South America’s first luxury sleeper train was announced in 2016 and the Belmond Andean Explorer first launched on the rails in May this year. Traversing the Peruvian Andes, the Belmond Andean Explorer is one of the finest ways to explore the country’s landscape and it allows you to do so in the utmost luxury. After showcasing the announcement of the train last year, The LuxPad revisits the beautiful train with key details on its expert interior design by Muza Lab…
Stepping onto the Belmond Andean Explorer is to step back in time, to an era when trains were the finest way to travel; every space is distilled with the romance, nostalgia and freedom of the train voyage. Inge Moore of Muza lab led the design of the Belmond Andean Explorer and worked closely with the brand to complement their heritage for properties that sit at one with nature by harmoniously weaving cultural connections throughout the design. Inspirations from the train’s idyllic surroundings can be seen in each distinct area of the train creating a detailed backdrop for the breathtaking spectacle of the Peruvian Andes. Inge describes Muza Lab’s key vision was to ‘design somewhere to ponder and dream, a space where the beauty of the land can infuse the soul.’
Soft, neutral tones are at the heart of the design to create an open, airy feel that allows the vistas to take center stage. Inge and her team drew on the palettes and textures of the majestic terrain that surrounds the train along with an infusion of Peruvian artistry and craftsmanship to create an understated feel of timeless luxury. The train itself has a rich history of its own as if was originally the Great South Pacific Express transporting passengers from Kuranda to Sydney. Nostalgic elements of this heritage have been artfully restored by Muza Lab or added as emblems of the golden age of train travel.
Now consisting of 16 carriages, the train has been modernized for the preferences of today’s travelers with a refined yet pared-back decor. Real timber floors are combined with linen roman blinds and colorful woven textiles along with beautifully crafted furnishings which reflect Peru’s heritage. Muza Lab was even involved with the train’s exterior, working with Belmond to determine an update to the train’s original maroon and ivory colour scheme. The Andean Explorer now has glossy blue livery in a nod to Belmond’s 50/50 partnership with PeruRail whose day trains are in the same vibrant blue.
The luxury sleeper cabins sleep up to 48 passengers in four private, en-suite configurations and the train also includes a piano bar, spa and two dining cars. Each double, twin or bunk bed room has been designed as a sanctuary by Muza Lab. The timber walls are painted in parchment tones with the joinery detailing renewed and the seating recovered in decadent fabrics and leather. The double rooms include full-height tufted leather headboards which exude modern, confident style, whilst the two blue lounge chairs are ideal for private breakfasts or relaxing moments during the journey. The twin and bunk beds convert into sofas to offer flexibility for both day and night. Each sleeper has been made unique with flower vases, brass room keys forged into the shape of the Chakana Cross which is a shamanic symbol of the Incan civilization, and Peruvian tapestry covered poufs. The finishing touch to each cabin is baby alpaca accent blankets to keep the cold at bay when traversing chilly altitudes.
The observation car offers guests an immersive experience of the Peruvian landscape from the outdoor deck named, Ichu, after the tall grasses dotted across the plains. Whether leaning against the ornate scrolled balcony rails or relaxing on the round seat decorated with fabrics from traditional dresses source by the design firm at the Cusco market, this car offers nearly 360° views. The internal section of the observation car is filled with cozy sofas topped with cushions in assorted tapestry patterns woven in different regions of the country. Amongst the sofas are embossed leather chairs with chunky timber frames dotted with nail heads which inject the traditional craft spirit of the country with a casual, laid-back style.
The piano bar car is the train’s social hub and is named after the herb Maca. Creating a more formal ambience for guests than the laid-back observation car, it invites visitors to gather round the glossy black piano. A sophisticated palette of refined grey tweed on the sofas and lounge chairs comes to life with cornflower blue and golden yellow with delicate paintings on the walls inspired by butterflies’ wings. Art is one of the defining features of the Belmond Andean Explorer and Muza Lab have been able to curate a boutique collection on-board which encompasses a rich spectrum of Peruvian artistry. From contemporary graphics, to hand-drawn maps and heartfelt photos of Peruvians and animals, the individually framed pieces are arranged in collages alongside butterfly and insect images which embrace the wildlife of the Andes.
Inge has spoken in depth on what the project meant for Muza Lab:
‘For me, bringing to life Belmond Andean Explorer was one of my most memorable projects, a truly unique chance to design South America’s first luxury train in one of Earth’s most beautiful countries. We design spaces that encourage moments of magic to come to life. By elevating what is already an incredible, awe-inspiring journey into a one-of-a-kind immersion into Peru’s culture, landscape and crafts, passengers have a new, contemporary way to enjoy the beauty of slow travel and create memories they will cherish forever.’
The Belmond Andean Explorer travels along one of the highest train routes in the world and links Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire to Arequipa, with stops at the serene Lake Titicaca on the way. Visit the Belmond website now to read more on the luxurious train and the journeys you can enjoy.