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“Unique Experience but NOT a 5-star hotel.”

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Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Los Angeles, CA
Level 4 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Unique Experience but NOT a 5-star hotel.”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

If you want a unique Arctic experience, this place can definitely provide that. It is located in the village of Saariselka in the Arctic Circle in Finland. To get here, you can fly from Helsinki to Ivalo airport. There's a transfer that will pick you up from the airport to the hotel.

This hotel labels itself as 5-star which I highly disagree. It's 3-star at best. The reception building is combined with the restaurant, store, luggage storage and office. You enter to a cramp space with a cashier next to where you get coffee and other food items. So check in can be quite chaotic. The rates include half board which means breakfast and dinner are included. Lunch can be quite pricey at €10 for a bowl of soup. When you are having a meal and have to get coffee or juice and there is check-in going on, you have to navigate yourself thru a crowd of confused tourist trying to get their bearing. Note that the person checking you in will be the same person booking your activities or the cashier when you are paying for stuff you are purchasing.

Once checked-in, you will be handed a map and instructed to grab a sled to haul your own luggage to your cabin. During winter, the paths shown on the map may not be accurate, depending on how they cleared the snow on the paths. We stayed a total of 3 nights, 1 night in a regular igloo and 2 nights in a glass igloo. Because it didn't get cold enough, the igloos along with the ice restaurant, ice chapel and other ice structure weren't built. So we ended up getting upgraded on our first night to a Queen Suite. This is fantastic!

The Queen Suite was a large cabin with an outdoor patio, a lounging/seating area, small kitchenette, toilet room (next to kitchenette), four poster bed, desk, stone fire place, big bathroom with shower, claw-foot tub, sauna and an outdoor hot tub in the back next to the bathroom. It is quaint in feel. A log cabin with nice cozy furniture with no TV or telephone (however, a complimentary wifi is available in the reception building). It was a nice experience to light your own fire. The floors have radiant heating which makes it really comfortable to walk barefoot. There are several things that would have made this room worthy of 5-star status: more towels (there were 2 bath towels and 3 hand towels total), a coffee maker (the kitchenette had plates, cups, wine glasses, utensils, pot for boiling water), coffee, tea, sugar, usual basic needs that a normal hotel provides. We had to buy tea bags at €2.50/each (expensive!) to take advantage of being able to boil water for hot drinks during the night. The tap water is good for drinking but the fridge smelled bad so after filling up the pitcher, we put it outside half buried in snow for cold drinking water. We enjoyed the Queen Suite though. It was very comfortable and quiet. It was perfect for a relaxing evening by the fire. We used the hot tub, it was fun except the water smelled and there is nowhere to hang your towels. The sauna takes too long to heat up, so we ended up not using it. The toilet is too far from the bathroom, it's on the other end of the cabin where the kitchenette is. I find this quite odd and terribly annoying. The four poster bed is quite romantic but it has the European style double twin beds and is too firm. The beddings are quite rough on the skin as well. It was sad to have to check-out at 10AM the following morning.

Our second & third nights were at the glass igloo which is the reason we wanted to stay at this place. We had to drag our luggage twice, first was to check-out of the suite and then after checking in for the glass igloo. There were a few hours gap between this so we had to leave our luggage at the the luggage storage room. The idea of this igloo is that you can look up the sky at night while laying on your bed to star gaze or if you are lucky to watch the "aurora borealis"... This idea did not disappoint, however... the glass igloo is much smaller than we anticipated based on the super wide angle shots on their website. The entrance is about 4feet high and when you enter, there is luggage platform on one side, and a small toilet room and sink on the other side and then enough space for 2 twin sized bed with about a 3 feet gap between. There is a privacy curtain around the lower part of the igloo and frosted glass where the toilet is. Very sparsely decorated. Very unique but is not a 5-star accommodation. For the price per night, they could have designed a bigger igloo or one with a lower level that can house a full bathroom/toilet. A little seating area would be great as well and coffee maker or electric pot to boil water for tea during a cold night. To shower, you have to cross the lake and go to a communal sauna and shower facilities. Not an easy task on a cold winter night.

There are two seating for dinner, we opted for the 6PM (the other one is at 8PM). There are only a couple of hours of daylight here in early January, so 6PM felt late. The dinner was a 3-course meal. The first night was a creamy salmon and vegetable soup, white fish with carrots and potatoes topped with creamy mushroom sauce and a lingonberry sauce for dessert. Basic but it's tasty. The drinks are extra, about €7-10/each depending on what you order. The breakfast was pretty basic, toast, boiled eggs, cold cuts, cheeses, cereal & yogurt. To get your coffee, you need to cross the chaos of the reception or people checking the list of activity times.

