Orient-Express, the name behind an elite collection of travel experiences, first came into being in 1883 as one of the world’s most exciting and indulgent train journeys. Today that evocative name also embraces hotels, cruises and other luxury rail adventures in 25 countries, across five continents.
The creation of this company has in itself been a fascinating global journey: it began as a single property, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice. Founder and Director James B Sherwood acquired this legendary hotel in 1976 and went on to purchase the first two Orient-Express carriages a year later, before scouring Europe to discover others to make up a full train. Each one was painstakingly restored, from the original marquetry to the glamorous Lalique glass panels, before, in 1982, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – returned to splendour - pulled out of London’s Victoria station and headed south for Venice.
Today we own, or part-own and manage almost 50 businesses: a collection comprising of iconic hotel properties, private residences, restaurants, luxury trains and beautiful river cruisers.
Each of these properties is unique and many are destinations in their own right. Yet all are alike in being managed locally, to the highest standards, by staff who regard them as their own properties and are encouraged to innovate and contribute new ideas. Every business has its own name and personality, and all are in exceptional locations, whether at the heart of a major city, beside a beautiful beach or in peaceful countryside.
Our long-term plan is to continue to acquire additional distinctive luxury properties throughout the world as market conditions improve.
Orient-Express is also highly committed to responsible tourism, and goes to great lengths to ensure its properties add to their surroundings and have a positive impact on local communities. As a member of the International Tourism Partnership, Orient-Express aims to work together with the people and places around each property in ways that are appropriate to the individual location.