Train review: What its like to ride the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
I'm standing in one of the "most expensive hotel rooms" in the world.
Per square meter, that is.
That's according to Matthieu Ollier, manager of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, who said the train's Grand Suites cost 24,000 euros ($25,850) for a one-night trip from Venice to London.
That's $2,000 per meter if you can secure a spot. Bookings in the Grand Suites often start a year in advance.
Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, I won the freelance journalist's equivalent of Willy Wonka's golden ticket a call from Belmond, the luxury company that owns the train.
A train steward on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
Source: Chris Dwyer
Could I join? Unsurprisingly, I squeezed it into my schedule.
But at a time when the 31-hour trip for a couple costs more than low-wage workers in the United States make in a year, could the one night experience possibly be worth it?
Ollier explained that by traveling in one of the Grand Suites, I was joining an elite group of former passengers, including John Travolta (who has traveled "many times"), Angelina Jolie ("Just her and her daughter, no assistants"), Kate Winslet, the Beckhams and, perhaps most fittingly, Wes Anderson.