A dream of mine was finally realised when I flew into Cipriani Hotel for a night of sheer indulgence - dinner and crushed raspberry bellinis at ‘Cips’ (the hotel’s legendary waterside restaurant), nightcaps in the piano bar and a wonderfully comfortable junior suite with terrace from where I could have dived into the vast heated swimming pool!
Time for a leisurely breakfast the following morning before boarding the hotel’s launch for the ride to the train station where the Orient Express in all its finery was waiting patiently.
With champagne to drink in your cabin, occasional stops to stretch your legs and prepare for the next meal, and some stunning scenery en route to enjoy, time flies by and before you know it you are retiring to your suite that has been made up by your steward during dinner.
All you have to do is turn the lights out! You wake the following morning to a delicious continental breakfast on the outskirts of Paris, then brunch in Calais, then the Eurotunnel to Folkestone where you join the British Pullman for afternoon tea and the final leg of the journey to London.
The Orient Express runs between London and Venice from March to November, and there are various itineraries to choose from.