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“Good hotel in a sparse part of the world”

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Holiday Club Saariselka
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
219 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Good hotel in a sparse part of the world”
Reviewed April 18, 2011

We stayed here for 2 nights/3 days in an area which isn't abundant with choice, or towns - just villages - so this is a very good hotel. We liked the location; only a 40min transfer from Ivaolo Airport, the pool was excellent - large interesting pool park with lazy swim, wave machine, slides, jacuzzi - ideal for inside activities for children when its -20 outside!

Our room was adequate, double with double sofa bed, enough room for everything and a clean bathroom.

On our first day the hotel had a backlog of residents as snow had fallen in the south west of England so airports had ground to a halt! So we ate out at a local restaurant which was lovely. The breakfasts were hearty, plentiful, fresh and leisurely. We had a gala dinner on the second night in a large function room which was really far too big for the amount of people, but the buffet food was fine and ideal for the children if they didn't like something they could choose something else. There was a nice looking restaurant and also a good bar with an Irish singer who was actually quite good.

The location of the hotel was very central in the village. There is a good supermarket a 10minute walk up the road, turn right out of the hotel, which sells all sorts!

It is incredibly quiet outside the hotel in the village, as its always dark and very very cold so nobody walks around. The lighting in the streets, with the snow and ice, is magical. There are sledges all around the village which you can help yourself to for a play with the children.

Room Tip: Pool is fab, don't forget your swimwear!
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  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank CantSingforToffee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Harrogate
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2011

We paid £3,000 for a 3 night trip for a family of 4, there are several good points so this is a lengthy review. But we were disgusted with the hotel room, dining arrangements and the Northern Lights trip - which are a total con as they run at 5pm until 6.30 pm (and pay £300 for the privilege!) when you are almost certainly not going to see them at that time. We felt completely ripped off even though we realise these Santa trips are not cheap with any company I wouldn't expect this from a £3,000 holiday. So here is the full review;-
The village is beautiful - very picturesque and sets the holiday scene very well.
• Activity Day is fantastic – very well organised, little queuing, restaurant very good and food very good – all round an absolutely brilliant day and brilliant experience.(visit to Santa was quite rushed though).
• Reps – Very enthusiastic, very helpful – a credit to Esprit.
• Elves – These deserve a mention as they make it so magical – they were brilliant – I think they made the experience so much more for us and the children – great fun. The fact that they are at the airport, on route from airport and on the activity day at Santa’s cottage is spot on.
• Having a reindeer and handler at the airport – starts the magical experience off superbly.
• Transfers to the hotel and back to airport – very efficient – we didn’t feel hassled/stressed – all very smooth.
• Kitting out in outfits – again – very well organised, ran smoothly and sorted very easily.
Hotel staff were helpful and friendly but not enough of them in the 'dining' area.
• The quality of the hotel rooms, to be frank, was terrible, considering what we paid for a 3 night stay. We were a family of 4 (2 children age 9 and 5) and the rooms were very tiny. The impact was that getting ready in all your layers and snowsuit’s was incredibly stressful and upsetting. You literally could not move freely around each other. Resulting in getting overheated (there was no way to control the heat in the room) whilst getting dressed and actually feeling quite ill with it. A family room should have been at least twice the size of the room that we were in.
• The restaurant facilities (not the food) were appalling. I could not believe that we could not use the beautiful restaurant that the hotel had, and instead we were given a converted reception area of the hotel to eat in. These dining arrangements were disgraceful, hectic, stressful (waiting for 20mins to get a seat after returning from Northern Lights adventure). There were not enough hotel staff to keep tables clear. It was genuinely like dining in a holiday camp cafeteria. For the price paid for the holiday the hotel restaurant should have been the place we should have eaten.
• Finally – the Northern Lights trip. We fully appreciate the caveat’s that Esprit have regarding the fact that you may not see the lights. However when you run a trip where it’s likely you are not going to see them, it becomes a different matter. We paid £296 extra to go on this trip and felt incredibly let down. It seems that no-one has seen the Northern Lights on this trip. When you look at Trip Advisor comments, and the previous week (4 Dec) on the 3 night break, which my friend went on, no-one encountered the Lights on any of the 3 nights that they went on the trip. Take the advice of a previous traveller - I wished I had seen it before we went - and just go to the top of the tobaggan run late at night to try and catch them.
In all we felt like we had paid for a cheap last minute deal instead of experiencing something worth £3,000 - its such a shame as they did get lots of things right, but the things they didn't get right badly affected our experience.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank Millog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Saariselka hotels

Lincolnshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2011

To begin, this is the second time of staying at this hotel so it can't be that bad. The resort of Saariselka is absolutely beautiful and very quiet, we were the only ones in the bar one night! The rooms are small and some have been updated since we last went and we were pleasantly surprised how nice ours were - we paid for 2 rooms this time as it didn't cost much more and this worked really well for us all to have a bed rather than put the kids on a sofa bed. If you go to Saariselka, you must give the toboggan run a try. We took sledges to the ski slopes and after skiing took the chair lift up to Kaunispaa, had lunch on the top then sledged down the 1.2km run - take goggles and scarves to cover your face! There is a small sledging run at the back of the hotel, ideal if you can't make the big one! The pool is great if you've got kids but be warned - in Finland the saunas are strictly naked and they even make spot checks to make sure you've taken your costume off! The steam rooms are also a no costume zone and these are also mixed male and female. We tried skiing this time and it was brilliant for beginners such as ourselves with our 2 children. The instructors were friendly and I would definitely recommend you give it a go. It was much cheaper to pre-book lessons in the UK than in resort. The only thing negative to comment upon would be the food. Breakfast is ok and we mainly stuck to toast! Evening dinner is buffet style and was included in our half board package, yet some evenings there was nothing to remotely tempt your tastebuds so we opted to pay in the hotel's other restaurant which sold pizza and burgers for the kids. There is also a supermarket 5 mins walk away if you're desperate! The drinks are expensive, ranging from about 6 - 8 euros a drink, but we went prepared for that and is easier to swallow when you're on holiday. If you're going to see the Northern lights, we were reliably informed that if you walk up the toboggan run, about 10pm you get the best chance as it's very dark (we didn't fancy the 1.2km trek so late with the kids and it is very cold at the top but people who did said it was brilliant and saves you a lot of money on the pre-organised trips where you're not guaranteed to see them anyway). All in all this was a great holiday, the Finnish people are lovely and accommodating and the food should not put you off.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank tiggywinkles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2011

We arrived on 23rd December to spend Christmas at the hotel with Esprit trip. First thing I noticed was no Christmas tree - the hotel really lacked Christmas atmosphere. Room was clean although quite inferior compared to Premier Travel Inn we stayed at night before at Manchester airport. I believe the maid emptied our rubbish bin while we were there, but no attempt to make our beds or change towels. Food was buffet style and whilst was ok, was very limited. Choice for children was chips and mini sausages one day or chips and meatballs next day. Would have been good to have had something like a pasta option as well. Didn't seem like there was enough tables for people to eat at which made you feel you needed to rush to pass the table on. Yes, drinks were expensive but I expected that. My 9 year old son really enjoyed the swimming pool and that was really the only reason for staying at this hotel. I wouldn't look to stay there again - felt quite disappointed. Even if there had been some Christmas carols on Christmas morning or some Bucks Fizz being served, it would have felt a little special compared to the other days - but there really was nothing that made you feel it was Christmas. We had a great trip and certainly the hotel didn't spoil the trip, but it equally didn't leave me feeling that we got good value for money. Gala dinner on last night (which happened to be Christmas Day) was of a much better standard and I really enjoyed the food. Hotel was warm though which I was very grateful for.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank mitch391
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luxembourg
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2011

