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    I Rode In The "Fancy" Amtrak Private Roomette, And Here's What I Thought

    MySpace About Me: I always look for ways to cut costs while traveling, but this upgrade is worth the extra bucks.

    I've long romanticized train rides (cc: Polar Express), but anyone who has ever ridden, say, the NYC subway knows this: Being crammed closely next to anyone* for extended periods of time is not ideal.

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    *This is especially true given the year-that-shall-not-be-named, when safety is a top priority.

    But on a quick trip from NYC to DC, I decided to test out Amtrak's new private Viewliner roomette to see if my childhood dreams of a "relaxing" train ride were in the realm of possibility.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed,

    What is the Amtrak private Viewliner roomette, you ask? It's basically a luxuriously private bunk that offers a slew of amenities: a cozy bed and oversized seats, AC and light control, WiFi that doesn't suck, outlets, three meals a day, private bathroom access, and more. This newly unveiled roomette is available on overnight trains running from New York, Washington, DC, and Boston!

    Here is an upfront disclaimer that this option is naturally more expensive than the average coach ticket (prices vary based on destination and date, but I'm seeing roomette prices for $257 — roughly $128 when split in half — while you can grab *coach* tickets on the same date for $29), but...

    The final verdict for those who don't feel like scrolling: The extra cost is worth it because it maximizes time spent on the ground, especially if you're taking early morning rides.

    hand holding raspberry pastry with text 8am: I've already consumed a raspberry pastry and am not tired
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I'm sure we've all had the experience of booking a "cheaper" 6 a.m. flight (and having to arrive at the airport by, like, 4 a.m. the latest), arriving at your destination, and then feeling completely drained the entire day. 

    Because I was able to get solid sleep while in the roomette (my train departed from Penn Station at 3:24 a.m., and I snoozed the whole time), I arrived in DC at 7 a.m. and felt completely refreshed and recharged for the day. I was able to drop off my bags until check-in and took in the sights as soon as I got there.

    In addition to THAT! Let me go over, feature by feature, why I'll most likely be splitting private roomettes with a friend from now on. 

    First, you get SO much space. I could do jumping jacks with ease (ignore my appearance; it was 3 a.m.), and my head didn't hit the top bunk, my feet didn't slam into the seats, and I am almost 5'5" for reference. I hate feeling cramped, so this is a major plus.

    BuzzFeed Editor sitting in the roomette
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    The bottom oversized seats could be converted into an extra bed if you're sharing the roomette with a friend, family member, or significant other, plus you're able to live out your ~childhood dreams~ by pulling down a top bunk.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I felt like Yzma when she tells Kronk to pull the lever in Emperor's New Groove.

    You'll be able to get ready for the day thanks to private sink access. I applied moisturizer, sunscreen, concealer, and mascara, and did my hair, and brushed my teeth, and changed into a fresh outfit for the day after sleeping for three solid hours. It was glorious to not feel gross when I arrived at my destination.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    And if you're taking a night ride, that seven-step skincare routine is made *that* much simpler thanks to private sink access. You're also given toiletries like terry cloth towels and deodorant soap.

    There's even private shower access in the train car, though I didn't get to try it out!

    Three complimentary meals a day are sent to your roomette, and it's pretty dang good! I had a substantial breakfast that was more gourmet than what I usually gobble up at home. And coffee, juice, water — it's all unlimited.

    the breakfast tray
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    And while you can take off your mask to eat, you can also keep your mask off for the duration of the ride because you're alone in a roomette.

    The design of the room itself is also peppered with a ton of functional details that really enhance the experience: a hook and hangers to store your jacket and bag, adhesive to keep blackout curtains in place and prevent light from seeping in, and even temperature and light control.

    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed,

    Oh, and something I was shocked by: The WiFi was great. I was able to get work done on my way home *and* stream Netflix, and the connection wasn't laggy at all, which was beautiful. Forensic Files sans any buffering? All I want, honestly.

    There is also a private toilet.

    the toilet
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I very awkwardly asked the attendant (yes, there's an attendant) where the bathroom was before they gestured toward an unassuming corner in my booth: and while it might seem gross-on-the-surface to have a chamber pot next to your seat, the toilet was hidden and out of the way when closed so I didn't notice it at all.

    It also functions like a regular ol' porcelain throne as opposed to a Porta Potty: just flush.

    And now for the most important question: Did I actually sleep? The answer is a blissful yes. I'm a light sleeper and thought it would be impossible to get any shut-eye, but the train movement actually lulled me to snooze-land.

    the top bunk
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I didn't wake up until the wonderful train attendant tapped on my door to inform me that my stop was coming up. (This courtesy knock was given ~20 minutes~ before we reached DC and NYC so that I had ample time to get myself ready.)

    I was initially nervous that I would fall off the top bunk when the train took a sharp turn, but that was definitely me overthinking it. You *can* actually strap yourself in with a seatbelt-like device if you want extra peace of mind, though.

    Prices vary by date, but I found one-way NYC to DC coach tickets for roughly $29 and roomettes for $257. The difference is justifiable when you consider that a) you can split the cost of the room with a friend, and b) you don't lose a day of exploring to exhaustion. I always look for ways to cut costs when I travel, but spending an extra ~$100~ for a chance at three and a half hours of relaxation is worth its weight in gold.

    the sunrise from the viewliner roomette
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    The cost of the roomette would be $257 per way, but here's my advice: If you don't want to splurge on the roomette going to and from your destination, consider at least splurging on the way there and grabbing a cheaper coach ticket for your ride back. The reason? You'll reap the benefits of a great night's sleep.

    And again, these prices vary by date!

    Anywho, here's my three-word recap: It's worth it! Whet your wanderlust by browsing Amtrak routes that offer private Viewliner roomettes, and drop a note below if you've ever slept soundly on a moving train. And if you can't sleep, I suggest streaming the below:

    Cat in the Hat playing on a laptop
    AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    I don't know why everyone in my family loves this movie, but we do.

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