Fancy sleeping in Stalin’s room in Sochi? Now you can

However bizarre this may sound, in 2017 you can actually check into the room previously occupied by Stalin himself.

However bizarre this may sound, in 2017 you can actually check into the room previously occupied by Stalin himself.

Reuters
Catch some Z’s in the dictator’s bed and try out his specially designed snooker cue.

Rumors of Joseph Stalin’s ailing health began circulating in Germany before spreading across the Atlantic in September, 1936. Newspapers suggested Stalin was so ill that he wouldn’t be able to continue ruling the Soviet Union, triggering a power struggle in the Kremlin.

Moscow vehemently denied the claims, offering an alternative explanation for the leader’s unusually prolonged absence from public view. Stalin, they said, was on holiday on the Black Sea in Sochi, 1,500 km south of Moscow.

But as they say, there’s no smoke without fire - there was potential credence in both accounts. Stalin indeed suffered from poor joints and lungs, and he found Sochi’s Matsesta baths healing. What’s more, his new Sochi residence was finally completed in 1936.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, some 20 retreat residences were left unused.

Check-in, Sir?

However bizarre this may sound, in 2017 you can actually check into the room previously occupied by the man himself. Its chief occupant being long gone, holidaymakers are able to rent the rooms of Stalin’s Sochi dacha.

Stalin’s residence is a bright green complex located on a hill right above Sochi’s Zelenaya Rocha (Green Grove) sanatorium. The environment is quite spartan: Small rooms stuffed with old Soviet furniture and dim lighting may not be what the modern traveler is used to, but at least it’s authentic.

“This is not a museum, we do not issue ads and we do not have a website or a cash register,” says a local guide who takes tourists around the complex.

The residence remains part of the guest complex, which at times creates ridiculous problems for its staff.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, some 20 retreat residences were left unused. Nikita Khrushchev, the architect of de-Stalinization, gave the dachas to local authorities to do as they pleased. Since Sochi was regarded as a retreat city, the authorities there built a sanatorium on the site of his residence. In 1968, the 12 rooms - including the one previously reserved for Stalin - welcomed the first visitors.

In 1968, the 12 rooms - including the one previously reserved for Stalin - welcomed the first visitors.

The residence remains part of the guest complex, which at times creates ridiculous problems for its staff.

“Once we were ordered to take important guests on a tour around the dacha, but its rooms were all booked by residents. So we then urgently took those staying in the dacha on an improvised tour to Sukhumi (a city in the partially recognized state of Abkhazia, 150 kilometers southeast of Sochi), boarded them on buses and sent them to Abkhazia. In the meantime, the important guests took their tour of Stalin’s residence,” said one employee working at the residence.

This year, part of Stalin’s Sochi residence is under renovation.

Under construction

This year, part of Stalin’s Sochi residence is under renovation. Visitors are welcome to take a tour around the complex, which is largely unaffected by the construction works - although the rooms in this part of the building are not for rent at the moment.

When the renovation is completed the next year, everyone will be able to check into all rooms previously occupied by Stalin, members of his family, and close associates. In the meantime, you may freely play Stalin’s chess, test his snooker cue (specifically modified for his dysfunctional hand), and take a picture with the Generalissimo himself… well, his wax statue, to be specific.

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