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What is the Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf Experience Like?

Considering taking a trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train and wondering what the Gold Leaf service is all about? Or perhaps you’re looking for a unique luxury trip and wondering if seeing the Canadian Rockies by train is right for you? Here’s what to expect when you travel on the Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf service and how it differs from the Silver Leaf level.

Table of Contents:
Gold Leaf Glass Dome Train
Gold Leaf Dining Room and Meals
Gold Leaf Outdoor Platform
Gold Leaf Dress Code
Gold Leaf vs Silver Leaf

rocky mountaineer train in banff
Rocky Mountaineer Train at the Banff station

Thank you to the Rocky Mountaineer for hosting me on my trip. All thoughts and opinions are my own based on my experience aboard.

Gold Leaf Glass-Dome Train Cars

In my opinion, the Gold Leaf (GoldLeaf) service is all about the train cars. They’re bi-level with the seats on the top level and a dining room down below. The seating area is topped with glass-dome windows, giving you the most spectacular full view of the towering mountain scenery.

The seats for the Gold Leaf cars are in a 2 x 2 row configuration and have approximately 20 rows, with a center walkway aisle down the middle. There is a stairwell to the lower level towards the back of the train car.

Your seats in the GoldLeaf cars are plush and comfortable. They come with a control panel that allows the back to slide down and create a recline but without actually reclining into the row behind you. There’s also a footrest that can be extended, but for long-legged passengers, it’s not really ideal or needed as the floor space in front is fine. You can even turn on a seat heater if you’re feeling chilly!

glass dome on rocky mountaineer gold leaf train car
Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf glass dome windows

Gold Leaf Dining

Another aspect of the luxury aspect of the Gold Leaf service are the meals. Your car will have a chef and dining staff that will prepare your meals and serve you during your ride. You’ll eat two meals aboard, breakfast and lunch.

GoldLeaf passengers will eat in two rotations. Half of the car will have the first-seating of meals, the other half will have the second-seating. These rotations flip each day, so you’ll get to experience each timing. While the first-seating goes down for the meal, the second-seating guests will be provided a beautiful snack service at their seats while they wait.

My absolute favorite experience with this was at breakfast because we were served the most delicious cinnamon scones with fresh jam for our morning snack. The second day we had the first-seating meal time and I greatly missed the cinnamon scone! The pre-lunch snack was dried fruit and cheese.

cinnamon scone snack on rocky mountaineer
Cinnamon scone morning snack on the Rocky Mountaineer

GoldLeaf guests dine in a dining room that is located on the first level of your train carriage. Again, there are two seating times for the meals so each meal has approximately 36 guests seated at tables of four. Those with motion sickness will want to talk to your dining host and make sure they seat you in a front-facing seat, two people at each table will sit backwards to the train motion.

rocky mountaineer gold leaf dining room
Dining room on lower level of Gold Leaf train car aboard Rocky Mountaineer

Meals on the Rocky Mountaineer

The meals for Gold Leaf guests are deluxe and absolutely delicious. A menu is provided and there is some variety so you’ll have new options on your travel days.

Breakfast

Breakfast menus have a number of egg dishes as well as some popular options like pancakes and a yogurt parfait.

Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Breakfast Menu
Gold Leaf Breakfast Menu (First Passage to the West route)

You can also add some requests to your meal, I asked for my skillet to have scrambled egg instead of a baked egg.

breakfast skillet on rocky mountain train
Breakfast skillet aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

Lunch

You’ll also be served lunch aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. Again, you’ll have some delicious options, typically they have meat, seafood, and vegetarian choices. Since we were in Alberta for the start of our journey, I decided to give the popular Alberta beef burger a shot. The next day I tried the salmon – and this Seattle gal was very happy with the taste! The menu has some variations so you won’t get tired of the same options every day.

Gold Leaf lunch menu from Rocky Mountaineer
Lunch with a view aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
Salmon for lunch on the second day

Drinks On Board

In addition to the morning and lunch snacks served to the second-seating diners, you’ll also be given some snack mix during the day. And you’ll have access to unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Just remember that you do have to walk up and down stairs, and make it on and off board, so don’t imbibe too much. :)

Unlimited drinks on the Rocky Mountaineer

Gold Leaf Outdoor Viewing Platform

Another feature that you’re allowed with the GoldLeaf service is an outdoor viewing platform at the back of the lower level of your train car. This space allows a few guests at a time to get some fresh air and gives you a unique feel for the train travel experience that’s different from your seat on the second level.

outdoor viewing platform for gold leaf train passengers
Step out for fresh air and watch the train bend on the outdoor viewing platform

Gold Leaf Dress Code

It might be a relief to know that there is no dress code for the Gold Leaf service. It’s up to you how you dress and when I was onboard it seemed that most guests dressed casually. I will say that if you’re indulging on a bucket list experience like the Rocky Mountaineer, it might feel nice to take some care and dress nicely.

