We visited the Snow Elf hotel for a 3 night stay with Thomson pre Christmas 2013 as part of their Lapland adventure trip with our two children aged 10 and 8. If you are reading this you are probably debating whether to spend the small fortune it costs on this trip and so I will try and give a fair assessment of the hotel and then of the Thomson package. In short though it is a magical few days.
The village (it is really just two snowy streets) is very beautiful and the hotel is warm and welcoming. It is spread out in various areas and so you need to suit up between buildings to stay warm. We were lucky as it was only -1 to -10 when we were there... but it had been -37 the week before and was forcast to drop back down there the week after.
The clothes provided at the airport were great. You will also need thermals plus 2 more layers underneath. Do take lots of socks - 3 pairs kept out the cold.
The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful, the accommodation clean and comfortable. We were in a family apartment with a bedroom for us and a sofa bed in the living area for the children. there was also a sauna in the apartment (and a drying cupboard and kitchen should you need them).
The food was plentiful and filling. Good breakfasts. Other reviews have been critical of the lunch and dinner time food ... it isn't fine dining but it was good simple cooking and my children happily filled up on what there was.
We also used the small pool, and sauna.
But more importantly we used the sledges... The children loved getting from A to B on them (indeed they went from A to B to A to B to A to B ...). And there are some great toboggan runs right next to the appartments. You can also take the sledges to pull the family into the village if you want to visit the supermarket/ other hire shops too.
Thomson's reps are very positive and friendly, as are the Lappish elves. They did their best to make our stay a good one, and they were helpful and switched on and put on a fun show on the last 'gala night' (we didnt expect to enjoy it and we really did).
The taster session was a fair introduction...But not unmissable if you wanted to do something else. We had expected a short husky ride, short go on a snow mobile AND reindeer rides and only got the first two.
The visit to see Santa was really well managed, a lovely magical morning in a really idilic setting. Santa was very friendly and (shhhh) convincing. The gift he gave was less impressive... all children got a Thomson dog toy. Hmmmmmn.
Our one reservation about the trip? The reps are clearly under some pressure to sell you the very very expensive additional trips. It shows. And you really want to do the trips as this is a once in a lifetime holiday... But boy are they expensive: Brace yourselves: they come in at £400ish each trip for a family of 4 for a couple of hours. On top of the basic holiday cost. So if you do 3, that is another £1200 to find. Ouch.
But do not dispair as you can easily arrange trips yourself. Due to a problem with the flights (weather related) we lost half a day which meant that we couldnt book as many trips independently as we would have hoped but we did a couple:
We managed to visit the ice hotel in a private taxi (c.30mins away) with two other guests we met at the hotel for about £65 per couple (taxi booked at reception). Entrance fee £30 for the family of 4 of us. Absolutely magical place which we had to ourselves for an hour. Do not miss it! The Thomson trip in a coach would have been £400.
We also took out a skidoo for an hour from one of the hire shops in the village with a sleigh on the back for the kids (they absolutely loved it) for £50 ... A snowy hoot. A similar skidoo trip with Thomson would have cost us £360.
We did visit the husky's and drive a husky sleigh with Thomson which was wonderful. But at £400 plus it should be! We could have booked it independently for considerably less.
You are on a tight timetale and so need to plan ahead if you can - google snow fun safaris who have a trip timetable you can see in advance. They were really lovely and helpful people.
All in all it is a fabulous location, a really fun packed trip and we won't regret all the £££ spent for a minute. But we would rather not have felt so sold at and packaged... Happy christmas!
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- Also Known As:
- Lapland Hotel Akaslompolo
- Lapland Hotel Akashotelli Finland/Akaslompolo