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.

Sochi Olympics Hotel

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!

Posted by mommypoints | 26 Comments

26 Responses to “Potential Hotel Option for Sochi Olympics Open”

  1. Lynn says:

    A little fear of terrorism, perhaps? Don’t blame you one bit!

  2. Whiskarina says:

    Perhaps? BUT, you can’t change your plans with the fear of terrorism, because then THEY win! :)

  3. iahphx says:

    As a veteran Olympic attendee, I recall telling you more than a year ago my reasons for not going to the Sochi games. I thought the games would be un-fun and a hassle. Vladimir Putin certainly doesn’t care whether Joe Western Tourist attends his games and has a good time.

    That said, I still believe that hotel rooms WILL become available at the last minute for these games, just as they always do. While Sochi probably has more hotel “issues” than most Olympic cities, it also has a huge advantage: people like you don’t really want to go, and will cancel. I expect you will read about fine last minute lodging options from folks who do make the trip. Whether those who make it have a good time is another issue. On a positive note, I would expect plenty of last minutes tickets (like yours) to also become available.

  4. Melissa says:

    I finally booked a cabin on the Grand Holiday at the end of September. So glad I did that. While I’m sad to pay the money and not get any points options, we are staying at the Park Hyatt in Moscow and W St. Petersburg entirely on points. (Plus all our flights were paid with points). I’m excited and nervous all at the same time! Trying to prep for the cold of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Yeesh!

  5. mommypoints says:

    -It is not surprise there are terrorist activities to some degree. Anyone booking must have known that was a risk. It was not a direct cause of our cancellation, but it certainly was making my family anxious.
    iahphx, I agree there will be some last minute hotel options that are likely to open up. Not sure how many people will really wait until the last minute given the visa issues for Russia, but I’m sure it will happen.
    Melissa, I hope you have an awesome time and can’t wait to hear all about it!

  6. Graydon says:

    I do television production work and was very interested in Sochi as a project but after a bit of research (quite a while ago) I backed out. I have done a ton of large scale sporting events and the organization on this one was was abysmal. Not on the network side, they were doing the best they could do. If you think finding lodging as a guest was tough you would cringe at what the man and women working the broadcast events will have to endure. There’s no way I was going to ride in a bus nearly 2 hours one way every day just to work this job plus be put in the “basement” of some boat splitting a room who god knows who or how many. In the end the money was not worth the daily grind issues.

    I will enjoy the games from the comfort of my living room but I will know what those working the games are dealing with daily.

  7. puck says:

    Booked an overpriced hotel for the games through CoSport.
    Like Melissa,flights and hotels in Istanbul(Grand Hyatt) and Moscow (Park Hyatt) paid for with points and miles. WIll be traveling with my brother.Friends and family getting very anxious. Visa was a hassle but got a 3 year multi entry visa. Brother had to make personal appearance at consulate and still waiting for visa.

  8. Betsy says:

    So sorry you won’t be there! We’ve jumped through all the hoops , outlined in a couple posts on our blog. Got the visa invitation through our hotel, which we secured through booking.com, reasonably priced. Got the visa using an agent in DC – hassle-free and expensive. Air transport has already been modified once. We go home Sochi-Moscow-Istanbul-Heathrow-Dublin-Newark-LAX-Kauai.

    I think we all realized early on that these Olympics would be disorganized, inconvenient, controversial, and possibly dangerous. There’s also the possibility they’ll be more exceptional for unforeseen reasons. We’re remaining positive. Leaving on Sunday for Europe and heading east to Sochi mostly by land over the next three weeks. Aloha!

  9. Robert Hanson says:

    “my points reservations for the Club Carlson rooms were pulled out from under me by the IOC. How dare they?!”

    Posted when you first mentioned this that an Olympics in the new Soviet Union would be a disaster. Glad you are not going, as much as you will miss being there. Only an organization as corrupt as the Olympics would ever even consider holding such a major International event in the Fascist New Russia. Just be thankful that Putin will not be able to put you in jail for comments like the above.

