Sochi Travel Guide
The 2014 Winter Olympics Games have begun, many miles and several tape delayed hours away in Sochi, Russia. But all anyone can seem to talk about is how terribly unprepared the Sochi hotels have been.
We saw journalists take to Twitter the other day, detailing the horrible hotel conditions--from broken drapes to toxic water and broken toilets. While laughable in some cases, sadly, these conditions seem to be "standard" for Sochi.
Today, we've got a report from a Super Secret Sochi Insider who spent a few months in the city preparing for the Olympics. Here's his tale of hotel woes:
A Super Secret Sochi Insider Speaks:
The hotel I was living at is called Marins Park Hotel - they say it’s 4 stars but that’s laughable. It’s been open for a long time (in fact it used to be a Radisson SAS) so I did not have any of the extreme issues like what you’re seeing on Twitter.
Still, we’d only have hot water a few days of the week. Asking the Front Desk about it would result in a shrug and a forced smile. When the hotel lost electricity over one weekend, we asked about it being restored and the response was something to the effect of “everyone is complaining, what do we know? it will come back soon”. Like sorry to disturb you from texting.
What sucked about losing electricity - other than the obvious of being on generators only - is that the heater in most of the rooms don’t work. I was given a small space heater which has to be plugged in to the wall. No electricity in the wall = no heat from space heater. In the middle of Russia. In winter. Fun.
Well, while we certainly feel for them having had our fair share of bad experiences, this is definitely a case of "it's funny because it's not us."
Media covering the Winter Games landed in Sochi this week to find that their rooms weren't ready for check in. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with delayed room turnover. No -- the rooms really weren't ready, as in still under construction.
Social media is dangerous enough when it comes to the everyday person, let alone when a group of American media encounter a problem. Tweets from reporters, some hilarious and some sad, have been the talk of the town as they attempt to settle in before the opening ceremonies on Thursday. We've embedded a few of them below for your reading pleasure, and it won't take you long to find others from various news outlets via a quick Google search. And of course, Twitter itself.
When it comes to the Olympic Games, historically hotels raise rates because of a little something called supply and demand. We witnessed this in London this past summer. For the next Olympics, we might see reasonable rates coming from Sochi hotels during the 2014 Winter Games.
To make event accessible to more people, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister, has capped the prices of rooms for the host city for next year's Olympics and Paralympics. With just about one year to go and about double the amount of rooms yet to be built, this is welcome news for those who want to join in the wonderment that is the Games.
In the past, hotels have charged as much as 157,000 RUB ($5,139 USD) for a one night stay, the new reduced prices are roughly 30-40% less than room rates during the port city's peak periods. A deluxe suite in a 5-star hotel will be no more than 13,896 RUB ($455 USD per night) and in 4-star properties the price will come in less than 13,148 RUB ($430) per night.
Big news from Starwood today: a new Sheraton hotel is on its way in the Russian Federation. Sochi, a Russian vacation spot along the Black Sea coast that was recently selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, will be the home of a brand new Sheraton slated to open in 2011.
The Sheraton Sochi will be the brand's second property in the Russian Federation (there's one in Moscow already), and the hotel will be located at the center of the city with 188 guest rooms, 24 suites, five restaurants and four bars, including a rooftop bar overlooking the Black Sea. Sexy. We hope they're putting in heat lamps up there.
The lobby will, like most new Sheratons, feature the Link@Sheraton hi-tech lounge, plus 5,000 square feet of meeting space, an indoor swimming pool, gym, tennis court, and a spa with eight treatment rooms.
Hopefully the 2011 opening date will give the hotel a little bit of flexibility and wiggle room as far as making sure it's all open and ready to go for the Olympics (hey, three years is a lot of flexibility -- but when it comes to hotel delays, we know things can sometimes move at a glacial pace).