All Aboard the Hooch Express

Talk about greasing the wheels. GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, the private luxury rail company that recently entered into a joint venture with Amtrak, is pulling out all the stops to lure potential customers. The latest enticement is a $100 per person alcohol credit for travelers who book trips between November — when the service begins — and January 2008.

The beverage credit is included in the price for two- and three-day GrandLuxe trips on Amtrak’s California Zephyr, the Southwest Chief, and the Silver Meteor.

GrandLuxe offers separate cars attached to Amtrak trains, and the experience aims to be very high end — think five-course dinners, luxurious suites with vintage furnishings and mohogany interiors, personal butler service, four-course meals served on fine china, etc.

The alcohol is nothing to sneer at either. The $100 credit can be used to buy everything from a $6 glass of house wine to a $60 glass of the best single-malt scotch. Or, if you really want to impress your friends, you could put the money toward a $220 bottle of Dom Perignon.

“We’re definitely going for a high-end experience here,” says GrandLuxe spokesperson Christina Messa.

Amtrak regulars shouldn’t construe this as an invitation to join their friends in the GrandLuxe Bar Car. The $100 beverage credit is offered only aboard GrandLuxe Limited sections of some Amtrak trains, and is only for GrandLuxe passengers who are also Amtrak Guest Rewards members. Now to figure out how that works, we’ll need a drink first.

Chris Culwell