The most luxurious train service in the world is celebrating a big birthday this year. In 2020, Rocky Mountaineer is celebrating 30 years of being a leading travel experience in Canada. If you don’t correlate trains with a luxury, scenic vacation, it’s time to rewrite your vacation narrative. Rocky Mountaineer knows how to provide five-star service on wheels with their Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf service complete with jaw-dropping views of the Canadian Rockies.
And there’s no better time to experience this incomparable adventure than in honor of the Rocky Mountaineer’s third decade.
What to Expect Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service
They say the journey is the destination, and that’s never been more accurate than on the Rocky Mountaineer. This is so much more than just a train ride. Rocky Mountaineer brings together everything you want in a vacation: picturesque views, luxury service and amenities, exclusive hidden gems, adventure and relaxation — all at the same time.
The heart of Rocky Mountaineer is its GoldLeaf Service, which is essentially a luxury club lounge on train tracks. Every detail of these trips is immaculately planned and executed. Executive chefs prepare sophisticated meals with local ingredients, perfectly paired with local wine. Experiences can be customized and themed based on your interests and needs. In fact, you can choose from more than 50 different vacation packages and three different rail routes. There are so many routes, side trips and excursions, so much to learn about, that even one Rocky Mountaineer vacation is not enough.
To me, the charm, untouched scenery and history of Canada is central to what makes this vacation unparalleled.
Amid the high-end service and amenities, you can get to know Canada, one of my favorite destinations not to overlook. Highlights include a high-end spa in Banff, gorgeous Jasper National Park, Lake Louise, a horse ride through Stanley Park, the quaint town of Kamloops and the hip city of Vancouver.
A luxury train ride through Canada is truly like no other adventure, and it eliminates many of the hassles of travel. No exhausted eyes on a long road trip. No confusing navigation or getting lost in a foreign land. No hauling your luggage from destination to destination or waiting in lines to check into the hotel. Rocky Mountaineer handles everything for you. In fact, from the moment you arrive, staff handles your luggage. Your journey begins with a bagpiper’s announcement and a celebratory welcome toast. That means it’s time to sit back and enjoy.
When you arrive at the evening’s destination, staff hands you the key to your room. They bring your luggage, handle the check-in details and worry about the schedule. All you have to do is step off the train and go discover your new destination.
Rocky Mountaineer’s growth may have started slow, but when it took off, it flew. As soon as people realized what it was all about, luxury travelers couldn’t get enough of it. It took 18 years to welcome the first million guests, but only another nine years to welcome the second million.
What started as a few traditional rail cars in 1990 has grown to more than 70 rail cars, including locomotives and power generation cars. Since its founding, Rocky Mountaineer has welcomed more than two million guests from around the world.
Rocky Mountaineer doubled its capacity over the past six years with the addition of 10 GoldLeaf and 12 SilverLeaf coaches. These GoldLeaf coaches entered service in 2019, after the largest capital investment in company history to design and build them. These bi-level rail cars feature massive, dimmable, glass-dome windows that provide beyond-panoramic views, plus separate dining areas, redesigned galley kitchens; heated, composite-leather, reclining, spinning seats; and improved suspension design to make the ride more comfortable. Like I said: ultimate luxury.
Even more GoldLeaf cars will join the fleet in 2020, which will bring the total to 26 GoldLeaf cars and 16 (single-level) SilverLeaf rail cars.
It’s in the Family
Rocky Mountaineer is proud to be a family-owned Canadian company, with its rail operations located in Kamloops and its global headquarters in Vancouver. Rocky Mountaineer was founded by Canadian entrepreneur Peter Armstrong who, along with his three adult children, continues to serve on the board of directors.
As a passenger, you can feel this heart in the way you are treated and in the energy of the staff. You feel like family, too.
One Route to Try
The Rocky Mountaineer journey that started it all is called the First Passage to the West. The eastbound route travels from Vancouver to Kamloops and ends in either Banff or Lake Louise. As you would expect, all of the hotels Rocky Mountaineer partners with are an extension of its GoldLeaf Service and quality. They enhance and complement the journey.
In Banff, make sure you visit the Fairmont Banff’s world-renowned Willow Stream Spa. The Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel itself looks like it was plucked straight out of a Disney fairytale, complete with frozen waterfalls, snow-capped mountains in the distance and low-floating clouds that make the scenery look surreal. In addition to the spa, the hotel features excellent dining, fun activities and golf outings.
Then there’s the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a different take on luxury lodging. This resort — located inside Alberta’s Jasper National Park — feels more like a mountain haven, as the chalets and fine cabins seamlessly weave into nature. Go hiking on scenic trails and unwind in the great outdoors, or just enjoy the views of Lac Beauvert from your room. All rooms have excellent views.
Get to know all sides of Canada, when you leave the natural wonder of Fairmont and venture to Vancouver. Here, the Fairmont Pacific Rim presents a modern side of Canada, but still never sacrificing the views. From this hotel, you can view the waterfront and mountains in the distance, and you’re not far from Stanley Park.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned in the next few months for more stories about this amazing, exclusive adventure.