Back in August, BBB received a kind invitation from Belmond to come with a group of our PA’s on a day trip abroad the wonderfully luxurious Belmond British Pullman train, and it was certainly a day to remember! Here’s a glimpse at what went on from one of our PA guests, Alex Popoff…
On the morning of 24th August, a very fortunate group of around 20 of us were cordially invited by Belmond to meet on the platform at London Victoria Station for a wonderful day of adventure aboard the Belmond British Pullman. We soon learned that the train had been bought and recently refurbished by the Belmond group, restoring it to its former glory and renewing its glamour from the ‘Golden Age of Travel’ – the wood panelling, I was informed, was restored by the same specialist family of craftsmen that make it in the 1920’s!
We were whisked into our very own carriage and the champagne was swiftly poured, whilst we revelled in the extraordinary surroundings of this iconic train. It was the epitome of Old World travel chic, with deep red curtains, velvet furnishings, fine china and crystal glassware. The train itself is everything you would expect and more.
No sooner was the champagne poured and canapés served than we were off, gliding smoothly into the green on the outskirts of London. We discovered our journey today would take us via Chatham, Margate and Canterbury, making a special stop at Whitstable, where we would be treated to champagne and oysters with a jazz band on the platform! It really was something special, a wonderful atmosphere to gather with the other passengers, many of whom were celebrating birthdays or special occasions, and the sun was shining – glorious!
After a brief stop, we got back on board and and the spectacle of lunch commenced. Waiters and waitresses, all highly professional, extremely friendly and impeccably dressed, almost danced through the carriages with course after course of fine dining. The serving of the soup course, ladled seamlessly into bowls at the table (whilst moving at high speed) was really something to behold! The hospitality of the Belmond team was beyond generous, different wines flowed in sequence as we navigated through sumptuous courses and stunning British scenery. Even trips to the bathroom were really something else!
Each carriage has a unique name and is specially decorated to match, each with different furnishings, varying seat layouts and carefully chosen colour palettes. I thoroughly recommend exploring through Perseus, Audrey, Vera and more – each is a treat to the eyes!
A fellow PA in my compartment asked about private hire and events and we were amazed to learn that almost anything is possible! You can hire a carriage on an existing route, you can hire the whole train on an existing route, or with enough planning (and budget!) you can request another route, and as long as the railway authorities clear it for scheduling and traffic control, you can go almost anywhere! This means that everything from corporate lunches to wedding parties, press launches to highly personalised itineraries are in theory possible…. For corporate events, there is the possibility to brand the experience with your company artwork, both on board and at the check in lounge. For all occasions, menus can be tailored to suit and entertainment can be arranged both on the platform and onboard the train, to really make the event special!
In total, the train has 11 carriages and can take up to 226 passengers across 1, 2 and 3 person tables as well as private compartments for 4 people. The team emphasised that they want to make people’s dreams come true and could not be prouder of their train and the service of their fantastic staff, so they encouraged us to come to them with any ideas or quote enquiries. I’m now trying to think up something spectacular to put them so I can get back onboard!
The team onboard really take care to make every guest’s experience five star. This is the perfect trip if you’re celebrating something – a birthday, a wedding anniversary, a romantic lunch for two even… I cannot recommend this experience enough and am very grateful I got the chance to be part of the magic that day in August. If you need any further temptation, take a look at this…