My wife and I have just returned from 7 days at the Davvi Arctic Lodge with Transun and we had a really enjoyable time. Most of this was due to the quality of the operator but some was plain good luck.
We had booked into a cabin and as luck would have it, there was some sort of problem which meant we were upgraded to an Aurora room. We never saw inside the cabins or the hotel rooms but we met people who were in both and we never heard any complaints. Our room was one of the smaller ones in the Aurora block but it was of a very high standard with a sauna and coffee making facilities etc. We had no complaints.
Food in the hotel was buffet style, wholesome and plentiful with a limited but adequate degree of choice. Not fine dining but all the better for it. The bar prices were highish but we were in Scandinavia. They didnt seem over the top with a small(er) beer at 4 Euros and a gin and tonic at 7.50,
The whole hotel was warm, welcoming, clean and comfortable and the staff were friendly and seemed eager to please. It was located just away from the main village which was fine, especially as there was a shop/cafe/garage at the bottom of the hill which was reasonably priced and sold nearly everything you might need. The village was only a short walk further on and there was another couple of shops, tourist centre and a bar that opened on Fridays and Saturdays at this time of year.
We didnt go to the sister hotel, The Arctic Star, which was over the bridge in Sweden but met people who had stayed there and they said that it was more basic but I heard no complaining.
We were there for 7 days on a half board basis and had activities every day that were bought and paid for in advance. For the most part this was enough and we got to do snowmobiling, snow shoeing, husky and reindeer sledding, and Ice Castle and Sami museum visiting. There was a range of additional trips that could be purchased on arrival. These seemed relatively highly priced and we chose only to do the 3 hour fell view snow mobile tour at £110 pp. This like all the other trips was great fun. Some of the other trips seemed over the top price wise but people had expected this and came back from them having had a good experience. If you put the effort in you could source some of the trips locally for considerably less. The sole exception in terms of quality was the 'Igloo Interlude' (at £120pp) where I heard consistently critical reports thoughout the week of easily resolvable problems such as broken sleeping bags and equipment, lack of toilet rolls etc being unattended to and commented on by a succession of guests. This was the only really negative element to the trip for some and really should have been sorted. There will always be issues in such a major operation and the opertor should not be judged by their occurrence but rather by how they fix them. A friend of our was given a form to fill in and send off. A full or partial refund there and then would have given a far more positive message.
The staff who oversaw the activities gave clear briefings and were there to offer support to anyone who struggled. The equipment (especially the suits and boots) was of a high standard and seemed to be well maintained. They seemed to be happy in their work and well led.
Another pieces of good luck on our part was the weather which was unseasonally mild at -5 to +5 degrees with blue skies and little snowfall. There were quite strong winds on some days but nothing interrupted the flow of activities.
Finally, we had gone with a view to seeing the Northern lights and although they had been elusive in the week before we arrived, we saw them on 5 of the 7 nights we were there. On one night they were pretty indistinct, on 3 they were more visible but still seemed far off or partially obscured by clouds but on our final night they were powerful and bright. On our way down from the hill at 1.30 am the whole sky above us lit up with dancing colours in every direction. Abnsolutely awesome! Not remotely assured as the lights are a force of nature but the hill behind the hotel is a gentle 10-15 minute stroll and provides an excellent and light-polution free vantage point. You do however need to put in the hours in order to be there when the lights do occur and do some limited advanced preparation if you want to take reasonable pictures. Transun give perfectly adequate guidance on this.
A personal and very avoidable niggle was that I was there for my 60th birthday and my wife went to some trouble to order a surprise cake, pay for it in advance and gain assurance that it would not appear on the invoice. Unfortunately this was overlooked and it appeared as the first item on the advance paperwork. Bang went the surprise!
That to one side, the whole week was great fun, in a nice place with like minded people and staff who went out of their way to help you have a good time. I would certainly recommend Transun, the hotel, and the location to others and we wouldn't hesitate to travel with them again.
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- Also Known As:
- Davvi Arctic Hotel Karesuvanto
- Davvi Hotel Karesuvanto
- Davvi Arctic Lodge Karesuvanto, Finland - Lapland