AYLA, KAZAKHSTAN

A SYNOPSIS

A Word From Our Client. “Designing the first world class luxury sustainable travel circuit in Central Asia is a bold goal that requires a very talented team. The Legacy Untold is the perfect partner as they are top experts in remote uber luxury hospitality, lodge architecture & design, authentic cultural immersions, sustainability, wildlife conservation, community upliftment and press/influencer strategy. The Legacy Untold team came to Kazakhstan to see the various site locations, test out traditional Kazakh yurts, and hands on test the earliest iterations of proposed activities. They then helped design the entire circuit from the ground up. As one of the world’s most respected travel designers, Mark Lakin (Founder, The Legacy Untold) has an incredible understanding of the modern luxury traveler, which allowed us to design a circuit to cater to their every desire during the product development stage. Having stayed in the vast majority of the world’s most spectacular remote properties, Mark was able to draw inspiration from all seven continents and collaborate with world renowned architect firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to create a groundbreaking modern luxury interpretation of a traditional Kazakh yurt. The Legacy Untold put their magical touch on every aspect of this project. Mark is a pioneer and always willing to embark on a new adventure in his obsessive hunt for the next and best world class travel experience, even if it leads him to a country that is totally unknown for tourism. With Mark and The Legacy Untold team by my side, the future of luxury tourism is Kazakhstan is bright.”

The Client. A prominent finance and real estate visionary hailing from Kazakhstan with a grand plan of pioneering uber-luxury leisure tourism to his beloved motherland.

While Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world with a GDP representing 60% of Central Asia, its pristine wilderness is largely untouched, untainted, and unknown, with no history of international leisure travelers.

The Task. To conceptualize, build, and scale a true world class luxury adventure circuit across the remote regions of the vast and varied Kazakh steppe. To re-imagine the traditional Kazakh yurt, central to its nomadic heritage, and to create a high design, luxury, modern interpretation that exceeds the needs of the most discerning global nomads.

The Legacy.

Yurt Design

We engaged Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the renowned architects responsible for building iconic properties such as the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) and the Time Warner Center, to redesign the Kazakh yurt. We worked side-by-side with the world’s leading architects, engineers, and interior designers to create a lunar module unlike any in existence in the history of mobile luxury.

The major criteria of design were threefold: a testament to local culture & history, a true commitment to sustainability, and an unrivaled sense of remote luxury. A symbiotic adherence to these three values paved the way for the groundbreaking conceptualization of a re-imagined Kazakh yurt.

The results are among the most eco friendly in the world including solely relying on renewable energy, de minimis environmental impact design, negligible waste, rainwater harvesting, biological water treatment, and a carbon neutral footprint. The yurts can easily be deconstructed and transported elsewhere – leaving zero trace behind, in accordance with the rich nomadic culture endemic to the region.

The architectural components of the yurt click together utilizing cutting edge engineering design and though they are mobile, they include amenities such as radiant heated floors, wood burning fireplaces, modern en suite bathrooms, and bear claw copper tubs that rival the finest leading luxury hotels in the world.

Experiential Design

Our team traveled to Kazakhstan and circumnavigated the country by helicopter to scout out the most jaw dropping locations and create the most unique experiences. These activities include snow leopard trekking, extreme off-roading in modified Mercedes G Wagons with a Dakar 3000 Driver, mountaineering on a via ferrata, horseback riding with nomads, paragliding, and remote hiking and ice climbing exclusively accessible by helicopter.

Product Innovation Meets Conservation

Snow leopards typically live in high alpine areas such as the Himalayas at elevations up to 18,000 feet. Snow leopards are also one of the rarest big cats on the planet, with only 4,000 remaining in the wild. It is so rare to see two snow leopards together, there is actually no term for a group of them. Wildlife enthusiasts across the planet consider seeing a snow leopard to be one of the most challenging and rare bucket list travel moments.

The ability to see snow leopards has always been predicated on the health ramifications that come with high altitude and freezing cold… until now. A short drive from Almaty (Kazakhstan’s largest city and point of entry for international travelers), at only 3,000 feet in elevation, travelers may find themselves face to face with these extraordinary cats. And as we have secured the rights to be the exclusive luxury operator in Kazakhstan’s stunning national parks, our clients will have unprecedented access to the most accessible snow leopards in the world. Even with these advances, we cannot guarantee a successful trek every time, so we sought to evolve this product further.

OBEO

In partnership with the Snow Leopard Foundation, each client has the opportunity to work with scientists to select the ideal location to install a state of the art camera trap to further research and conservation. Highlight footage captured by that specific camera is digitally sent to the traveler throughout the life of the camera, validating the value of travelers’ conservation dollars, and also reminding them of the amazing experience they had with our brand in Kazakhstan.

Our ability to ideate and evolve an experience in order to change the definition of success, support conservation, and provide periodic reminders to past clients of their blissful experience with our client is a signature strategy we seek to provide.