Who hasn’t heard stories of the glory days of the Pullman railroad or read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and made a vow to take a luxurious train trip at least once in their lives? Those days of monogrammed steamer trunks and private dining and sleeper rooms may not be as easy to find in this part of the world, but thanks to Western Canada’s luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train, it’s time to fulfill those fantasies.
Board the Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver, British Columbia, a 4 ½ hour flight from the east coast, and about two hours from many westcoast airports. Vancouver, host to 2010’s Winter Olympics, is home to the famous peaks of Whistler Mountain. It’s also a great introduction to the pace of the Rocky Mountaineer, which stops overnight in several cities, allowing for exploring each stop’s unique offerings—foodie spots, bars, nightlife… and the occasional helpful ghost.
Take a day and roam the streets of Vancouver. In cooler weather, a visit to the slopes will test your skills, or just hang out in Gastown’s hot spots. Snag a seat by Chambar’s large bay windows, and tickle your taste buds with a potent absinthe cocktail to accompany a buttery foie gras with brioche and delicious, delicately spiced spot prawns. In the evening, head to the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s buzzing lobby for drinks, then upstairs to ORU restaurant for Pacific-inspired organic dishes like the pineapple-macadamia crusted cod or their signature salad, which includes bites of papaya and jicama.
Words: Kym A. Backer