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“Truly magical place”

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Nellim Wilderness Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nellim
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Truly magical place”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

I cannot begin to describe how much I loved my 4 night stay at Nellim. We came here to view the Northern Lights (which we had fantastic displays of on 2 nights), but the people, scenery and activities were the ones that really stole our hearts. The hotel is located about 45 minutes drive from Ivalo airport, and we had lovely Matti pick us up from the airport. It is has a lake close by to it, which you can walk across in search of the lights if you had no activities planned at night. Take a light with you though!

The rooms were basic but good enough, we struggled a little bit with the cold on our first night, but they sorted us out with an extra portable heater. The hotel provides winter clothing as well, as the other reviews have mentioned, but I would recommend bringing lots of layers and your own balaclava. Food was excellent, we always looked forward to a warm meal after a day out in the cold. There is a sauna in the basement which can be booked for private use in hourly slots as well.

The guides were friendly, helpful and great fun! We were lucky to have had Matias, Matti, Pete and Ben take us around. They were very experienced, and ensured our safety and warmth at all times. We enjoyed all the activities, but the one that we loved the most was the husky sledding. It was a truly magical experience, having beautiful huskies take you across vast lakes. The dogs were incredibly friendly, we were given a chance to play with them after and they just craved attention and cuddles!

At night, we were taken out on snowmobiles (or we drove them ourselves on one ocassion) to hunt for the aurora. You get unobstructed views across Lake Inari, and the guides often built
fires and served hot juice to keep you warm whilst you wait for the lights to make an appearance. A really great way to search out the lights. The guides were also very experienced with cameras (I struggled getting the proper settings on mine), and can give you tips on how or where to take the best shots.

Overall, I cannot recommend Nellim enough as a place for a winter holiday and to view the lights. It's suitable for both families and friends. Thank you to everyone at Nellim (especially Pete, Matias and Matti) for making this an unforgettable trip!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank mei_soo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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482 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (135)
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English first
Devon, England
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We stayed here for seven nights and the stay was fabulous. We managed to pack in 10 activities and managed to see the lights on three occasions, twice it was strong but you must go hoping and not expecting to see them as there are so many variables. The hotel is spread over a number of sites all within easy and short walking distance. The main building consists of the reception, adjoining bar, large dining room, smaller dining and serving area and then a number of rooms off the corridor. I cannot comment on the quality of the rooms as we stayed in a separate cabin. We spent one night in the aurora bubble, if you are going to do this you should do it for the experience and don't be disappointed if you do not see anything except stars. They are not really facing north so unless you get a good show you may not se much. Try to choose one closest to the hotel as they have a slightly better angle to the north. You should be able to book these after arriving so you can try to pick a good night for the aurora. I will post pictures and more about the room on the section for rooms.

We started this process by looking at the Aurora Zone site as they use the hotel and run activities from here but in the end because we wanted a few more nights and the Honeymoon Cabin we emailed the hotel direct. They could not have been more helpful. We managed to book 9 separate activities, an extra night and flights without a significant lay-over at Helsinki for approx £450 less for each person than we could have with Aurora Zone. OK so we did not get the benefit of a rep but that did not make a bit of difference to our holiday as once there everyone mucks in together. You go on all of the same activities with no differentiation between how you got there.

We tried the snowshoe, snowmobile safari, snowmobiling, husky sledging, aurora camp, searching for aurora by snowmobile, day trip to Siida, reindeer farming, and cross country skiing. All of these activities are within the ability of everyone. My wife and I shared all of the driving/riding and tried skiing etc for the first time with no difficulties. We were a bit uncertain about insurance for the snowmobiles (you sign to say you accept responsible for their 500 euro excess) and we tried to get extra insurance to cover this and personal liability insurance (excluded by our insurer if you snowmobile) without success. In the event we need not have worried about it as it was really quite simple and safe.

