(CNN)A new Japan bullet-train service from Tokyo to Hokkaido isn’t just offering travelers a quicker way to get to the country’s northern-most island.
The Hokkaido Railway Company train, which takes just over four hours to reach the famed ski haven, offers an 18-seat luxury “Gran Class” carriage featuring plush reclining seats and high-end dining.
Passengers in this seating class also have access to Tokyo Station’s View Gold Lounge, which includes complimentary beverages and snacks.
The Gold Leaf Service of the Rocky Mountaineer
offers one of few five-star rail experiences in North America.
There are several routes into the Rockies, but it’s the classic Banff to Vancouver ride that still captures the imagination.
This was the last, arduous leg of the great rail expansion westwards that united Canada in the late 1880s.
Although most tourists prefer the summer season, September to mid-October is possibly the most romantic time to travel, when the leaves turn to a vibrant mix of reds, oranges and yellows and fresh snow accumulates on the mountaintops.
To ramp up the romance, couples traveling together can rotate their seats so they face each other during the journey.
From $1,309 per person
Belmond Royal Scotsman: Scottish Highlands.
A journey aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman
is a unique way to see the magnificent Scottish countryside in a Downton Abbey atmosphere.
Travelers can choose from several round trips from Edinburgh lasting between two and seven days, but the classic voyage is the four-night passage to the Scottish Highlands.
It includes visits to distilleries and sightseeing excursions to castles.
The UK’s only luxury sleeper train, it has a bar stocked with more than 50 kinds of whisky.
Fall is perhaps the best time of year to travel, when the purples of wild heather color the Scottish meadows.
From $3,917 per person (two nights)
The Canadian: Toronto to Vancouver
four-day The Canadian journey takes travelers through 4,466 kilometers of beautiful scenery, linking two of the country’s most exciting cities, Toronto and Vancouver.
For a year now, the rail company has been quietly adding deluxe sleepers and gourmet meals to its standard routes.
Its new Prestige class now offers seven swanky bedrooms, but these will increase to 13 in summer 2016.
Each comes with its own ensuite shower, a washroom and minibar with alcohol included in the ticket price.
At night, when the Canadian wilderness lies invisible, an in-carriage flat-screen TV will keep passengers entertained with preloaded content on a USB stick.
Worth noting: this is the only regular scheduled passenger train in North America to offer double beds instead of upper and lower bunks or just singles.
From $2,891 per person
Maharajas’ Express: Delhi to Mumbai
Often called “the Orient Express of the Orient,” the Maharajas’ Express
is a recent entrant to the luxury train market.
The decor attempts to emulate the golden days of the Raj when Maharajas traveled with opulence and pomp in ostentatious carriages.
Such colonial splendor has been recreated to the full and the week-long journey also immerses travelers in the spirit of the era with gin and tonic sundowners, elephant rides and a chance to chat with erstwhile royal families.
It’s an enjoyable three-night ride, but passengers should beware of some hidden extras such as camera and video fees or porter charges.
From $3,850 per person
The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo: San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela
Chugging slowly along Spain’s Atlantic coast for seven days, the Transcantabrico
feels more like a five-star hotel on wheels than a full on train experience.
In fact a luxury coach catches up with the train at every stop for the day’s excursion, meaning you’ll likely spend as long on the bus as on the train.
The rides are short, the sightseeing extensive but what you’ll remember afterward is the exceptional catering with select wines, haute cuisine and excursion meals in top-notch restaurants.
Consider this a luxury roll through the best of northern Spain — stops include the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the prehistoric cave of Altamira, the Picos de Europa National Park and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela — and you won’t be disappointed.
From $4,859 per person
Seven Stars: Kyushu, Japan
The “Seven Stars in Kyushu
” is Japan’s most luxurious train, featuring seven carriages that hold just 30 people in 14 suites.
The interiors showcase the best in Japanese craftsmanship, such as walls of rosewood and maple, walnut floors, shoji paper screens as window coverings and sliding glass doors etched with flowers and birds.
Seven Stars offers two itineraries: a two-day option, which stays around Fukuoka, or a four-day journey that does a loop of the southern Japan island.
Both are hugely in demand, so the company selects applications by lottery. Prices include all accommodation, transport, sightseeing, food and drink.
From $2,271 per person
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/07/travel/luxury-train-travel/index.html