  10. Wendy says:

    I would plan a trip to Canada during the Olympics. You can watch the games live on CBC. I live in NW Ohio where we have CBC on our local cable provider. I watch the games live because CBC shows everything as close to live as possible. If you watch the games on CBC you will never watch the crap they put on NBC. NBC has been discontinued from my cable yet I could care less if its back before the opening ceremony. In a month I will be living on Sochi time so I can watch the Games live.

  11. Ben Trimmer says:

    Howdy from Houston. I sent you an email regarding you pulling out of visiting Sochi. I agree, this trip has been a very difficult one to book, as I have been planning this trip since August 2012. The –last– piece of the puzzle is receiving our tickets in the mail. I am very anxious on that!

  12. J says:

    I lived in Russia in 93-94. I would love to go to Sochi. I was going to take my family of 5 to Russia last spring, but with the hassle of visas I didn’t have $1250 for this expense. Russians are angry about the Olympics due to the insane cost. If they don’t go well though it is not going to do much for world peace. Their dictator has a lot staked on this event. I am looking forward to it. I lived next to the Olympic stadium and worked in downtown SLC for the 2002 Olympics. The atmosphere was exhilarating. Next to the entrance of my office building the Austrian t.v. station set up camp and there was so much activity all around. I didn’t attend any events cause I was 9 months pregnant and didn’t want to have a baby on t.v. which could have happened since my child was born “in record speed” but it was a great experience. I also grew up in the ski business and never wanted the Olympics to come and ruin our state and kill us with taxes, but NBC paid for half the cost right after they were announced and the other stuff takes care of the other $500 million so it worked out without a debilitating debt as a souvenir on the state. Lots of rooms became available in SLC at the last minute though so this will probably also happen for Sochi. GO TEAM USA!!!!

  13. Dean says:

    Sorry you will not be joining us in Sochi. As for the Radisson, I don’t think it was the IOC that pulled the room from you. They had a contract with Radisson long before any reservations were accepted. It was Radisson that mad the error in putting up award rooms for during that period. If you recall, it was just award rooms that were available – not paid rooms so it was probably an issue with the Radisson software.

    In the beginning both the Russian and US Governments advised that hotels would be an issue. We booked on the Grand Holiday when it first became available. We would have preferred one of the new hotels but realized that the chances of them being released to the general public was small. Many of the hotels were opening “late 2013″ and as anyone who has done any construction understands, there are delays and they never make the original projected opening date. Just look at the Andaz Maui. How many weeks / months was it delayed. And that was a single project. Not a project than was anywhere near the scale of what was done in Sochi / Adler.

    I think everyone is concerned about terrorism at any of the Olympics. Sochi is possibly worse but you need to recall the antiaircraft batteries that were put on rooftops in London. It is obvious that Putin is doing everything possible to ensure that the games are safe for everyone.

    Yes, making all the reservations, getting the Visa was a hassle. But I believe that Russia will put on one of the best Olympics. Putin wants to show the world what they can do.

  14. mommypoints says:

    Sad I’m not going too and hope that Russia does put on a great and safe Olympics and I can’t wait to hear about it from those of you that are able to make the trip!

  15. Melissa says:

    My husband and I are getting very anxious to go… We will be in sochi for 7 days. I initially bought a package including hotels last feb from cosports and was given an option to buy hotel rooms for my other days after thanksgiving. It was expensive but I was able to get it all secured which is a big relief. Looki g forward to seeing everyone there.

  16. Bored Russian says:

    I am Russian living in the US and also had to cancel my trip due to latest events. I have to pay $300 to LH to hold my tickets fr future use and probably will end up losing money on pair of Moscow – Sochi tix on S7 :( From what I hear, there are federal laws prohibiting non-refundable ticket sales and all tickets are refundable. BUT, I booked mine thru Flex Points and afraid I will be out of luck getting anything back. Also will need to ebay or refund my event tickets. Anyone knows if those are refundable?