There are really only three topics of conversation in the lounge and bar, will we see the aurora, how do you take a picture of it and how many layers are you wearing! There are a number of sites and some apps you can download to give you some idea of the aurora strength where you are and these are helpful but if it is cloudy you can have the strongest aurora and you won't see it very well. The camera setting we found best were 15-20 second shutter speed (less for strong colours), 1600 ISO and the lowest f stop (on these settings my camera would only go down to 4.5). The shots we took were great and most people were using these (or very close) settings. Make sure you take an extra battery, they run down quickly in the cold but if you put them in a warm pocket you can get some extra from them. They will need charging every night. There is free wifi in the main lounge and dining area but not elsewhere and it is a bit slow but you can upload to Facebook and email quite easily.

Apart from a couple of days when our fingers were a little cold we were very warm and at no stage were my feet cold. The warm clothing and boots they provide are very good. I would recommend the following: try to bring your own balaclava, they provide them and I chose one of theirs to go over mine and I was as warm as toast. One the days you are not snowmobiling or in a sledge you need a hat of some sort. They provide helmets with visors and they keep you very warm on the snowmobile and if you are in a sledge being towed.. Under their one piece over-garments (which are very warm) I wore a base layer and a fleece. One one occasion when it was -36 I also wore a second fleece underneath. Anything from -10 or less you might warm up a bit if you have too much on and when we were snowshoeing and cross country skiing we needed to unzip a bit. I had 4 and sometimes 5 socks on, silk base, M&S thermals, and three woollen socks. You will need to select a pair of their winter boots a couple of sizes bigger than your normal size. I take a 44 and had a 46 boot. It was just right with a little bit of room which you must have because if your boots or gloves pinch the cold will get right in there. There are plenty of boots and over-garments to choose from. They also have boxes of gloves, leather mitts, balaclavas, hats and an assortment of bits to keep you warm but I would not rely on kitting yourself out fully on what they provide. Take what you think you might need and use their bit to supplement your kit so a base layer (top, leggings and socks) is essential, some socks would help and your own balaclava. They are all washed after use but you are up close and personal to a balaclava.

Other tips. Our cabin had a hair dryer, kettle but some of the rooms share a communal tea area. The best thing to do is email Mari to ask what your room has, she was very helpful and will reply quickly. One thing I did not think of was a small nail brush. Why would you take a nail brush on holiday I hear you ask. Well when you are taking gloves on and off 100 times a day, helping to chop or move logs, light fires etc I found my nails got quite dirty. I had clipped my nails before I left but I really wanted to get a brush under them to clean them at the end of the day.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Honeymoon Lodge and it was fine but the showers are in a separate (but private) cab...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank roots-and-wings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
swindon
Level 6 Contributor
185 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 178 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2014

We spent 6 nights at this hotel, and would recommend it to anyone without hesitation. The rooms are fine, with comfortable beds, plenty of storage space and a large bathroom, with under-floor heating. We had a standard room, which did not have its own sauna, but the hotel does have a sauna which can be booked for sole use, at no extra cost.
The food was very good, especially considering the remoteness of the place, although the choices if you were vegetarian are slightly limited. The soups were absolutely wonderful, and a meal in themselves (reindeer soup and salmon soup were exceptional). Drinks were not cheap, unsurprisingly, but not over the top. Lager was 6euros and house wine 35-40euros. We took our own favourite tipple and had a nightcap in our rooms, but plenty of the other guests used the hotel bar regularly, which is open to midnight.
We went to see the Northern Lights, and were very lucky to get good views on 2 evenings, but we also participated in all the activities, which were part of our package booked through Aurora Zone. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, husky sleds, reindeer farm visit, and even ice fishing are all on offer, and very well organised. One of the strengths of this hotel is the staff, who were all very efficient and helpful. The guides who look after you on the activities were particularly good, and we were lucky to have Matias, Susanna, Matti and Peter take care of our group. The Aurora Zone representative at the hotel, Ben was also very good, and on one occasion actually took 2 of us out on snowmobiles for a 2 hour trip when we were unable to do the full day trip which had been organised.
It would be difficult to find any flaw with the hotel. When the temperature plummeted down to minus 39c the heating in the rooms struggled to cope for a while, but they have an oil filled heater in the room for additional warmth, and this resolved any minor discomfort.
If we go back to Finland we would not hesitate to book a stay at Nellim Wilderness Hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank foresthouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwickshire
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2014