Poor value for money compared to lots of other hotels we've stayed in Finland. Room wasn't all that confortable and was far from being 'stylishly decorated' as the website claims. Pillow was very flat (if we could that 'pillow') and there was only one per person. Lighting was aggressive, so for most of the time we had the main light off. Unfortunately, there were no other lamps in the room, except for 2 weak reading lamps, so we were pretty much in the dark. Room cleaning service was TERRIBLE. Staffs were rude and, on the second day, they didn't clean anything at all except just putting a new towel there. We left used towels on the bathroom floor, they didn't even care to pick it up. There are lots of other places to stay to Saariselka, so my best advice is to avoid Holiday Club.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank RasberrySundae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerset
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed December 17, 2010

We travelled to the Holiday Club, Saariselka, on 12-Dec-2010 with Esprit on their 4-day, 3 night Santa Spectacular package. This was our second Lapland trip, having been a couple of years ago to Levi with Cosmos.
Lots of excitement with the children not discovering their surprise until we arrived at the airport. LGW at 4.15 in the morning for a 6.15 flight - felt very early. It didn't help that Esprit cancelled the Bristol flight, so a much longer drive than we planned. Nonetheless we've been on several ski trips before with Esprit and been very happy with their packages, particularly the child care, so we hoped for the best.

Saariselka itself is small and very picturesque, with lots of snow. There's one reasonable supermarket and a sprinkling of small souvenir shops, plus plenty of free toboggans to use.

The hotel is clean & tidy, but the rooms are small (family of 2+2) and 2 or 3 star at best. Most disappointing was the half-board buffet, where poor choice of food was served lukewarm. Food options continually ran out and were slow to be replenished. Breakfasts were no better, although to be fair the dinner on the last night was of a much higher standard. Describing this as a 4* hotel is just plain marketing hype. Drinks prices were also ridiculous - we paid 38 Euros for the same bottle of wine that cost under a fiver in Tesco yesterday!

As ever, the Esprit staff are enthusiastic, polite and helpful, but the "activity day" was really disappointing. With the exception of the husky ride, which was excellent, the whole day was devoid of Santa magic. The so-called "Magical Sley Ride" consisted of being pulled a few hundred metres behind a snowmobile, stopping to look at 3 cardboard boxes that our Finnish driver (in his best Juha Kankunnen accent) assured us must have been dropped by Santa, then turning a corner to enter a small, poorly decorated shed containing "the big fella". Such a contrast with what Cosmos provided - no Santa's Post Office, no Elves Workshop, just no enchantment. Frankly the children were bored long before it was time to leave. Even the pressies lacked thought - a cheap stuffed reindeer toy for all children regardless of age, and nothing at all for Mum & Dad. Bah humbug!
Sorry but this package, far from being the premium standard we expected, was just a long way off the pace.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Claret_til_i_die
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2010

I stayed in this hotel as part as a Ski ing package, it is a 3 hour transfer from the airport which is longer than the flight from U.K.
The hotel is on 2 floors with good quality sized rooms which are well equipped.
Meals are buffet style in a large dining room with rows of tables so no good if you are shy and retiring.
There is also a good restaurant within the hotel
There is a small comfy chair area around the fire which is next to the foyer so again very public.
The pool which is free to residents is excellent, with currents , flumes and a wave machine, there is a life guard on duty and it is child friendly.
The whole of the town is within easy walking disatnce of the hotel.
Overall a good family hotel.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank AndyW1021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Holiday Club Saariselka

Property: Holiday Club Saariselka
Address: Saariselaentie 7, Saariselka 99830, Finland
Location: Finland > Lapland > Saariselka
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Club Saariselka 3*
Number of rooms: 139
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Also Known As:
Holiday Club Saariselka Hotel Saariselka
Holiday Hotel Saariselka
Saariselka Holiday Hotel
Holiday Club Saariselka Finland

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