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As soon as we got back from the 2012 Summer Olympics, I started planning a trip to the 2014 Winter Olympics that will be held in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics really are an amazing experience that brings folks from all over the world together, and I would love to be able to go to Russia and see figure skating, snowboarding, etc in about a year and a half. One of the things that made the London Olympics a reality for me was the amazing hotel reward night availability. In fact, what started my entire quest to go to the 2012 Games was writing a piece on hotel reward availability just two months before the Games. There were so many choices, that I ended up using Club Carlson points earned via the “Big Night Giveaway” to stay at the beautiful May Fair Hotel. This thread on Flyertalk reminded me that I hadn’t yet posted about beginning planning now for the 2014 Games, so here we go.
London is an expensive city, but it has tons of chain hotels where you can use points, so there were plenty of solid reward night options. Sochi, on the other hand, is a resort town on the Black Sea that doesn’t have near as many chain hotels where you can score free nights. Or, more accurately, it doesn’t as of today. Sochi is currently in full-on construction mode to get ready for the 2014 Games, and there are many hotels that are scheduled to open in the next 12-17 months. Some of the hotels will be in the town itself on the Black Sea, and some will be up in the mountains where the downhill and snow events will take place.
Rates for hotels in Sochi seem to vary from the extremely affordable to the extremely expensive. It is possible that there will be some decent and affordable rooms during the 2014 Olympics, but I’m not taking any chances. I would rather get something (preferably refundable) on points, then cross my fingers and hope that rates are reasonable during the biggest event to ever come to that part of Russia.
I’m sure this isn’t an exhaustive list, but there are the chain hotels that I am aware of that are currently under construction:
Hyatt Regency Sochi – “With panoramic views of the Black Sea and easy access to the beach, Hyatt Regency Sochi features 199 spacious guestrooms including 171 rooms and 28 suites. Contemporary guestrooms ranging in size from 37 to 195 sq m (398 to 2,098 sq ft) with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies offer guests spectacular views of the Black Sea.” It is expected to open in late 2013. Hyatt’s booking calendar only allow you to look one year out, but as soon as February 2013 comes around, start looking for February 2014 award availability. I’m not sure if will be released then as the hotel won’t yet be complete, but that is when I would start checking. I don’t know what category hotel this will be, but just to give some reference, the Park Hyatt in Moscow is a Category 6 and the Hyatt Regency in Ekaterinburg is a Category 3 hotel. I’d guess it would be somewhere between those two hotels.
Sheraton Sochi – I have read many articles that state that the Sheraton Sochi will open in 2013, but the actual Starwood website has it slated for 2016, so I’m not sure what the current status is on that project. Hopefully it will be ready in time to open up a possible SPG award night option.
Doubletree by Hilton, Sochi Adler – “Occupying a prime location overlooking the Black Sea and Mzimta River, the Doubletree by Hilton, Sochi Adler plans to have a total of 200 rooms including 15 detached villas. Located in one of Russia’s most strategically important and rapidly developing investment centres, Doubletree by Hilton, Sochi Adler is expected to open by the end of 2011.” Seems they are off their initial target date, but if you are interested in using HHonors points to stay in Sochi, I would keep my ears open for updates on this hotel.
Marriott Sochi – Marriott isn’t just building one hotel in Sochi, they are building three.
• 150-room JW Marriott Sochi Golf Resort (expected to open early 2014)
• 398-room Marriott Krasnaya Polyana Hotel (expected to open late 2013)
• 345-room Courtyard by Marriott Sochi Plaza Hotel (expected to open late 2013)
Marriott Hotels also book one year in advance, so February 2013 would be a good time to start watching for these properties to become bookable using points.
Club Carlson Properties – I may be saving the best for last with these properties. Not because they will necessarily be the nicest properties, but because they may be the most interesting for points junkies. Two Club Carlson properties in Sochi are actually already open. These include:
Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, Sochi: “Plan the perfect Black Sea resort getaway at the Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, Sochi Conveniently located in the centre of the city near the Black Sea beach, the Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, Sochi is one of the finest beach resort hotels in Russia. The hotel offer 299 rooms including Deluxe Rooms, Suites and Villas furnished with Free high-speed, wireless Internet access.” This property goes for 50,000 points per night.
The Park Inn Rosa Khutor: ” Located in the heart of the Alpine Ski Resort Development, serves as the perfect base for exploring Russia’s most popular skiing destination. The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort will host the 2014 Winter Olympic games and offers 40 runs and 18 lifts, set against the region’s stunning mountainous backdrop.“ This hotel goes for 38,000 points per night. I enjoyed this blog post by Bruce Talley on the property.
There are other Club Carlson hotels that are in the middle of construction. These include:
Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre, Sochi – this hotel will be 44,000 points per night and is scheduled to open later in 2012.
Radisson Hotel, Rosa Khutor – this hotel is scheduled to open later in 2012.
Park Inn by Radisson Sochi Imeretinskaya Resort – this hotel is scheduled to open in 2013.
Here’s all I’m going to say about the Club Carlson hotels, they take points reservations way into the future. Update: They also are very quick to pull down availability when folks start booking, so if/when you see it again, book quickly. I have seen both the Radisson Blu and the Park Inn Rosa Khutur with availability during the Olympics. When I launched this post the Radisson Blu had wide open availability on points, but within a few hours it was gone…..for now.
Here is a link to the Olympic event schedule for 2014. Register here for information about event tickets. Yes, I’m already booked. Hope to see you there.