  17. mommypoints says:

    Bored Russian, we are trying ebay for our tickets first and then will try the fan2fan “official” reseller. Honestly I have low expectations for both routes, but hopefully we can get at least something back. Sorry to hear you aren’t making the trip either!

  18. Yana says:

    Mommypoints – sorry to hear about you not going.
    I’ve looked at the tickets listed on ebay. Each has an account holder number printed on them and has a warning that “Ticket is only valid with a spectactor pass”.

    Does it mean that each attendee has to get a personalized spectator pass that should match the ticket holder info printed on the ticket? Or the two don’t have to be related?

  19. mommypoints says:

    Yana, I applied for a spectator pass before deciding not to go and all you had to do was link one number associated with one ticket to get the pass. So, most of your tickets won’t be associated with your spectator pass application. You do need to have at least one ticket and related number to get the spectator pass though.

  20. Dean says:

    mommypoints, before you consider using the fan2fan site there are things you need to consider. First, you need to send the tickets to Russia (and they have to have received them) before they will list the tickets on fan2fan. Second, IF the tickets sell, you will only get back the actual price of the ticket – you don’t get back the Co-Sport fees that are added on (something to consider when you set your Ebay price). Also, if you do send the tickets to Russia, you have eliminated any possibility of selling them in the US.

    To me, I would probably offer the tickets on Ebay at a significant discount in order to get some money back rather than hoping that fan2fan could sell the tickets.

  21. Dean says:

    Also forgot to mention that people in the US can buy on the fan2fan site and the price there is the same as CoSport. So anyone selling tickets on Ebay needs to look at the inventory of tickets both on Co-Sport and on fan2fan. Buying from Co-Sport or fan2fan does not carry the risk that Ebay does (fake tickets etc.).

  22. mommypoints says:

    Dean, totally agree. We are starting with eBay but I’m not seeing any real activity there.

  23. Chris says:

    Hi all.
    I’ve just discovered this blog & it’s very useful.
    I have my flights & tickets for Sochi Olympics all ready and I thought I had my accommodation sorted over Christmas but alas it’s not. I’d had a confirmation email of my reservation on the Louis Olympia cruise liner but when I queried the booking this week I learnt that there was no availability on any of the cruise liners despite my reservation.
    24 hours ago the website still listed all the cruise liners as available & you could still ‘book’ a cabin. But since my enquiry they have all now become ‘sold out’. I don’t know if they are just slow at updating their website or if something else is going on.

    Anyway, I’m travelling on my own from the UK & will (hopefully!) be in Sochi from 17th-23rd February. If ANYONE can offer advice or recommend accommodation for me I’d be very grateful. Also, as I’m travelling alone & won’t know anyone in Sochi it’d be nice to make some new friends out there if anyone is interested!

    Thanks,
    Chris

  24. Yana says:

    MP – that Mercure hotel availability that you described was totally phantom due to the website glitch. I saw myself all days becoming available from 2/1 until 3/19 and then disappearing swiftly. A lot of people made bookings, only to be automatically cancelled. Some bookings on non-refundable, prepaid rates charged credit/debit cards with money later returned. The constant excuse for unavailability of hotels was given that it is booked for IOC members and personnel.
    I am still thinking of whether to go or not. One other thing that concerns me is the Spectactor pass not being connected to tickets bought from different sellers. Yes, I understand that one needs to have bought at least one ticket to get a Spectator pass but what about the rest of the tickets? None of them would be tied to the pass or have the same client ID. The official rules actually state that the original seller needs to accompany the rest of the party, otherwise their tickets are void and can be cancelled. I guess it was done to prevent excessive ticket scalping.

  25. k says:

    Dear Mommypoints

    I also have some tickets that I purchased from CoSports but I need to sell them. Any suggestions how to sell them except ebay? I don’t want to do anything illegal but I don’t wanna loose thousands of dollars…

  26. LSB says:

    I have canceled my trip and have a bunch of tix I am looking to sell, all events between 2/15-2/21. Please let me know if interested.

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