Sochi 2014 Olympics Hotel Reservations May Open Up On Friday (11/1)

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For anyone following the saga of securing a hotel in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic games (less than 100 days to go now), November 1st may be a big turning point in the “let’s get a room” game.  I have been told by multiple sources that November 1st is the date when un-needed rooms will be released by the IOC/Russian Government/Mafia/whatever and the hotels can then sell them to regular folks like you and me.

For almost the past year I have been saying my plan is to just wait and see on hotel rooms.  I didn’t want a pre-paid reservation on a cruise ship, or similar, when an option I like better might come along if I am patient.  I have my plane tickets, my event tickets, but I was willing to play a bit of a game of chicken with lodging.  My bet that everything would work out could still go poorly as I still have nothing, but I think we might be close.  Recently, my strategy has been to contact some hotels I would actually want to stay in directly to feel out the situation.  Some are more tight-lipped than others, but I have been consistently told November 1st is the date that hotels get the ability to sell their rooms, and I have been told by at least one hotel group thus far that they are not currently anticipating high demand.

The hotels I have talked to all seem to have started waiting lists for when the rooms are released.  I have no clue if they will really be working through those lists, or whether it will be first-come, first-served after November 1.  I have put my name on a few waiting lists just to play it safe, and it would be great if one of those worked out.  None of them required credit card numbers or deposits to be on the waiting lists, nor could I ever get an answer on how long (or short) the waiting lists are.

If you are in the same situation that I am, I recommend starting to pay close attention to the hotel situation now as rooms should be available soon for sale.  Your guess is as good as mine on what that will end up looking like, or if any will even potentially be available on points, but we should start to have a better picture soon.  On the flip side, if another week or two goes by and we aren’t seeing anything for sale that may be a good indication that it is time to get a bit more serious about finding a back-up plan.  I think November is the month that hotels either start becoming available, or they aren’t going to really be available.

Ah the joys of an Olympics in a still-under-construction town in Russia!

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  1. I have been checking every morning for the last 6months. I will keep my fingers crossed something opens up on the 1st! Thank you for posting you Sochi update.

    • Jim, wow! That is dedication. I would also recommend contacting them direction to get on their wait list since the website isn’t even taking reservations at all yet, and may not be even after they can officially release the rooms.

  2. Mommy Points,

    Reading your article was like seeing someone read my mind! I have taken the exact same approach (skipping the Grand Holiday, playing it patiently) and I have begun getting tremendously frustrated, and just a bit concerned. Hopefully, as you said, November 1 will be the day. You can bet that weekend I will spend too many hours searching for availability.

    Thanks again for offering this insight. Best of luck to all those in the same position!

    Buffalo, NY

  3. Thank you Mommy points!
    Similar to you, I have my event tickets and flights all set; but accomodations were still lacking. I’ll be on the lookout on Nov 1st.
    Best of luck to everyone! Cosport added more tickets btw.


  4. MP,

    I wanted to share the knowledge I’ve learned before the big, hopefully, day tomorrow.
    I think the ideal location is in Adler, if possible.
    One factor is the extra travel time it’ll take to get around. By bus it takes an extra 30 minutes to the Mountain Cluster from Sochi and train 40 minutes. Transit time from Sochi hub to Adler hub is 50+ minutes. These times are likely to increase when they face the reality of the Games.
    Many of the chain hotels in Sochi are not convenient to transit. It’s worse in Adler with the Radisson Blu taken up by the media and not much else.
    I don’t have many points in Carlson or Hyatt and just a few in Marriott.
    I’ll see what appears in the Adler area and use the cruise ship as a backup.
    Good luck to all!

  5. As I think I mentioned on this blog a year or so ago, you MUST play the waiting game for Olympic hotel room availability. The pricing always collapses, and availability always soars close to the games.

    Sochi is a bit more of a gamble because it’s less of a free-market kind of place than most Olympic cities. That said, I’m pretty sure that most people — including me — who might consider going to an Olympics are going to pass on Sochi — it’s just too much hassle, and isn’t seen as a desirable locale. That will likely be VERY GOOD for the few willing to make the trip.

    I would urge you to look into alternative accommodations? I have a feeling that hotels will still be very expensive since Russia tends to be expensive for visitors and there aren’t a lot of traditional hotels. Are the organizers doing anything to assist visitors? We once stayed in a homestay in Albertville during the Olympics, and it was a fantastic alternative.

  6. MP, if you dont mind me asking, how many points did you get out of club carlson for cancelling your reservations? Their booking window opens so far in advance that this may be an easy risk-free way to obtain points ahead of major events (olympics, world cup, etc).

    • Francisco, it was a decent amount, but I wouldn’t personally recommend booking for major events that you don’t plan to attend…and I think it is rare that a cancellation is as out of their hands as this one was. On the other hand, if you think you will attend then it totally makes sense to lock it in far in advance!

  7. Russian media reports, there’s a new visa rules at work, wherein citizens of nations currently requiring a visa to Russia, won’t need a visa if (1) they stay in Russia during the Olympics for no more than 72 hrs and (2) used Russian airline for any of the flights. Not w law yet but brewing. Why only 72 hrs? Don’t know.

  8. Pete, The Russian Government has always had visa rules that involved 72 hours. For example, if you were on a cruise ship and were taking an “escorted” tour and you were in Russia for 72 hours or less, you did not need a visa. So I would assume the 72 hours is a holdover from their other laws.

  9. Dean, could you enter Russia without visa via, eg. Domodedovo, alone? No. Again, I don’t presume what will come out of it, but you are talking apples and oranges.

  10. Just as an update, I have emailed with a couple of hotels and haven’t heard back from one, one is full, and the other now expects to know more at the end of November. So…still in a holding pattern. Will update if/when that changes!

  11. I called Marriott and they told me that their hotel is being kept for participants only and will not have availability for the general public.. Has anyone else heard anything different??

  12. Marriott told me they are completely booked and will likely not be able to accommodate anyone on a waiting list. Hmmm, seems like they are changing stories now.

  13. Has anyone gotten their visa yet? I’m having some trouble with all the different things we have to submit. I did find out that you can submit earlier than the 60 days I previously thought.

  14. Update: I had purchased a package from Cosport with tickets and hotel last Feb- but not the hotel for the entire time we are in Sochi. Cosport just emailed me before thanksgiving offering me room rates at my same hotel for 396 a night. High but at least we can have a confirmed room. Has anyone heard or booked anything new yet?

  15. Lesha, yes, we already got our visas .last week. There’s now a somewhat simplified procedure which requires you to submit tickets confirmation. I think it’s posted on the Russian embassy website . We submitted in late Nov. , before these new procedures took effect.

  16. Anyone heard any hotels opening up?

    Unless you are submitting your visa application in person, it does not appear that the process has changed much. Received our visas last week.

  17. How do you get a visa without a hotel reservation and the invitation letter through the hotel. My son and I are getting desparate.

  18. Nancy, Many of the Visa Processing companies will issue you an invitation as well as process the visa application. Costs extra but if you don’t have a hotel yet, it may be your only choice. Also, they will issue one invitation for your entire stay in Russia.

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