Orient Express style luxury train to journey across Saudi Arabia

Orient Express style luxury train to journey across Saudi Arabia

Leaving the platform in 2025, Saudi Arabia's ultra-luxe train Dream of the Desert is set to rival the Orient Express
06 April 23
Image source: Dinsmore Studio

Set to launch in 2025, a new Orient Express-style train named ‘Dream of the Desert’ will take travellers on a scenic journey from Riyadh to Al Qurayyat in Saudi Arabia, stopping at Al Qassim, Hail and Al Jouf along the way.

The US$51 million project has emerged from a recently signed a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and the Arsenale Group, the Italian development and management company behind the Orient Express “La Dolce Vita” trains that are debuting in Italy in 2024, as well as Soho House Roma.

The first luxury train of its kind in the Middle East, the ‘Dream of the Desert’ train will offer a passenger experience comparable to that on the iconic Orient Express “La Dolce Vita” train; a train of 12 golden-era carriages complete with hotel-style sleeper cabins and suites, as well as a fine-dining restaurant - although in this case, the expectation is that Saudi Arabian cuisine will be served, rather than Italian.

Described in a promotional video as a “journey like no other”, this five-star luxury train will take passengers into “the very heart of this world of treasures”. Guests will enjoy “their very own Arabian adventure”, as the train travels 1,300km past sand dunes, ancient sites and futuristic cities.

Expected to begin transporting customers in November of 2025, the Dream of the Desert will have 40 luxury cabins and will traverse a number of inspiring and iconic routes from Riyadh to Qurayyat, passing through Hail. Passengers will be able to indulge in a high-standard of food and beverages at the fine dining carriage and lounge bar, whilst admiring UNESCO Heritage Sites from the windows and even travelling right through the renowned King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Royal Natural Reserve.

Bashar bin Khaled Al Malik, CEO of SAR, said: “The signing of this MoU between SAR and Arsenale is to be considered a first step towards the introduction of a new offer within the tourism market with an experience of luxury travel by train.”