We stayed here over Christmas with our two children aged 18 & 20. The whole experience was wonderful.We wanted a holiday where we did things together and could all enjoy. The hotel was relaxed and comfortable. We were warm and well fed. The guides were excellent and the activities great fun whilst feeling safe. The arctic clothing provided at the hotel was excellent but I was glad that we'd taken our own ski type outdoor clothing as well.
The staff in the hotel couldn't have been more helpful and the family running it were attentive and a pleasure to meet.
I'd reccomment this holiday to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and wants a slightly different experience.
Make sure you use the aurora alarms as the Northern lights turned up at 4pm on Christmas Day for us (siesta time) whereas all the tips we'd had said they were likely to appear between 9pm and 1am.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank SMDWarwickshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 13, 2014

perfect hotel run by a lovely family and staff, wonderful food good choice different menu each night. The guides were very knowledgeable and caring for the well being of there guests.
A wonderful holiday ever thing was good.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank geraldine k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, FL
Level 6 Contributor
253 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 286 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Lots of nature, good guides and plenty of activities.

We had a nice traditional cabin which was about 300 meters from the lodge . Perfectly quiet. Fireplace. Private sauna. Plenty of space. Across from the lake so easy access to look for the lights when not on activities. We were really happy with the choice. And an easy walk to the lodge for meals and activities.

Lodge will give you snowmobile suit, sorrell boots, hat, outergloves, wool socks...Pretty much everything you might need for your outer layer.

Food was a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of choice and the quality was good. Meals are served by buffet so you can take what you like and have as much as you want.

Activities we lead by guides who are capable, fun and smile easily.

Husky Safari - 2 people to a dog team and sled. Lasts 3 hours. A good way to get out in nature and be on the frozen lake without the noise pollution of snow mobiles. I should have booked this twice in advance, as we couldn't book again once we were there. It was our favorite activity and a bit disappointing that it wasn't available twice.

Northern lights were a no show over a 4 nights. We had cloud cover the entire stay.

Room Tip: We enjoyed the traditional cabin around 300 meters from the lodge for the privacy
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Di D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I have just returned from the 6 night Aurora New Years experience. The welcome we received was warm and inviting after a very long day travelling from the UK. The activities were well organised and exciting. We even got to see the Northern Lights whilst on the snowmobiles on New Year's Day and in the early hours of New Years Day from our fantastic Aurora bubble.
The guides were all very knowledgeable and helpful. Joonas's reindeer pee stories were enlightening and funny. The owner of the hotel was fabulous and acted as the guide for the snowmobiling.

The food was plentiful and of a good quality and hot drinks are freely available all day.
The rooms are fine if not a little warm. However we had no problem regulating the radiators if needed.
We had a slight problem with our toilet but the issue was resolved immediately and professionally.
If I was to be a little picky, during our six night stay, we only received a visit from the cleaner twice ( and one of those was due to the toilet problem) . That notwithstanding, the award of 5 is still a deserved one as both my husband and I were pushed out our our usual sedate luxurious five star comfort zone and still had a fantastic adventure. We also got the opportunity to meet some lovely fellow adventurers.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Donhumphrioni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nellim Wilderness Hotel

Property: Nellim Wilderness Hotel
Address: Nellimintie 4230, Nellim 99860, Finland
Location: Finland > Lapland > Nellim
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nellim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Nellim Wilderness Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 26
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