With Olympics Looming, Top Sochi Hotels Delay Openings

Here's some worrisome news out of Russia today: Reuters is reporting that the upcoming Swisshotel in Sochi may not be ready to open in time for the Winter Olympics…along with other hotels in the area. Oliver Kuhn, manager of the Swissotel in the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort, which will host the Alpine skiing events, told the news service that the first guests were due to arrive on February 6. The hotel's website says that it is accepting reservations for stays beginning March 19—almost a month after the Olympics have ended.

CNN, meanwhile, is reporting that the official opening of the hotel Gorki Grand has been postponed "due to technical reasons" (we hear the hotel is having "some troubles with the water.") 

We recently noted that Sochi may attract the fewest American visitors to a Winter Olympics in 20 years, which can be (at least partially) credited to a lack of luxury hotel rooms in the city and surrounding areas.

Russia’s plan to spend $50 billion on hotels and other infrastructure to convert a small city on the Black Sea into a year-round resort has not resulted in enough high-end hotels, a recent article in BusinessWeek noted, and the existing facilities have raised prices by 121 percent for the event, according to UK travel website Trivago.

Still, there are some notable properties that have opened recently in the area: The Solis Sochi Hotel opened in December, and Marriott recently opened the Sochi Marriott Krasnaya Polyana Hotel. Still, as we noted in late January, without more properties catering to luxury travelers, the overall Games (and the city itself) may suffer. Making the situation worse, hotels in the city are raising rates for the duration of the games up to 144 percent above average.