There were activities offered and we did the Reindeer Aurora Hunting at night. It was fun, relaxing while you stare at the starry sky and have the silhouette of the pine trees looming over you. They provide ample clothing to keep you warm. I doubt that they really hunted for auroras, they go on the same track each night, stop at the same firepit to make coffee and rely on luck completely to see the aurora. It also is in a dense forest not passing through any clearings for prime viewing spots. It was pitch dark most of the time so after we looked at photos we took of the reindeers, they look sick with bloody gush on some broken antlers. Kind of sad... The other activity we did was a snow mobiling tour in the morning, This one was worth every euro spent! Again, they provide ample gear to keep you warm. Good tour guide and the area we went to is truly spectacular. It really felt like you are in the arctic. We also got lucky cause the sun came out, the tour took us to a mountain top passing some skying lodge and looking over the flats below all the way to Russia. I was awe inspired! An tour not to be missed when you stay here.

All-in-all... it was a trip to remember. I cannot emphasize enough the uniqueness of the glass igloo. I just wish they don't label it 5-star so I can adjust my expectations accordingly.

Room Tip: The Glass Igloo or the Queeen Suite! Ask for luggage service even if you have to pay extra.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Jhoiey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We stayed in the "new" Glass Igloo Village, which we were unaware even existed.
We turned up to the Kaksluttanen Village to be told we were staying down the road.
Had we known it was in the middle of nowhere we would have driven back into Saarisleka to get munchies or a bottle of wine to have in the igloo.
We went for a walk before dinner, and to try to find somewhere to have a coffee etc, but there is only 1 place to eat, (a fair walk from the igloos) and dinner was not till 7pm. The younger children in our group aged 3 and 5 were quite hungry, there are no other facilities here.
The igloos themselves were very comfortable and clean, quite spacious inside and obviously very new, with painting still to be finished. The idea of the glass igloo is fantastic, and the experience of staying in one is terrific, but the "new" village lacked atmosphere and facilities.

I would recommend staying in the original village till the new one gets it's act together a bit more. It seems they rushed to open for the Winter season.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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1 Thank Meisje65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

I have read a few varied reports on Kakslaughttanen after I had visited it. I stayed with a friend for five nights, one of which we spent in the glass igloo. I think if you are going to stay some three hundred miles inside the Arctic Circle, miles from civilisation you would expect some thing a little different than the usual hotel. After all, you are on an adventure. This is the place to be.
The place is more of a "log cabin village" with very comfortable accommodation. You have to take your own luggage by sled to your cabin, but hey, this is an adventure!
The cabins are situated around the village, but far enough away from each other to afford privacy. Very well appointed, warm, great showers, comfortable beds, sauna, what more could you need.
All the meals are served in the main building which houses the bar, reception, dining rooms, shop etc, etc. OK, you have to walk there, but come on, this is why you visit the Arctic to be outdoors, not to be inside watching the TV.
The staff are very welcoming, friendly and helpful. We found the food to be of good quality and a reasonable choice, considering where we were. I have read a few reports of no TV, nothing to do! Why go to the wilderness and expect TV!!! There is lots to do, the staff will organise various activities if you need to snowmobile, dog sled, rheindeer driving etc.
The stay in the glass igloo was warm and comfortable, with beds that can be electrically elevated to get a good view of the lights. Alas, we didn't see the lights on the night we slept in there, but the next night we were fortunate enough to see them. We even attended a wedding of a young couple from the UK in the Chapel made from ice, boy was the bride brave, minus 25 degrees in just a normal wedding dress!
All in all a very enjoyable adventure. Don't go if you want to be waited on hand and foot and watch TV! You are miles from anywhere, out in the Arctic wilderness, take it all in and enjoy it.
Looking for adventure, then this is the place to go.
Would I go again, most definitely , YES.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank ukmaxit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We booked a cabin for 2 nights and a glass igloo for the last.

Since the flights incorporated a transfer in Helsinki with a more than 4-hour wait, we broke the trip with two nights in Helsinki - separate review.

This trip was booked through "Discover the World", who we recommend for Lapland visits.
The package included half board, which worked well. Although there was the option to upgrade the evening meals to a la carte, this proved unnecessary, since the set meals were perfectly fine.

The log cabins are particularly spacious and we had to turn the heating down when we arrived, ours was that hot. Even though the temperature outside fell to -16 we had no need to turn it up.

When we tried the in-cabin sauna we found that the recommended instructions made the setting too hot for we newbies and suggest that beginners first try setting the temperature at about half-way.

Our cabin was several minutes' walk from the restaurant, and the glass igloo was further, so this is not a venue for the infirm. You might also have to carry suitcases for 60 metres through snow to reach your cabin from the path where the transfer coach drops you near your cabin.

We booked two trips on snowmobiles: one day and one night. On both there was food available which was not advertised. We had barbecued sausage on the night trip and a stew on the day trip. Both were well prepared.

The glass igloo was much bigger than we expected and it is a great way to try to see the Northern Lights. We did, even though it was a cloudy night: the lights showed through some thin cloud for several minutes. It would have been a great sighting had it been a cloudless night. The igloo was really warm. We would go for a glass igloo in preference to an ice igloo every time.

