I was so excited about this journey.
It was a considered purchase and once in a life time opportunity . I took the Train in Gold leaf class from Jasper to Vancouver with an overnight stop in Kamloops.
It started on a freezing cold platform very early in the morning at Jasper, although the Train was at the platform it seemed to take ages, before they allowed us to board by which time everyone waiting was virtually frozen.
The carriages were spacious, seat pitches excellent and the staff reasonably attentive but breakfast was a long time coming (11am after having boarded at 7) even though your given some nibbles. The dining arrangements are made per carriage in 2 halves and they swap this around on day 2 so if your 1st sitting for breakfast/ Lunch on day one then your 2nd sitting on day two.
The quality of the food is mind blowing its not how much food is on your plate but its the quality .. of this no one could possibly complain.. however the dining car is underneath the seating area so you basically go down to the lower deck which is incredibly tomb like and very small and cramped & dark. Although there are picture windows either side to allow you to continue to take the view, they are tinted along with the very low ceilings it makes for quite an oppressive experience.
The journey is delightful and the scenery does just take your breath away but my observations are that although you have the glass domes all around you they are not anti reflective making it very hard to actually see clearly . Down on the lower deck there are outdoor viewing platforms each end of every car but if your car is attached at each end then this heavily restricts you and other passengers can walk onto your platforms, making it nigh on impossible to get decent views without a fight ..especially when you get to the good bits.. its every camera & man/women for themselves. I gave up after a rude group of Europeans invaded our viewing platform and simply took over for all the best views. Not a hope just backs of heads...one passenger even pulled me back from the railings so he could get there !!
Lastly the Hotel in Kamloops was not very good at all .. it did not meet the expectations of the standard or grade for that paid to go Gold Leaf and for this very reason I Have downgraded this experience ... it need to be a lot better when traveling at this calibre its just not acceptable to pay several thousands of UK £ to be put in a very run down shabby hotel that was very dirty, broken furniture, 1970's peeling decor and in a part of town that I was not prepared to leave my room to go out into..... Drunks/vagrants on the street... and opposite a drug rehabilitation unit with the local unfortunates queuing up outside to get their legal fix !!! There was an awful smell in my room, I called for reception to bring me a room fan to try and eliminate the smell as the windows were screwfixed and un-openable.
I feel priviledged to have had this opportunity but I would probably advise that as decadent as gold leaf is its not worth the money ... it was good but not as good as the upgrade may sound. In retrospect I would say Silver Leaf would be fine unless money is not an issue in which case enjoy..!!!
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