This holiday was the best experience ever! We booked for 3 days through Santatrips.com and my only regret was not booking for longer.
Everything about the holiday was so well run and thought out, I cannot fault anything or anyone.
The hotel was beautiful; everything was clean and well maintained. The room had a mini fridge, TV, kettle with tea/coffee supplies, private sauna, hair dryer, shampoo/soap etc. It also had a drying cupboard for wet clothes.
Each apartment has a balcony and all rooms were toasty warm, which is just what you need when you have been hiking through snow all day. My son and I were sleeping on a pullout sofa bed and it was surprisingly very comfortable.
This is the only hotel that has a viewing room for the northern lights. It was lovely and peaceful with leather sofas and a panoramic window. Unfortunately, our northern light experience was nothing more than a teeny green light on the horizon!
From the minute we landed, it was so magical for the children. A Lappish couple were there to meet us with a reindeer, all in traditional dress. Perfect photo opportunity.
Elves were there to greet us inside the airport. We were all given song sheets on the coach and the children were urged to sing as loud as they liked.
Next we were all kitted out with the appropriate clothing, which was a bit like a military operation, but the people were very experienced and could judge your size by looking at you, and within 30 minutes, we had boots, socks, snow suit, mittens and hats if required.
Back at the hotel, we tried it all on and looked a treat! Fortunately EVERYONE in Saariselka was dressed in the same suits, so as long as you were warm, you didn't care.... and believe me, it was -5% and we were roasting!!
The food at the hotel was wonderful. It was buffet style and there was so much choice, from kid’s nuggets and chips and salad, to various soups, pate's and traditional dishes e.g. reindeer stew.
Breakfast was just as plentiful with cooked items, cereals, different breads, pancakes etc to salad and cooked meat, which was quite surprising.
On the 2nd day we were picked up and taken to a beautiful scenic spot in the middle of nowhere, where everything is lit by giant tea lights. We had a visit with Santa (this is a private thing, you are taken family by family by snowmobile, so you don't 'bump' into anyone or have to queue).
They have different activities in different areas and it's all very relaxed. There is no queuing or waiting around, just wander around until something is free.
The available activities are ice-fishing, ice-sculpting, husky sledding (parents drive), reindeer sleigh rides, tobogganing, snowmobile for children (tied to a tree, so they just go round in a circle, but love it all the same), skidoos, arctic circle ceremony and a cosy hut for hot berry juice and gingerbread.
They do insist that the husky and reindeer rides are only done once, so everyone gets a go and the animals get a rest.
That night we were treated to Christmas Gala, which was basically another wonderful buffet, with crackers and a kid’s party thrown in! The reps who ran the party were fantastic and played some brilliant (if somewhat revolting) games that even the shyest of children wanted to join in.
Around the corner from this hotel is a toboggan slope that boasts to be the biggest in the world. Whether this is true or not, this is where we spent our last morning, and we only managed to get halfway up it! We could've easily spent a full day there, it was fantastic!
In front of all hotels, there are plastic sledges to be borrowed by anyone who wants one. The best thing about the whole experience is, apart from a couple of small souvenir shops, there is absolutely nothing to spend your money on.
There is nobody taking pictures and trying to sell them to you. There are opportunities to do extra activities e.g. snowmobiling but we found the holiday fun filled enough. Apart from some postcards and a couple of stuffed toys, I didn't buy anything.
A camera with lots of films/memory is a must
We spent loads on thermal wear but found we didn't need it as the suits (combined with being active) were sufficient.
I would suggest normal long sleeved tops or sweatshirts would be fine. As for thermal leggings, forget it. I wore comfortable jeans and my son wore thick cargo pants. DO USE THE MITTENS AND SOCKS OFFERED.
Last but not least, I would like to say that although this was an expensive holiday, it was worth every penny, as it is definitely a once in a lifetime thing.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.