Where to Stay in Sochi

See our top 5 picks for where to stay in Sochi, Russia.
Twentieth-century Sochi was defined by palatial Soviet sanatoriums and high-rise hotels along the resort city's pebbly beachfront. Twenty-first-century Sochi has been a work in progress, with massive construction transforming the city in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Many new hotels have been opening, mostly in the luxury segment.

Where to stay depends a lot on when – and for what purpose – you are visiting: a summer beach vacation or snow sports in the Alps? Or perhaps hiking in the mountains in the warmer months? Once you've settled on the location, the next question is: what sort of accommodation? The comfort of an international hotel brand, the adventure of a Stalin-era sanatorium, or the quirky retro experience of a Soviet high-rise hotel? The budget segment is undeveloped; Russians economize with home-stay (known as chastny sektor, or “private sector”), but you'd really need to speak some Russian for this option.

Here are our top 5 picks for where to stay in Sochi:

Photo by: Jennifer Chater

Jennifer Chater

Built in 1973, the 19-floor Zhemchuzhina (or Pearl) is right on Sochi's main waterfront promenade, with plenty of beachside bars and restaurants within walking distance. It has been undergoing extensive renovations in recent years, with new decor and some suites extended to 2 rooms. Still, the standard rooms are small for the price. Stay at this 3-star hotel for the central location, clean and comfortable private beach, beautifully landscaped gardens and abundance of extra facilities and services. There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna, gym, casino, shops, massage, hair salon, and restaurants, cafes and bars – including an American-style diner. For better views and less noise, try to get a room on one of the higher floors.

Photo by: Tulip Inn Rosa Khutor Hotel

Tulip Inn Rosa Khutor Hotel

Rosa Khutor is a new alpine resort in the mountains just outside the city of Sochi, 28 miles from the airport and 29 miles from the beach. Under development as a major Winter Olympics site, in the lead-up to the Games it might lag behind its longer-established nearby neighbor, Krasnaya Polyana, in terms of infrastructure. But one advantage is some good-value accommodation, such as the 148-room Tulip Inn Rosa Khutor Hotel, which satisfied guests say deserves more than its 3-star rating. English-speaking staff and reliable free wifi are among its pluses. The hotel has restaurants, bars, massage services, a beauty salon and fitness center – and ski lifts are right nearby, so you don't have to go far to hit the slopes.

Photo by: Peak Hotel

Peak Hotel

One of the longest-established hotels in Sochi's Krasnaya Polyana alpine resort, the recently renovated 4-star Peak Hotel looks vaguely Swiss with its sloping-roofed chalets and villas surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It's a huge complex with 92 rooms, an Italian restaurant, Irish pub, fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, children's club, parking lot, ski rentals and more. Also, guests can ride the hotel shuttle a few miles down the road to the affiliated 5-star Grand Hotel Polyana and the snow-lovers' paradise that is the massive new Gazprom Mountain Tourist Center, with ski lifts and slopes galore.

Photo by: Grand Hotel Rodina

Grand Hotel Rodina

Want to experience the exotic grandeur of a Stalinist neoclassical sanatorium more fit for princes than the proletariat? Grand Hotel Rodina is just that. Founded as the Rossiya sanatorium in 1946, it evolved from a post-war hospital into a favorite retreat for Soviet celebrities, including the first man in space, cosmonaut Yury Gagarin. Complete reconstruction in 2006 lifted it to a whole new level, with the Dutch royal-court decorators adding a regal touch. Reputed to be the poshest place in town, the 40-room 5-star hotel is an oasis of sheer luxury. Set in a lush subtropical garden, it has a private beach, its own fancy restaurants and bars, spa, pools, sports facilities and anything else the modern-day bon-vivant could possibly desire while soaking up Sochi's sunshine.
If you're looking for hostel-style accommodation, you might struggle to find it in Sochi. The colorful Hostel Yozh (or Hedgehog) says it's the city's first. Attached to an eponymous language school, it has gender-segregated 3- and 4-bed rooms, plus the option of a 2-bed room and – unusual for a hostel – a single room. Conveniently located in the city center near Park Riviera, it's a 10-minute walk from the beach and about just as far from the train station. There's free wifi, laundry services, a kitchen and dining room. The affiliated Morskoi Yozh (Sea Urchin) hostel is in neighboring Adler, near the airport, but it's better to stay in central Sochi.

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