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Holiday Club Saariselka
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Reviewed March 27, 2013

The rooms in the hotel are pretty basic, although the underfloor heating in the bathroom is a nice touch especially with the temperature outside. To be fair you don't spend enough time in your room to worry about that anyway, because every day is action packed and extremely well organised. The pool in the hotel is easily the best part of it, the pool is very clean, warm and ideal for children with the slide, waves and lazy river. Only negatives are the food which is pretty rough, the reindeer meat was all that was on offer meatwise and it was pretty dry and tasteless and the vegetables were just boiled to a mush and what wasn't eaten was then reused the following morning. But all in all Saariselka is a magical place for young children and the staff at this hotel are very helpful, and it is ideally placed for all of the local shops and activities.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank ajoc12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We are quite mixed about our one-week stay in Holiday Club Saariselkä. We knew from the start we would get a twin room rather than a double room, as this is common in Finland. Even though this was our honeymoon, we didn't mind.

But we thought we were staying in a hotel club, i.e. with inclusive services, which was not the case: except for the room and breakfast, we had to pay for many things, including sauna access.The buffet dinner was expensive (20 euros). The price we paid was really too much for what ended up being a mere hotel room.
Cleaning services were not always satisfactory (one day the "clean" towels were stained, some other day, the staff would only put the bed cover in place instead of changing the bed.

We were told access to sauna and swimming pool was 10 euro a day, while it was in fact 6 euro in the morning plus 10 euro in the afternoon if you wanted to go there several times a day. We had to bargain this.

On the good side, the breakfast was huge with delicious pancakes, and everyone could easily make sandwiches for lunch, thus allowing us to save money. The location is great within the village. The hotel offers a locker room for lag time between check-in/out and flight time, and a ski room to store your cross-country skiing.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Audrey F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

I was really surpised by the Holiday Club Saariselka, after reading so many negative reviews about the place.
I found the hotel to be a very nice, comfortable place to stay. Yes, I agree that some of the rooms are a little dated and in need of re-decoration but that did not detract from an enjoyable holiday.
One of the negative comments was about the restaurant and lack of food - I must have missed the days when the chips were not available as we had them on at least two evenings. Each evening had a very good selection of meat, fish and vegetables to choose from and as soon as something started to run down, a member of staff would take away the empty dishes and replace it with more of the same. The only negative thing I would have to say about the food is that there was not enough choice in the dessert area (but that is only a very minor gripe).
The staff were very pleasant and would always answer if you said hello to them in Finnish. If anyone did not get a response from the staff it is because our rep told us that the Finnish people are a naturally reserved race and this may come across as being stand-offish.
We actually managed to see the Northern Lights twice - once on arrival where the coach driver pointed them out to us en-route to the hotel. The second time we saw them, we had just come out of Panimo where a Polish guy pointed them out to us - this time we went round the back of the hotel and stood there and got a 20 minute light show (not too bright as we were still in an area where there were too many street lights).
The trips taken were the day time snowmobile trek, which was very good once my driver got the hang of it - I just sat behind and held on. The reindeer safari was really good to as you can get up close (or as close as the reindeer allow) to the reindeer before you are transported through Narnia on a sled.
The best trip was the husky safari, where you actually get to drive the sled yourself and afterward we got to hold a six week old husky pup called Jack. There was also a chance to learn how to lasso reindeer, by trying to throw a rope around some antlers - all good fun.
Our night in the glass igloos at Santa's House was really good - made you feel a little bit like a hobbit. It was quite surreal there as we thought we were hearing things and then came across Santa's House which was playing Christmas carols - in February. This place is well worth a visit.
The final negative comment was about there being no lifts and being too far away from reception. The only thing I would say about this is that if you do have problems walking/getting around, you should advise when you book that you have problems and will need a room nearer to reception. This was never a problem to us as we treated it as a bit of exercise.
All in all I can't recommend this holiday highly enough - we booked this with Inghams via Lapland Travel. Our rep David is one of the best reps I have ever had the pleasure of meeting as he didn't have to sell anything to us, the trips sold themselves (and it does help that the trips we took were all part of the package and we only had to book any others that we fancied).

Room Tip: If you have problems with walking/getting around, ask for a room closer to reception when booking the holiday.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank blackfamily1992
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2013

I stayed in the hotel club as part of a Lapland package in February 2013. The hotel is located in the centre of Saariselka which is a small resort in Northern Finland but the major tourist centre in the area. In February the Christmas rush has ended but the Fins have not yet started their holidays there so although not completely dead, the resort was pleasantly quiet which added to the remote polar feeling of the area.

The hotel was spotlessly clean in all areas I visted. The rooms were comfortable albeit someshat dated in areas but I did spy some rooms that had been recently removated in a more contemporary style which were a bit nicer. This aside, they were more than adequate and in my opinion could only have been improved by having baths as after a long day in the cold, it would have been nice to have a soak.

The food was consistently good, buffet breakfast and evening meal and had a wide range of choices. Breakfast had the usualy rolls, cereal, yoghurt, cold meats and cheese (and sometimes herring), scrambled and colied egg, small sausages and meatballs or bacon and a waffle maker. All were in large quantities and constantly being refreshed as they were eaten. They also had the local Kereilian pasties which I became somewhat addicted to. Evening meal was a soup, salad bar and a meat and fish choice with potatoes and/or wedges, vegetables and a dessert. The meat dish was reindeer, casserole, chicken etc and the fish was usually a white fish in a sauce. The dessert was either a fruit pie and cream or a mousse/quark type affair. All of the food tasted home made and there was little evidence of processed food except for the potatoe wedges. I did not have one bad meal there.

The hotel also had a small bar/lounge area with free wifi and a leisure pool and sauna/steam. The pool was also very clean, had a life guard on duty and was very enjoyable. The saunas were good after the cold but bear in mind you are not allowed to wear swimsuits (a towel is ok) and the family saunas are mixed.

I enjoyed several excursions from Saariselka, reindeer farm, husky sledding, snowmobililing etc but did not see the northern lights from the resort as it was too cloudy. We did meet some people who had the previous week and to do this it has to be clear and you have to move away from the areas where the street lamps are. I did see the lights at the glass igloos out of town as it was much darker there.

All in all, good value for money with respect the the package, clean, convenient and good food. If you have difficulty walking, it may be wise to ring ahead and ask for a room near the entrance as it was very far to my room on the second floor and there was no lift.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the refurbished new rooms near reception.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank johnnyboy129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We travelled from Australia to the UK for Christmas to see family and given that this was only a 3 hour trip from London, we took the plunge and decided to visit Santa in Lapland.
We booked the 3 day trip from Australia with Espirit and got a really good deal. Obviously the closer to the travel date the cheaper the price became.
We had the most wonderful time, this truly was a magical experience. The kids loved it, and I have to admit my husband and I did as well.
We stayed at Holiday Club. The staff were lovely, very laid back and relaxed , the place was clean and tidy, comfortable. Good location, the food was very nice and my kids are a bit fussy, drinks were a little bit expensive from the bar. Our package was all inclusive which was good.
This was a trip of a life time and we will talk about it for years to come.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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10  Thank Kym M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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