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All aboard the 5-star Portrush express, luxury 'hotel on wheels' will bring tourists to north coast for £1,000 a night

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 24/04/2015

A retro interior greets guests
A retro interior greets guests
A retro interior greets guests
One of the cabins

It's reputed to be the ultimate in luxury train travel - and it's coming to Northern Ireland.

Dubbed the Irish 'Orient Express', the Belmond Grand Hibernian train will take customers touring from Dublin to Belfast and onwards up the Co Antrim coastline to Portrush and Coleraine from August 2016.

The new 'Castles, Causeways and Craic' luxury tours of Ireland have just been announced by the Belmond hotel, rail and river cruise group.

Eleven Irish Rail carriages have been transformed into a top-quality hotel on wheels at a cost of £6.5m by Belmond which also runs Grand Hibernian's sister train, the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

The result is a day out for well-heeled customers like never experienced before on the island at the eye-watering prices of between £950 and just under £1,000 per person per night.

That price includes all meals, drinks, entertainment and excursions to places as far west as Westport in Co Mayo or north up to Portrush.

Instead of running between Paris and Istanbul as the famous original train service did, travellers on the Grand Hibernian will be able to enjoy the delights of Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills whiskey distillery in Co Antrim.

No doubt Agatha Christy's famous detective Hercule Poirot would approve of the two-night tour from Dublin to the north called 'Realm of Giants', with prices from £2,290 per person.

It will take in the Titanic Experience in Belfast before visiting the Giant's Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Bushmills Distillery. Optional golf excursions to Royal Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock golf clubs are also provided.

A four-night tour around the Republic is also on offer.

The slick publicity for the new experience promises that: "Travelling on this stylish new train will be akin to a land cruise with daily excursions and experiences that will invite guests to immerse themselves in authentic Ireland."

Factfile

The Belmond Grand Hibernian train cost £6.5m and has been developed by Belmond Ltd. It is a sister train of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman. Prices start from £2,290 per person for the two-night journey and £3,950pp for four nights. It includes meals, drinks, entertainment and excursions. Contact: 0845 077 2222; reservations.uk@belmond.com or visit Belmond.com/grandhibernian

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