FRENCH-owned Accor hotel group and Italian luxury hospitality group Gruppo Arsenale have announced the launch of new luxury trains in Italy, which will be known as Orient Express La Dolce Vita.

Accor (51%) owns the Orient Express brand, in partnership with French National Railways (SNCF) (49%), although only a small number of private charters, with a single train, have been operated in France until now.

The companies are cooperating with Italian State Railways (FS) for the new venture. It will involve conversion of former Trenitalia coaches in Brindisi into no less than six trains, which will operate circuits from the north to the south of Italy from 2023, as well as running from Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split from 2024.

The 11-coach trains will be designed by architecture specialists Dimorestudio and each will offer 12 Deluxe cabins, 18 suites, one Prestige suite and a restaurant car. Each train will have a maximum of 62 passengers, paying an average of €2000 a night.

In Rome passengers will be hosted in the Orient Express Hotel Minerve, acquired by Arsenale in February 2021, after a total luxury refit, and an Orient Express Lounge will be created for passengers at Roma Termini station.