Watch our video of this experience:
Thinking about booking Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf Service? In this excerpt from the Tour the World travel TV series, we take you on board the fabulous Rocky Mountaineer for the rail journey of a lifetime in Gold Leaf Service through Canada’s spectacular Rocky Mountains!
There are two types of people in this world: those who get train travel and those who don’t.
It’s a bit like dog people — you either are or you aren’t. I’m a train person. I totally get it. I love arriving at the station; watching the train pull in; the gentle rocking motion as the train picks up speed; watching the world whiz by; and tottering off to the onboard café (on the off-chance these days that there happens to be one).
Like I said — train person here — and that’s why I was so thrilled to have the opportunity recently to experience GoldLeaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer while travelling through Canada with Evergreen Tours.
From the moment you step on board the Rocky Mountaineer’s trademark blue and gold carriages with the distinctive glass-domed roof, you just know you’re in for something extra special. We’re travelling from Jasper in Alberta to Vancouver in BC — a two-day trip. The Rocky Mountaineer is a little different to other tourist rail experiences like South Africa’s Rovos Rail or our very own Ghan, in that you don’t spend the night on the train. You travel by day and stay in hotels at night, which the Rocky Mountaineer organises for you — including transfers to and from the hotel. It’s all done with cheery trademark Canadian efficiency and your same cabin attendants are right there the following morning to welcome you back on board for the onward journey.
From go to whoa the service in GoldLeaf is absolutely superb. There are two levels in the Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service carriages: seating upstairs and a dining room downstairs, with a small spiral staircase between the two (I think there’s even a lift). There’s also an outdoor area for those who want to feel the wind in their hair as the train hoots along.
First to the all-important seating upstairs, where you’ll spend most of your journey. They’re spotlessly clean and extra wide with oodles of legroom. There’s a fold-down tray table for your convenience and a complimentary copy of the Rocky Mountaineer’s glossy onboard magazine.
The constantly changing vistas — from the awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks of the Rockies through to the arid rockiness of the Sonora Desert Region — seem to literally fill the carriage through the glass ceiling. It’s spectacular — not to mention ideal for spotting the various types of wildlife that our cabin hosts point out along the way. We spy a coyote and at least three black bears during our trip. It’s not uncommon to see several bears.
On to the topic of tucker in Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service. Breakfast and lunch are served in the dining room adjacent to a full-service kitchen. Each service is completed in two sittings and while group one is downstairs enjoying their breakfast, group two warms up upstairs with freshly made scones with jam and cream. The attention to detail is superb. The dining room is set with starched white table linen and offers an a la carte menu with three or four choices. There’s an excellent selection of wines available to accompany your meal.
Back in the main cabin, the complimentary bar is open all day. The afternoon drifts by in a suitably drowsy fashion, punctuated by the occasional ‘I think that’s a bear!’ It’s the one sound guaranteed to get everyone on their feet, at least for a moment or two.
All in all, it’s a big gold star for Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service. This is a train journey you’ll always remember — ‘train-person’ or not.
Have you travelled in Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service? We would love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment below.
This segment of Tour the World was co-produced by Peppercorn Productions — publisher of The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
Please note: Since we produced this video, RedLeaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer has been discontinued.
Additional image: Bigstock
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.