooms were slightly bigger, same with the bathroom. Traveling solo, I had the option to use one bed as my sofa, and the other one to sleep.
(video) Walking along The Royal Scotsman
Lounging and dinning on the move is beyond a highlight. Served in their mahogany-panelled Dining Cars, enjoy your meals in groups of fours, or on larger tables of six or eight. A range of fine wines, liqueurs and malt whiskies are available from the extensive cellar.
Things I have missed on this train, that I experienced on the other trains are: (1) Private seating at the restaurants, either if you are a single traveler or a couple. (2) The option to select your own wines from the menu, of course at an extra cost, if you choose to do so instead of the proposed pairing suggested by the Sommelier. Other than these, each meal was an experience itself, specially the formal ones. I mean, I am a big fan of black tie and formal, bringing the old school sexy back.
With game-rich glens, Aberdeen Angus beef, a wealth of seafood and rivers of wild salmon, the chefs use the best local produce. All are served with regional specialities. Enjoy a hearty Highland breakfast or start the day continental style. Lunch may be a bowl of steamed mussels overlooking a romantic harbour or seared salmon served on the train.
As evening falls, take your seat in the Dining Car. Expect sensational dishes, like warm pigeon salad accompanied by blackcurrant dressing, spiced roast halibut, and sumptuous apple mousse. And BTW, any food restrictions or allergies will be taken with extra attention and accommodated.
One of my main concerns was the fact that we were a group of 10 gay guys, in our mid to late 30s, and I wondered how we would be welcomed by the rest of the 26 passengers on the train. It’s a very tight and private environment.
Well, as I was proven on my trip on the Eastern Oriental Express with my partner, everyone got along EXTREMELY well, and by the second day, each of us was being asked to join different tables. Interesting people from around the world, fantastic conversations, and new friends to stay in contact.
I must not omit to mention, the excellent work and outreach that Orient-Express, as a global brand, has been doing for the last three years to the international LGBT community, supporting organizations, individuals and investing money, time and efforts in the community. DIVERSITY is welcomed and informed onboard the Orient-Express.
The staff was beyond warm, friendly, and professional. Always attentive to our needs, and always addressing each of us by our names, both first and last. So young and so well trained and professionals. The perfect way to discover Scotland in full luxury, from the soaring Highlands to fine whisky distilleries, Scotland’s heritage, wildlife and landscapes make it a perfect destination.
As for the overall experience, I would recommend it to most of my clients, with the only mention that, unlike the Eastern Oriental Express, this train overnights still at different train stations. Not sleeping with the train in motion, for most of you, might be a positive sign, but I must admit I really enjoyed the rocking movement of the train at night during my journey through South East Asia. Just a matter of taste.
Everyday is an experience. Everyday new excursions, whiskey tasting, castles, royal families to visit and many more alternative experiences. I am posting one by one, day by day. Here you can find some of them, which I will be updating as I include them. So much to share and blog about: Day #03 A Royal Day Exploring Castles of Scotland. Day #04 Shooting Clay-Pigeons…more to come.
I feel so blessed and fortunate to have had these amazing experiences, traveling worldwide with such amazing companies, over and over again. Just by looking at the videos and photos, I get emotional and long to soon return to these experiences, and this time share it with loved ones, friends and clients. Thank you Orient-Express, for allowing me to see the world through your own eyes, and experiences worldwide “Journeys Like no Other.”
BTW my three days exploring Edinburgh was quite an experience itself. Such amazing restaurants, hotels, landscape and lots of royal delights. But this will be for another post. See more photos @ CarlosMeliaBlog.com
Till the next adventure in full luxury. Carlos Melia
“¨”¨Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com