If you regularly read this blog you know that I love the Olympics, and that myself and a few other friends have plans to head to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. These games are now just 9 months away in February 2014. So far we have secured event tickets and flights in business class using miles, but the big piece of the pie that is still missing is hotel rooms. I actually did have a reservation on points via Club Carlson, but that got cancelled due to the International Olympic Committee informing the hotel that all rooms need to be available to go through them for their purposes. I did receive some points as compensation for that cancellation (after fussing), but at the end of the day I am still “homeless” in Russia.
Based on the emails and comments that I have received, it seems that many of you are in that same situation. So, what is there to be done about the “homeless in Russia” situation? I’ll say up-front that there is not a perfect answer at this time, but here are a few suggestions.
- Be patient. I know that sounds crazy given we are talking about the Olympics, Russia, needing a visa, etc. But honestly the very best advice I can give is to just be patient. It is extremely likely that as we get closer to this fall that the hotels will be able to release the rooms that weren’t utilized by the IOC or via package sales and you will be able to reserve a decent room at a decent price. In fact there are many hotels that should be finished with construction toward this end of this year – including a Haytt! This “be patient” strategy is the one I am using myself. I’m even hopeful I will be able to secure a room (again) on points.
- Read some of the Sochi threads on Tripadvisor. If you want to read what others in your situation are doing and learning, I highly recommend heading to the Sochi Forum on TripAdvisor. I suspect this will continue to be a good resource as hotel rooms (hopefully) become more available later this year.
- Request modest accommodations now. If you really want to book now for the peace of mind, you can make a request for some rooms now via this site…though admittedly most shown aren’t my first choice. It also seems that you are just making requests and may or may not be able to actually book. That said, I have heard a story or two about folks who have booked without having to give a credit card. That could be super handy back-up plan if you can find a deal like that.
- Book a ticket + lodging package. If you have deep pockets and want to get everything situated right now, you can book a package that includes hotel accommodations, event tickets, plus other perks right now via the official CoSport.com website. The ones I briefly looked at were in the $7,000 – $9,000 range for three days. Ouch! My pockets aren’t that deep, and my anxiety isn’t nearly high enough for that to appeal to me, but it might for some.
I’ll periodically continue to post about the process of planning a trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics, and would love to hear how it is going for those of you who are also planning to head to Sochi!