Outdoors + Nature

Where the Weather's Always Perfect

by Sarah Tuff

Sochi, Russia

The friendly skies: Winter Olympians might do a double take when they arrive in subtropical Sochi for the 2014 Games. Instead of snow-covered pines and frozen lakes, there are palm trees and beaches along the Black Sea. Even in the depths of the Russian winter, Sochi's average temperature remains a balmy 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The nearby mountains of the Greater Caucasus range maintain enough snow for athletes vying for gold, silver, and bronze. So, for travelers looking for variety on vacation, the location is a big win.

On the ground: Beat the Olympic crowds by planning a spa-based trip to Sochi; it's believed that the hydrogen sulfide–rich waters that flow through here from the Matsesta spring have healing properties. Make your base at the 40-room Grand Hotel & Spa Rodina, which offers a full complement of treatments and, in summer, a beach club on the Black Sea. Krasnaya Polyana, a ski resort 48 miles from Sochi that boasts the most prodigious and consistent snowfalls in Russia, can be visited on a day trip. At dusk, soaking in the hot springs back in Sochi, you'll understand why this city chose a leopard and a polar bear as its Olympic mascots.

Grand Hotel & Spa Rodina
33 Vinogradnaya Street
Sochi, Russia
Tel: 877 999 0680 (toll-free)
Doubles from $324.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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