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“Santa Trip with Esprit - highly recommended !!!”

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Holiday Club Saariselka
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Cardiff, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Santa Trip with Esprit - highly recommended !!!”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

After umming and aaahhhing for an age, we finally took the plunge and decided to take the kids to Lapland to see Santa in his natural environment.
We had saved for a few years, expecting it to be expensive, but by booking at the last minute, (week before) we managed to get a very reasonable deal.
We travelled to Saariselka with Esprit Holidays and stayed at the Holiday Club accommodation.
I would thoroughly recommend Esprit Holidays, from start to finish we were very well looked after.
I won't go into too much detail, suffice to say that the primary reason for the trip was to see Santa at his home in "The North Pole", and my kids aged eight and six were totally mesmerised by the whole trip...they were entertained by Santa's cheeky elves in an igloo, went on a reindeer sleigh ride, drove a skidoo, went on a husky sled ride and then got too see the big man himself who even had their letters which they had written and posted weeks before the trip...(magical)!

The clothing supplied, including the suits, boots, and gloves were very good quality and kept us warm in the -20 temperatures, both during the Santa adventure day and the spare afternoon/morning we had tobogganing in the village.

There are plenty of reviews on this forum complaining about the hotel, about the food, about the fact that they didn't see the Northern Lights, etc...fact is,

If you want five star luxury, fine dining and amazing spa facilities, this hotel and resort are not for you, however, if you want a fantastic fun filled family trip to Lapland to see the man in red, and amazing memories which will last a lifetime, you won't go far wrong with this hotel, resort or with Esprit.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
17 Thank Marc S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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501 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
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Belgium
Level 6 Contributor
91 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

This hotel must have been nice some years ago, but now looks basic/oldfashioned inside. At the reception, we had a mixed experience. The day before our arrival, a lady was very kind to let us use the luggage room for our daily tour in Saariselka, which we appreciated. When leaving the hotel, there was only one lady at the reception, busy on the phone for at least 10 minutes while 6 people were waiting to check-out, and take their bus. She did not seem annoyed with this... At our arrival, they informed us that because we booked via booking.com, the use of the swimming pool had to be paid an extra 10€ per person. This is the first time in our travels that the way you book an hotel has an influence on the use of basic facilities of the hotel - I can't accept this.
Breakast buffet was nice. Price paid (98€ per night) is not worth it.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Vince-Maud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Austria
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Upon our arrival we tried to book services at the spa, only to be informed that the spa was fully booked for the entire duration of our stay. The primary reason for choosing this hotel was for the convenient spa services, which were unavailable. Furthermore, the pool and sauna were not included in the already high room costs.

Our room was located near the end of the corridor, a 300m walk from the lobby which involved going through numerous fire-doors, highly inconvenient with luggage. In the end, it was faster and easier to walk outside around the hotel in the -20C cold than through the corridor.

The breakfast buffet was sub-par: the fruit was soggy, the eggs mushy and clearly from a bag, the pastries stale, and the meat grey-green. Prior to Saariselkä, we had been staying in a tiny hotel much further from any cities, and yet they provided multiple varieties of local fresh fish with breakfast, something the Holiday Club did not. Additionally, the hotel advertises a restaurant in addition to the buffet. However, the restaurant is closed much of the year, information which is not provided on their website.

Room Tip: Ask for a room closer to the lobby to avoid a long journey and increase the odds of having in-room w...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank muon1183
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
singapore
Level 5 Contributor
86 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Was at the Holiday Club in Saariselka during the recent Christmas holiday for 3 days. Had fun crossing the countryside on a mobile ski, riding on reindeer sledge and cross country skiing but despite staying there for 3 night, could not sight the Nothern Lights which was the sole purpose of going to this Northern tip of Finland in order to have a higher possibility of viewing this phenomenon. There were many others like me that were equally disappointed as the condition for sighting the lights were ideal, given that it was very cold, about -25 degrees C on some nights, cloudless and clear starry nights.

