Scammy Restaurant, Dirty Hotel, No Credit Cards Allowed: An Olympics Reporter Shares His Sochi Story

Earlier today, we shared numerous Tweets about the hellish hotel problems experienced by reporters on the ground in Sochi, Russia, as they prepare for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Now a journalist in Sochi shares his Sochi story with Consumerist.

Steve has been in Russia for a few days with a large group of reporters and photographers. He’s asked us not to identify his employer, but let’s just say it’s a household name.

Much like the other reporters who have been sharing unpleasant experiences from Sochi, Steve is having a few hospitality-related issues with the town he’ll call home for the next few weeks.

“On the third night I found empty beers under my bed,” he tells Consumerist about his hotel room. “They are either from before I got there and I didn’t see them or someone partied while I was at work.”

Steve also says that when he went to check out the Olympic hockey arena, he got stuck in an elevator had to pry the door open himself to get out.

He has this important caveat for anyone who might be traveling to Sochi to attend the games: “Nobody takes credit card and some places have just run out of food and drinks and bottled water.”

On the credit card front, Steve says he and his large team went out for their big dinner the other night. They had already pre-paid half of the very expensive restaurant bill in advance and agreed to pay the remaining half in credit card after the meal.

“When we went to pay and leave they said ‘No, nobody pay yet,” he recalls, saying the restaurant demanded that the entire tab be paid for in cash right then and there. “So… it took some time and some arguing before they agreed that, okay yes, we had paid half then they still wanted $5k in cash. They had to drive a credit card machine up from the city so we could pay them.”

Since Steve and most of the team were only vaguely aware of this drama, he lightheartedly says, “It was like a really fun, boozy kidnapping/extortion.”

In spite of all this, Steve says that it could be a lot worse.

“I’m feeling safe for the most part and having a good time,” he writes. “Once the games actually start I’m sure it’ll fly by.”

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