The guest list has included a U.S. senator who would later become
president, a British prime minister and the future Queen of
England. Are we talking about a luxurious hotel, a far-off resort
or some exotic hideaway? The answer is all three, with a twist.
The Royal Canadian Pacific is a luxury hotel on wheels, a
sampling of elegance that can spoil with its classic charm and
breathtaking routes through the Canadian Rockies. It’s a train, but
unlike any other in the world.
The Calgary-based operation is the only passenger train operated
by Canadian Pacific Railway, which built the nation’s first
cross-country rail link in the 19th century.
Three years ago, CP Rail decided to take 10 vintage cars and
hook them together in their original state, with certain
restorations and modern-day conveniences, such as air conditioning.
Passengers were offered a variety of rail tours in Canada and the
United States, and also private charters. All bookings are
commissionable by agents.
To date, filmmakers George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola have
chartered the Royal Canadian Pacific, as has tech czar Bill Gates.
They and others have been able to enjoy the same Mount Stephen car,
built in Montreal in 1926, as John F. Kennedy, Sir Winston
Churchill, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh (now Queen
Elizabeth II and Prince Philip).
“A lot of our guests are people who are interested in train
travel and want a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” said David Walker,
Royal Canadian Pacific’s managing director. “We take care of them
and their needs, everything from dietary restrictions to what
magazines they’d like to read.”
Taking a stroll through the Royal Canadian Pacific is like
taking a step back in time. The cars are largely as they were in
their prime, complete with inlaid mahogany paneling and even
reproduction period furniture. There are 13 double estate rooms and
six single estate rooms, all with their own washrooms and
There are 23 all-inclusive tours offered on the Royal Canadian
Pacific, including those that feature fly-fishing trips, hiking
adventures and more. The average cost per trip is approximately
$800 to $1,000 per day.
And every trip comes with lots of built-in history, too. Who
knows? You may be lucky enough to sleep in the same estate room
Churchill once used. Or maybe you’ll get the Royal Wentworth car,
where Queen Elizabeth and King George VI stayed during their 1939
Either way, it’s not your typical five-star hotel.
Canadian Pacific Railway, 877-665-3044; www.cprtours.com.