Perhaps it was not to be but we throughoutly enjoyed our trip and the Holiday Club staff were wonderfully friendly and had a nice pool as well as wondeful sauna facilities but rooms can be quite a distance from the entrance and without lifts, can be troublesome carrying your luggages all the way to the 2nd floor.

Room Tip: Choose a room on the ground floor and close to the reception as being suited up like an astronaut is...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank passionfruitsin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northallerton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Went for 4 day break with esprit. Kids aged 8 and 3 had a fantastic time. They were happy so we were happy. The hotel was ok, a bit basic in all respects aLthough the swimming pool was ace. We were outdoors for most of the day so it didn't matter that the hotel was basic. Our son was ill with a very high temp and the hotel staff were excellent. All in all a magical experience.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank Karen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertfordshire
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We are a family of four and travelled to Saariselka with Esprit in December 2011. We had booked the three days two nights package which included an activity day and a gala dinner.

The excitement started when we received our special notepaper to give to the childen to write their Christmas lists on.... Sssh, I will say no more!

The plane was decorated with tinsel etc and the cabin crew (we flew with Easyjet), were very pleasant and full of Christmas spirit, wearing Santa hats etc.

When we arrived at Ivalo airport we were greeted by cheeky elves who were entertaining the children while we waited for our bags.

We went out to board our coach and was greeted by a local dressed in Finnish costume standing next to a beautiful white reindeer. Perfect photo opportunity!

Finland was freezing - down to -10 whilst we were there.

There was lots and lots of snow and it felt like we were in a Christmas card!

We were taken directly to a building which housed snowsuits, boots, gloves hats etc. We were then given our sizes and taken to our hotel. We were advised to try everything on to make sure it fit.

We then had a welcome meeting. Very well organised. Some of the reps took the children off to play games etc so that us adults could concentrate on the important stuff! The rest of the day was our own.

The food in the hotel was basic, but still pleasant. The room we had (which slept 4 of us), was adequate, clean and very warm (as was the rest of the hotel).

The next day we were collected by coach and taken to our activity day. Again, very well organised. We were given a time for our husky ride (included in the price we paid), and were invited to join in any other activity we wished. There were reindeer rides, skidoo rides for the kids, sledging, ice hockey, ice fishing, tandem skiing and also the most important ride in a snowmobile to see the big man himself.

The husky ride was one of the best experiences I've had... The kids were taken off to throw snowballs at the Reps so the adults could listen to safety info etc. We were then allowed to drive the huskies ourselves. Fantastic!!!

We were given a hot lunch and dessert whilst at the activity day - pasta and pancakes, which were very tasty.

There were various places to warm up in teepees dotted around the site with people serving hot berry juice and handing out gingerbread biscuits. There were also toilet facilities inside the building where you had lunch.

Santa was great, and we got to see the cheeky elves that we had seen the day before.

When we returned from our activity day we used the swimming pool at the hotel. All fine, except they had run out of dressing gowns!

The gala meal that evening was really well executed, good food. We received our husky driving licences amongst a few other bits.

A fantastic trip that I would repeat every year if a) I could afford it and b) my children never grew up... well worth the money. A once in a lifetime experience.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Archeeka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2013

The hotel really is an ugly motel - carpets on the walls of the corridors, very basic but clean bedrooms, the food is very, very average and I recommend taking snacks with you. The bar area is tiny - the swimming pool quite nice but cold and be prepared for a lot of nakedness in the changing room - we are in Finland after all!! Ski Esprit staff were fantastic - I honestly don't know how they do it with 4 hours day light a day and it is cold, cold, cold and bleak, bleak, bleak - forget any romantic visions its a desolate place! The actual Santa day was very well done, the husky ride unforgettable - my 6 year old son particularly enjoyed the physical sports on offer, ice hockey, sledging, snow mobiles etc the actual Santa was a very surely Finnish man and my son came out saying 'that's definitely not the real one' - I would recommend it but not for really little children, its a gruelling trip which requires alot of stamina and an enormous budget!

Room Tip: Ask to be near reception
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank AnnieFSLondon
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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