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Nellim Wilderness Hotel
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Reviewed February 12, 2014

Stayed for 6 nights here, booking with The Aurora Zone in the UK. We had cabin Nuora which has 1 bedroom for two guests and is very comfortable for a week. The room has a wood-burning stove which we didn't use as we found the under floor heating kept it toasty warm. The private sauna was great. Under our package all meals were taken in the main building restaurant so we didn't use the hob for cooking. The buffet style meals were largely tasty and filling although as you would expect for this type of holiday not "fine dining". Often you didn't have long as you were ready to set off on your next activity especially for the aurora hunts in the evening which tend to leave at 8:30pm. The cabin has a kettle, fridge, coffee maker and microwave plus cutlery, glasses & crockery provided. All our booked activities went ahead though not necessarily in the order of our itinerary (not a complaint). The snow mobiles were either this year's or last year's models and quite powerful (60 BHP). Our favourite activities were the husky sledding and snow mobiling. Of course what we wanted most of all was to see the Northern lights. Evening 1 nothing, evenings 2&3 low level sightings but evening 4 (our evening with nothing official organised) was spectacular from about 10pm. The light show was directly overhead on the lake near the hotel. We were treated to swirling green and white lights dancing for hours. Unfortunately there were no more light shows for the remaining 2 nights but we had at least seen them!! I noted before we went that there had been comments about providing tea/coffee in the cabins and toiletries in the bathroom. Nellim had clearly taken these on board as these were provided during our visit. The only thing that would have improved the trip would have been for the aurora hunts to start a bit later say 9 or better still 9:30pm as we were told the best time for viewing is 11-1am or even later. All that happens early evening is to travel out and sit round a wood fire for a good hour or so with little likelihood of seeing anything but accept that the guides may not want to be back after midnight. Tips: Don't underestimate the time needed to put on all the cold weather clothing. We found the commercially available hand and foot warmers very useful for the evening activities and for the snow mobiles and husky safari as the wind chill can be quite punishing at -15C. All in all a very different and enjoyable break.

Room Tip: Cabins are spacious and well appointed with private sauna. The downside is you have to get boots and outer clothing on to go for all meals, drinks in the bar.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank AuntyC22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2014 via mobile

Just got back from a 4 night stay booked through Aurora Zone. If you haven't booked yet then I recommend you do - everything was very well organised and yes it's expensive but the trip is planned in meticulous detail to make sure you get the most out of your stay. It's amazing and I don't need to rattle on about the food the trips and everything cos it's been done and you know what to expect. Things you need to expect tho are :- bring a hair dryer ! There wasn't one in our apartment but was advertised on the details so I didn't take one and when I asked at reception was told there weren't any left - small detail but you don't want to walk round in -15 with wet hair for long trust me. If you want a proper shower have it a lunchtime between activities there is unlikely to be loads of hot water in the early morning and early evening. Also bring soap this isn't a 5 star resort with room service ! They give you a little bar but that's it for the rest of the stay. Also bring some biscuits or snacks if you get back from a trip and u need a cuppa then the hotel supplies endless coffee but when your knackered you could do with a biscuit ! - also bring a pack of cards or a game (we love Linkee) you can sit in the bar after Aurora hunting with a drink and wait for the lights. Best chance to see them is after 10.30 once you are back from camp so don't clear off to bed too early !!! You will love every minute of it as long as you are prepared for what you have booked. Enjoy ! We did

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
9  Thank sionlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2014

We had a fantastic 6 night stay at Nellim, starting on 18 January. It is really hard to explain how good it was. Our hotel room was ideal - comfortable, spacious, warm, with heated flooring in the bathroom. The hotel staff were friendly and very helpful, nothing seemed to be a trouble for them.
The activity guides again were friendly and as they were local they were a mine of interesting information, and were happy to answer all our questions. We did loads of activities - husky dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, visiting a reindeer farm, an Aurora camp and of course just walking and enjoying the snowy scenery. The location beside frozen lakes, and surrounded by snowy forests made for some stunning views.
The Northern Lights came out to play on 3 of our 6 nights, with the final night being the best. We stayed out for hours watching them, oblivious to the cold in our warm clothes, overlaid with the thermal suit and boots the hotel loaned out for the duration of our stay.
We must mention the food - local, excellent and plentiful. We really liked the buffet style, which meant we could try a bit of all the specialties! The "picnic" lunches on activities were great too, and the fun of cooking on an open fire in freezing temperatures is an experience in itself.
We would love to come here again; it was a very special holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Penny023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2014

I've just got back from a 6 night stay at Nellim Wilderness Hotel, booked through the Aurora Zone, and couldn't recommend this place more. I was worried it wouldn't live up to expectations, but it surpassed them! The setting is spectacular, surrounded by frozen lakes and beautiful woodland. The hotel was perfect - we managed to get the best apartment with our own jacuzzi and sauna! The food was tasty, varied and plentiful (including amazing puds and waffles for breakfast!), and I loved the lunch times by the campfires when out on activities (hint: bring some marshmallows). The rep and guides (particularly Ben, Joonas and Mattias) were so lovely and really put you at ease, making you feel secure and in good hands out on adventures. I was trying not to be too focussed on seeing the aurora given how dependent that is on weather and solar activity, but we got to see the lights numerous times, including 2 spectacular nights where you could really see the colour and movement, I'm so pleased! All the activities were great, though my favourite was the husky sledding, which after the initial excited dog frenzy was such a peaceful experience (even if I had to become an honorary husky pushing the sled up the hill!).

If I was to do anything different, I think I'd add in an extra day free for lounging around and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the setting. And more huskies.

All in all, truly magical. I'd go back in a heart beat and miss it already.

Tips that might be useful are bring merino wool thermals and the Little Hotties hand and foot warmers - absolute life savers. Bring marshmallows. Bring glove liners, they'll offer some protection when you take off your gloves for photos. For photographing the northern lights you are best off with a DSLR. I have a bridge Canon camera which failed completely until I downloaded the CHDK hack that over-rides the camera functions, as you need a long exposure and ISO of ~1000, then I was able to get pictures. And follow the advice and packing list provided. But don't panic if you forget something, they have a little shop and a bunch of stuff you can borrow.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank krysia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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