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Sleep in a luxury vintage train car with a private pool at this new resort in Thailand

Nov. 30, 2022
4 min read
yellow couches flanking bed in train car
Sleep in a luxury vintage train car with a private pool at this new resort in Thailand
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All aboard, train and hotel lovers: Here's your chance to sleep in a luxurious vintage train car without actually going anywhere, all thanks to an innovative hotel in Thailand.

Located about 2 1/2 hours from Bangkok, the InterContinental Khao Yai Resort is a recently opened IHG property that's taking its location's storied past to the next level — as a late 19th-century train hub, Khao Yao connected northeast Thailand with exciting destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Singapore; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Yangon, Myanmar.

How, you ask? By upcycling heritage rail cars that made those journeys into fresh new hotel suites that pay homage to the glory days of train travel.

Designer Bill Bensley (who heads the firm behind the popular InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort) salvaged rail cars from around Thailand, including many that had been left untouched for 50 years, according to IHG, and breathed new life into them to create 19 suites and villas and a series of other amenities like a restaurant, a bar and even a spa.

As for the 19 accommodations (now available to book), each suite and villa celebrates a classic destination that each carriage might have traveled to, in both name and design. The suites, all measuring at least 500 square feet, recall bygone days of luxury train travel.

IHG

In some rooms, rich wood paneling and gold wall sconces inspire feelings of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," while others are decorated in bright reds and rich greens. Each features Thai silk from Thailand's Jim Thompson that carefully reflects that room's destination, as well as ornate paneling, wallpaper and ambient backlights to give the illusion that the stationary rail car is in motion.

IHG

Each suite or villa also has a bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and outdoor space, though your best bet here is to opt for one of the pool villas. That's right, a train car and a pool. Available in one- and two-bedroom configurations, these villas range from roughly 1,250 square feet to 2,400 square feet. But if you can't snag a coveted pool villa, the resort is set on a lake and has its own pool so there's still plenty of opportunity to be at one with the water.

Though there are only 19 suites and villas available, an additional 45 train-inspired rooms (including ones with bunk beds) are in the main building that opened earlier this year.

At the Poirot restaurant, guests can enjoy a French-themed menu in one of the upcycled rail cars, with star items like French onion soup with grilled bone marrow and Gruyere cheese and boeuf bourguignon (braised Australian wagyu beef). And for a really old-timey first-class experience, a cocktail cart will stir and shake cocktails right at the table.

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In the adjoining carriage, the Papillon (meaning butterfly in French) Bar slings classic French cocktails alongside a menu of Champagne, whiskey and fine wine.

And no luxury vacation is complete without a little pampering, which is why a stop at the resort's spa, Back on Track, is 100% necessary. Also set in a heritage rail car, four treatment rooms are available for services ranging from traditional Thai full-body massages to bathing experiences using sea salt from the coast of Thailand to hair treatments and even special treatments for kids.

How to book

Rates at the InterContinental Khao Yai Resort start as low as $140, or 23,000 IHG One Rewards points, per night in the main building, while Heritage Railcar suites and villas start at around $250. In multiple award searches, the only rooms available to book with points were standard rooms, not Heritage Railcars.

While booking, be sure to select a room with "Heritage Railcar" in the title, because all of the rooms look like trains, as shown in the photo below.

IHG

And as for the pool villas, expect to pay upward of $445 a night for the one-bedroom option and easily over $1,400 a night for the two-bedroom option.

Featured image by IHG
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees