sochi skicreativecommons.org/Alex Grechman

Even before Sochi won its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, it was very much a resort town in Russia. Surrounded with pristine wilderness, it is much like the Aspen of Russia.

Even with all the controversy surrounding Sochi for 2014, this resort town is still beautiful. However, travellers may want to wait until after the 2014 Winter Olympics to get a reservation anywhere in Sochi!

Shop Like An Aristocrat
caviar piccreativecommons.org/Kai Hendry

While in Russia, there is one obvious item that you must get your hands on: vodka. In Russia it’s not out of place at all to be served a shot of vodka before dinner, after dinner or in the middle of dinner! This glorious liquor keeps out the cold. Kauffman and Beluga vodkas are considered to be the best, so be sure to pick up a bottle.

Russia is also famous for its caviar, which it exports internationally. However, purchasing some of this pricey stuff can be tricky. There are many vendors who obtain it from fish illegally – and in some cases, in horribly cruel ways. The trick is to buy it from a reputable vendor. In Sochi, look for a Browne Trading Company outpost or a Petrossian shop. That way you can guarantee that your caviar is of the highest quality and harvested both cruelty-free and sustainably.

Get Hot And Steamy
grand hotel sochicreativecommons.org/andrewarchy

All the high-classhotels in Sochi come fully equipped with luxurious spas. Due to the freezing temperatures, taking in a steam or a massage has practically become Russia's national pastime.

The Sochi Breeze Spa Hotel is the ultimate hybrid between spa and hotel. Guests are treated to free visits to the spa, although many people who are not guests at the hotel end up at the Sochi Breeze for a traditional Nordic style spa too. The Nordic style spa is the most popular package at the Sochi Breeze, and it is also the most quintessentially Russian. After a nice long stream, guests are lightly beaten with birch sticks before being sent to hop in a bath of cold water. It does wonders for the circulatory system and it is much more refreshing than it sounds!

While the Sochi Breeze is the most popular spa in Sochi, the Grand Hotel and Spa Rodina is considered to be the best hotel. And now that all the construction for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the surrounding area is complete, this hotel no longer looks like a jewel in the rough. This elegant building with its formal spa can provide a wonderful stay for those that are quite accustomed to Europe's finest luxury hotels.

Sail The Black Sea
yacht black seacreativecommons.org/viktoria_mq

Located right on the Black Sea, Sochi is a popular dock for yachts that are stopping over for a visit from the Mediterranean. There are quite a few charters that will take guests out on Black Sea, like Reinfo, which can also arrange heli-skiing trips, white water rafting at the local Krasnaya Polyana ski resort, or hiking trips up the majestic Mount Fisht.

The best way to see the Black Sea in luxury is to rent a boat of your own. Sochi Grand Marina rents out small to medium yachts that come with their own captain. They also have some pretty good suggestions on the best fishing spots or the most beautiful beaches.

The Finest Dining In Sochi
restaurantcreativecommons.org/Mattias Mueller

At the top of the five-story restaurant mall in the Adler district you’ll find Forward Tower. This restaurant features Caucasian, European and Japanese culinary concepts, as well as a trendy bar and cool veranda.

For a restaurant with a more Russian flavour, head to the city centre to Dom 1934. This restaurant manages to perfectly blend elegant dining with fantastic home-style food. Dom 1934 prides itself on its Black Sea fish, quail, lamb and hearty sides.

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