I have written several times about the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and my own planning process to go to Russia. I fell in love with the Olympics in 1984 as a kid thanks to Mary Lou Retton, and was lucky enough to see the summer Olympics in person in both 1996 and 2012. Thanks to miles and points I pretty easily secured flights and hotels for the 2014 games in Sochi, but as you may remember, my points reservations for the Club Carlson rooms were pulled out from under me by the IOC. How dare they?! From that point, getting rooms in Sochi became virtually impossible. You could stay on a docked cruise ship, and many spectators are doing that, but it just never appealed to me personally. I hedged my bets and waited for a hotel to potentially open up once the IOC released rooms. I was on several “waiting lists” and in regular communication with a few hotels. I was told rooms should open in the fall, then told October, then November, then eventually I started to hear that it wasn’t looking good for my dates at the beginning of the games.
I waited, hoped, checked obsessively, and then eventually let reality sink in. A room I would be okay with may not ever appear for cash, let alone on points, and now some of the more desirable cruise ships were booked. I still didn’t have a visa, and if I am being totally honest, I was starting to dread the trip. I like adventures, but this adventure wasn’t sounding right for me for a long list of reasons.
So, I had a talk with my traveling companion last week and she was having the same thoughts. We both decided to pull the plug on the trip and not invest more in something that was sounding more like a bad idea than the amazing adventure it started of as. Our award flights were easy to change, and we had nothing invested in a hotel. Our biggest financial commitment was the event tickets. We are trying to sell those, but ultimately it may just be the price to pay for this life lesson in trying to attend a major event in a city that may not be ready to handle it.
We are still going on an exciting adventure that week, but just not for quite as long, and to a different part of the world. Where we are going is on points, and is a winter wonderland of it’s own, just without the Olympics. I can’t wait to share more about that, but for today I want to bring good news to those who may have been holding out for hotel rooms in Sochi like I was.
The Mercure Rosa Khutor is showing as available during the Olympics. I saw it on Expedia starting at about $193 a night with cancellations permitted and breakfast included. It looks like a decent hotel up on the mountain, and booking it still allows you to look for a better option. I was given this info by a miles and points friend who is still attending the games, and it is also on the very helpful Sochi TripAdvisor Forum. Also on that forum is some info that at least one of the Radissons may have availability. Last time I was in contact with Radisson there it seemed there might be some space for later in the games, but I haven’t had contact in the last couple of weeks.
I will add that, again according to the TripAdvisor forum, the Mercure hotel has cancelled on some people in the past, but it might at least be worth a shot. A hotel reservation in Russia during the Olympics doesn’t seem to mean more than the computer screen it is displayed on, but fingers crossed these reservations work out for folks in need!
I’m sad about not going to the Olympics, but I’m not sad about not going to Sochi. However, I can’t wait to watch the games on TV and hear about it from all of you who do make the trip. I hope it is an amazing time for everyone involved!