It all seems to be an old Russian tradition. Roughing it has been the Russian way for hundreds of years. But, after all the propaganda from Vladimir Putin and the Russian Olympic Committee, we were expecting just a little more of the modern touch than they offered.
Here are some Twitter comments and an article by the CBC correspondent:
My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous." #Sochi2014
Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like. #Sochi#unfiltered
Also on the bright side: I just washed my face with Evian, like I'm a Kardashian or something.
Made new pal from La Presse as we struggled to find hotel. When we got to our (temporary) rooms his doorknob came off in hand #roadtosochi ___________________________________
Matthew Dalton @DJMatthewDalton Wall Street Journal Reporter ___________________________________
Now, here is a great article by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on his impressions of Sochi, and he has a more fair take on it by saying the impressions are at the extremes of pleasant and nasty. This seems to me to fit Russia just right.