Stinking rich: Kazakhstan to offer tourists luxury caviar baths

Stinking rich: Kazakhstan to offer tourists luxury caviar baths
Long known as a premium hors d'oeuvre, Caviar has been enjoyed by the rich and famous for generations. For lovers of the delicacy, an upmarket spa in Kazakhstan plans to offer discerning tourists an even more delectable experience: caviar spas.

Touted as a ‘black caviar spa for real gourmands’, developers for the planned Caspian Sea resort of Kenderli hope their luxurious patrons will be rolling in it by 2020, Eurasianet.org reports.

The developers say visitors will be offered "a set of luxury treatments based on Beluga caviar that will surely surprise you. This variety is found primarily in the Caspian Sea, and is considered one of the best caviars in the world."

With its stock of Beluga Sturgeon, the Caspian is an epicenter of the world’s caviar trade. Costing up to $4,500 a pound, the critically endangered Beluga produces some of the world’s most revered roe.

And for those who don’t consider a fish egg romp their idea of the height of luxury, holidaymakers can also try their hand at a ‘dance with seals’, which they market as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Slated to cost $3.3 billion, developers are hoping to build the resort some 125 miles (201km) south of Aktau, a city originally intended to be nothing more than barracks for oil workers.

Rising out of the desert, Kenderli hopes to attract 642,000 visitors a year, roughly half from abroad. So far, the sandy beaches and rocky hills dotting Kazakhstan’s Caspian shore are frequented primarily by visitors from other parts of the country.

Image taken from Kenderli resort brochure.

The plan is to make Kenderli the “best” resort on the Caspian and “a perfect destination for domestic and international tourists, generating wealth for the region and wellbeing for our people.”

Former Soviet states, particularly Russia, as well as Turkey and the Middle East, are all viewed as potential sources of big tourist bucks.

But much like the rich tourists they hope to lure in, funds for the project have yet to materialize, though the Trade and Investment Ministry told Tengri News that Iranian investors, among others, have expressed interest.

If they do find willing wellsprings of green, their primary concern is to avoid the fate of Avaza – a Caspian resort which opened five years ago in neighboring Turkmenistan and was later panned as “the most ill-conceived resort ever built.”

Meanwhile, talk of caviar baths and Caspian tourism is all part of a larger government-led initiative to attract tourists to Kazakhstan.

In 2007, President Nursultan Nazarbayev launched the Aktau city project in order to develop tourism and attract investment. With plans to build an entirely new city north of Aktau with an eye for UAE style, the project was ultimately abandoned last year.

And earlier this year, Kazakhstan introduced a pilot project which will allow tourists from 10 states – Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK, the USA and South Korea - to enter Kazakhstan for 15 days without needing a visa.

Map taken from Kenderli resort brochure.

Meanwhile, talk of caviar baths and Caspian tourism is all part of a larger government-led initiative to attract tourists to Kazakhstan.

In 2007, President Nursultan Nazarbayev launched the Aktau city project in order to develop tourism and attract investment. With plans to build an entirely new city north of Aktau with an eye for UAE style, the project was ultimately abandoned last year.

And earlier this year, Kazakhstan introduced a pilot project which will allow tourists from 10 states – Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK, the USA and South Korea - to enter Kazakhstan for 15 days without needing a visa.