News & Politics  |  Travel

Four Stations That Offer a Better Premium-Rider Experience Than DC

We have aging leather chairs and free drip coffee. Guess which station offers wine and cheese and private showers?

Photo-illustration by Andrew Archer.

To read more from the DC insider’s guide to the Acela, click here.

How our preboarding experience compares to other great train stations around the world.

Union Station

Acela’s first-class riders have the ClubAcela lounge, which is as welcoming as the lobby of an unloved hotel. (Think aging leather chairs and complimentary drip coffee.)


Several types of travelers get access to this Union Station’s new Metropolitan Lounge with TVs, private showers, and wine and cheese. They’re also escorted to trains ahead of everyone else.


Business-class riders on the Eurostar to Paris or Brussels get lounges stocked with snacks, drinks, and reading material, along with special turnstiles that stay open until ten minutes before departure.


Passengers in Japan Rail’s Gran Class get to hang out in the View Gold Lounge, where they’re doted on with tableside service.



Members of ItaliaRail’s frequent-traveler club get a lounge with espresso, designer furniture, and a “Skype room” for long-distance video chats that wouldn’t be so private on a crowded train.

This article appeared in the March 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

Staff Writer

Elaina Plott joined Washingtonian in June 2016 as a staff writer. She has written about her past life as an Ann Coulter fangirl, how the Obamas changed Washington, and the rise and fall of Roll Call. She previously covered Congress for National Review. Her writing has appeared in the New York Observer, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.