As for what to wear, I’d recommend wearing a resort casual outfit. For men, that could be slacks and a button-down shirt. Women might want to wear a nice top and pants and add a cardigan or shawl. You will be sitting for a few hours so you might want to wear clothes that hold up well for wrinkles and are comfortable to sit in. Don’t forget to pack a jacket if you’re planning to go out on the viewing platform, it can be chilly and windy.

What to wear on the Rocky Mountaineer train

The temperature in the train car can vary greatly because of the glass dome. When the sun is high overhead it can feel hot shining on you. However, there is also air conditioning running and it might feel cold blowing on you. The seats do have heaters, which can be great if you feel a little chilled.

Gold Leaf vs Silver Leaf

When you’re deciding to book your Rocky Mountaineer trip in GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf service there are a few things to consider. The most notable differences are with the carriage cars, meal service, and hotels. You’re looking at paying approximately $500 more for Gold Leaf over Silver Leaf prices.

Carriage Cars

The Gold Leaf cars are bi-level, with a dining room and bathrooms below. Silver Leaf cars are one level. You get the glass-domed windows with Gold Leaf service whereas Silver Leaf guests have standard wide train windows next to their seats.

The Gold Leaf cars also have an outdoor viewing platform space for guests. Silver Leaf cars have a very small outdoor space but it’s not large and might only allow one or two guests out at a time. Gold Leaf cars can seat 72 guests, whereas Silver Leaf cars seat 56.

rocky mountaineer silver leaf train car
Silver Leaf train car on the Rocky Mountaineer – Gold Leaf car is hooked behind this one

Meal Service

The other main difference between the two service levels is with the meal service. Gold Leaf guests dine in a separate dining room for breakfast and lunch. Silver Leaf guests dine at their seats. Gold Leaf guests also have quite a few more meal options on their menus.

silver leaf menu for rocky mountaineer
Silver Leaf Menu for Rocky Mountaineer First Passage to the West

Hotels

Lastly, your service level helps decide what type of accommodations you’ll be placed at for your journey overnight(s). Our journey overnighted in Kamloops and the options are fairly simple no matter what service level you’re booked at. Both service levels include a check-in service (you receive your key on the train), and room-drop of your luggage from the train.

Your hotels in Banff and Vancouver are booked separately outside of your package, so the hotel consideration only matters for your overnights during the train journey.

I truly loved my time aboard the Rocky Mountaineer and hope I have the opportunity to ride again. It’s a beautiful way to see the Canadian Rockies!

view from gold leaf rocky mountaineer train
Journey through the Canadian Rockies aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
gold leaf service on rocky mountaineer
What the Gold Leaf Rocky Mountaineer service is like.

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Comments

  1. Nancy Cook says

    This is on my husband’s bucket list. I presume there is transportation provided to and from the hotels – is it stressful navigating that? Also how many days was this trip?

    • Kimberly says

      Hi Nancy – yes, transportation to and from the hotel is provided during the journey. You get off the trains and load onto numbered buses that you’re assigned based on your hotel. If you book your hotels on the starting point and ending point with your Rocky Mountaineer package, then they also arrange transportation for those legs as well. It’s very nice for the middle stopover since you’re given your room keys on the train and your bags magically appear in your hotel room (only for the middle stopovers during the journey). No stress about checking in with a line of hundreds of guests.
      This journey was their shortest one, it’s two days. It goes to/from Vancouver and Banff with one overnight in Kamloops. There are three-day journeys that have two overnight stops along the way, these go from Vancouver to Jasper. I’m going to be writing up another post about our specific journey, First Passage to the West.

  2. Susan says

    We want to travel fm Vancouver to Calgary, friends suggest extra days in banff, also plan to avoid summer crowds, any input would be helpful.

    • Kimberly says

      Hi Susan! I definitely recommend stopping into Banff. A few of my top recommendations would be to enjoy some of the local restaurants in town, if you’re meat eaters, try The Bison Restaurant. And if you’re looking for a pub type place, I highly recommend Park Distillery & Bar. The Banff Gondola is a must-do, they have a restaurant up top as well that you can make reservations for – I didn’t eat there so can’t comment on what the food was like. I also highly recommend taking a trip out to Two Jack and Lake Minnewanka, it’s breathtaking!

  3. Claudette Bernard says

    I would like to know how much it would cost from Ottawa,Ont.. on the Silver line…It would be for 2 people,that includes me and my Mom…

  4. Christine Remmel says

    My experience on the Goldleaf Rocky Mountaineer was absolutely a bucket list trip. I went in July of 2017 and I am still talking about it! I have referred some friends and they will be aboard Summer of 2020. The staff in our car were so much fun. I laughed so much while on the train. I was traveling solo and met another single lady from Australia and we still are in touch on Facebook and she calls me “Mum”! The Canadian Rockies are spectacular. I have so many pictures to remember this wonderful experience. I am truly blessed to have been on this train.

    Chris

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