Destination SpotlightCategory|

Bookend Your Scenic Train Ride with Hotel Stays that Continue the Journey

View Of Train In Gran Canyon National Park Railway Station

Photo Credit: Julien Hautcoeur/Shutterstock

While most people think of planes and cars when booking a trip, train travel is another mode of vacation transportation that has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last decade. Not only does it let you sit back and relax while someone else does the driving, but taking in the surroundings can really help you appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

Whether you’re embarking on a days-long trek across the country or you want to explore the more scenic side of one destination, these 6 train trips should be on your list.

Jump to itinerary:

  1. Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska aboard the Aurora Winter Train
  2. Washington, D.C. to Chicago aboard the Capitol Limited
  3. Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park aboard the Grand Canyon Railway
  4. New Orleans to Los Angeles aboard the Sunset Limited
  5. Vancouver to Toronto, Canada aboard The Canadian
  6. Paris to London aboard The Orient Express

Aurora Winter Train

Anchorage, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska

There are few places in the United States that are more visually stunning than Alaska, and the Aurora Winter Train gives passengers the chance to view snow-capped mountains and wildlife from its large picture windows.

Hotel Lobby Embassy Suites by Hilton Anchorage

Your journey will begin in Anchorage, where a stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Anchorage will help you relax before the big journey. Fuel up for the train ride with a free made-to-order breakfast, and enjoy the property’s evening reception upon your return.

The Aurora Winter Train departs on Saturday and makes the return trip Sunday, stopping in Wasilla, Talkeetna, Healy, Nenana and Fairbanks. Skiers should stop in Talkeetna to explore the winter trails, while travelers looking for both nature and city activities should make the journey to Fairbanks.

Capitol Limited

Washington, D.C. to Chicago

If you want to experience the beauty of the Potomac Valley, Allegheny Mountains and Great Lakes states, travel from Washington, D.C. to Chicago on the Capitol Limited. Get your fill of museums, monuments and world-class restaurants in the nation’s capital before embarking on the 18-hour train trip.

Hotel Lobby Motto by Hilton Washington DC City Center

Check into Motto by Hilton Washington DC City Center, where you’ll find everything you need to relax before the journey. The property is only two stops from Union Station where you’ll board the train, and great meals await at the four on-site restaurants and bars. 

The Capitol Limited is an overnight train, so you can opt for a spacious sleeping car. Catch a sunrise or sunset and all the beautiful scenery in the upper-level sightseer lounge, which is designed with panoramic windows. Once you land in Chicago, check out one of the many art museums or parks, and don’t leave without trying the coveted deep-dish pizza.

hotel rooftop bar theWit Chicago – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Stay at theWit Chicago – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, which has an award-winning rooftop bar with live DJs and spectacular views, along with a spa and nail salon where you can pamper before a big night out.

Grand Canyon Railway

Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The historic Grand Canyon Railway has been servicing passengers since 1901, and riding in one of its restored cars adds to the experience of visiting the Natural Wonder. The train departs daily from Williams, Arizona at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim at 11:45 a.m. From there, you’ll have three hours to explore the Canyon and its Historic Village before the train departs at 3:30 p.m. Along the way, passengers are serenaded by country musicians as the train crew relays historic tidbits and tales.

hotel lobby Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Flagstaff East

To get the most out of your time in Arizona, stay in nearby Flagstaff (about a 30-minute drive from Williams), which is full of art galleries, shops and a lively historic downtown. Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Flagstaff East is the perfect home base, as it’s 10 minutes from the airport and only 45 minutes from the red rocks of Sedona. Guests can enjoy a fitness center, indoor pool and daily hot breakfast featuring guest favorites, including Hampton’s classic make-your-own Belgian waffle.

Sunset Limited

New Orleans to Los Angeles

Take in the splendor of Bayou Country, southwestern deserts and California mountains on this southern route. Start your journey in New Orleans where you can relish in jazz music, cocktail culture and Creole cuisine before hopping on the Sunset Limited for the two-day trip to Los Angeles.

hotel lobby Canopy by Hilton New Orleans Downtown

At Canopy by Hilton New Orleans Downtown, explore the French Quarter on a Canopy Bike or enjoy Creole Cantonese mashups like General Tso’s alligator and gumbo dumplings at restaurant Ginger Roux.

If you take the Sunset Limited in peak season, National Park Guides are onboard to provide insight on the history and geography of the changing landscapes. Passengers can choose to hop off to visit sites like Big Bend National Park and Saguaro National Park.

hotel The Belamar Hotel Manhattan Beach Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Once you land in Los Angeles, make a break for the coast and the boutique-style digs at The Belamar Hotel Manhattan Beach, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The Manhattan Beach pier is only six minutes away, and guests can enjoy amenities like an outdoor pool and happy hour cocktails at The Bar at Second Story.

The Canadian

Vancouver, Canada to Toronto, Canada

This spectacular train trip takes you across Canada so you can experience two of its largest cities and all the natural wonders in-between. Nature activities abound in Vancouver, where you can whale watch or take a thrilling walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which hangs 230 feet off the ground.

hotel pool Hilton Vancouver Downtown

The gorgeous Hilton Vancouver Downtown is next to Yaletown where you’ll find plenty of boutiques, bars and restaurants. One-bedroom suites and a rooftop pool deck give you a chance to stretch your legs before the train trip.

Once aboard The Canadian, you’ll have five days to savor Canada’s Rocky Mountains, lakes and prairies from glass-domed observation cars and comfortable private sleeper cabins. Once you arrive in Toronto, get excited for a robust global food scene and plenty of great shopping.

hotel lobby DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Downtown

Make DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Downtown your home base, as it’s walking distance from some of the best sights and neighborhoods. Unwind with a signature, warm DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie or a trip to the sauna and fitness center.

The Orient Express

Paris to London

You could simply take the Eurostar to get from Paris to London, but The Orient Express makes for a glamorous adventure between the two cities. Get your fill of café culture, museums and shopping before your trip to London begins.

hotel bar Hampton by Hilton Paris Clichy

Hampton by Hilton Paris Clichy is close to attractions like Champs Elysees and Montmartre, and guests can enjoy a free hot breakfast before hitting the town.

Aboard The Orient Express, expect plush accommodations and excellent service. As you sit back and enjoy the journey, you’ll be treated to a welcome glass of sparkling wine, three-course brunch and afternoon tea service. Once you arrive in London, check out one of the many shopping markets and stop in a proper pub for a classic meal of fish and chips.

hotel room The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton

At The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton, take in views of the city with a cocktail in hand at The Rooftop bar before retreating to your plush, modern room. The central London location is perfect for explorers.