We recommend taking plenty of warm clothing, since the resort is not as organised as some in providing arctic jump-suits. These were, of course, available for the snowmobiling.

We also recommend taking books or some other form of entertainment for the time in the log cabins. A torch is also very useful for walking in the dark. The telephone connections worked perfectly in all of the places which we tried. Finland is exceptionally good in that respect. WIFI was available in the rooms, as well.

The service in the restaurant in the evening was OK and it is a self-service buffet in the morning.
Soup at lunch-time is expensive, though.

We think that the management should change the check-in system so that people trying to pay for hot drinks, etc. do not have to queue at the same till as the arriving and departing guests, since they can wait a very long time.

All in all, it's a venue which we would happliy return to.

Room Tip: The higher-numbered rooms and glass igloos are furthest from the main building.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank CeriLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belgium
Level 6 Contributor
91 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

We stayed in this place for one night in the glass igloos. When we arrived, we were told we would have to stay in the new igloo village, at 4 km from the "normal" hotel. Actually, they have extended the property but do not inform people upfront were they will actually be staying. We waited for the transfer for 15 minutes, loosing some valuable daylight before being able to capture some nice pics from the igloos. The transfer bus finally arrived and we were dropped in front of a new building, 4 kms away in the forest. There were plenty of boxes in front of the building, visibly there were still works around. We entered the reception and our feeling was indeed confirmed : this is far from being achieved. A nice person at the reception gave us our key and some basic explanations. You have to know that the igloos in this "new location" are situated very close to each other, I would say less than 8 meters from each other. The igloo was very nice, well equipped (very good bed quality), and temperature was good. You need to go back to the reception area for shower and sauna. The restaurant is at 5 minutes walk from the igloos. While on the internet you would read the hotel has 3 or even 4 restaurants, there is only there. And do not dream about a la carte service. You are in the middle of nowhere, and you have to eat there. There is only one mandatory menu they charged 28€ each. The starter was a salad with some dressing. And when I say salad, you imagine the ready salad you buy in a plastic bag, and just some sauce on it. A real scandal. The main dish was chicken and was ok. The desert was an industrial chocolate mousse. The beer is charged 5€. This was the worst value for money meal in our stay in Finland. We would advise to buy some bread, cheese and why not a bottle of wine in a supermarket before you arrive here and enjoy a romantic dinner in the igloo by yourself. We also had the "chance" to enjoy the show they have on some evenings in the restaurant. To summarize, there were two mature ladies doing a very bad playback on two pieces of music. The must see experience was when the second lady undressed her to remain in a black leather bra and underwear, showing to the amazed audience how fat she was. No wonder that there was no reaction on her proposal "Pictures?" at the end of the "show". As a summary, please check where you will effectively stay, the original hotel or the ne part that is not fully ready. For your info, the ice bar and ice Chapel was not yet build this year (20/01/2013), as it was not cold enough. This all is the reason of the summary of the review : the igloo is a nice experience, the rest is awful. Probably they can afford this bad service as people would come anyway for the igloos.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Vince-Maud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
singapore
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Was at the Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village 2 days before Christmas. Was a lovely experience as the whole village is filled with activities that can only keep you busy trying to go about in the snow.
The igloo was a very comfortable place to try and view the Nothern Lights but alas, the lights were nowhere to be found despite the fact that I stayed up till 4 am trying to catch sight of it.
Conditions for possibilities of sighting the lights were good with cloudless and clear sky and the fact that it was -22 degrees C.
Perhaps it would take more than just such perfect conditions to get to be able to sight the lights or is the Lapland calling for us to go back again? Time will tell or we should try to sight this in Alaska, Canada or Iceland instead.

Room Tip: First you will be lucky to get an igloo so not much choice really. Secondly, the rooms are almost id...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank passionfruitsin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cornwall
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Having read the reviews I was a little nervous about the money we had spent on this holiday! I needn't have worried and nor should you as long as you remember you are well inside the arctic circle. The superior rooms are slightly further away from reception and there was a five metre steep slope that being arthritic wasn't easy until I put on some spikes over my shoes and then it was ok. Nowhere is that far away from reception and we only got lost once but you are given a map and when you spot the nearest cabin number it's easy to get back on track. The cabin had everything you need as long as you bring hot chocolate or coffee with you. There is no kettle but you can heat up water easily. The sauna was lots of fun and you had a feeling of space inside and between cabins. The glass igloo was fun for a night and a romantic experience to remember but I did read that no-one could see in because of the special glass, well lets just say I saw more of my neighbours than I anticipated on the way past! The food was ok but we didn't expect five star cuisine in this location. You had soups and salads to start, meat or fish with vegetables and a simple chocolate or berry based pudding. Good healthy fare after a days activity but not going to set the culinary world on fire. Good relaxing music in the restaurant but don't sit on the table next to the piano bar which had awful modern music playing that didn't suit the clientele meaning you had two separate musical offerings at the same time. The waitress did agree to get it turned down but said it was a common complaint. So why not fix it? You leave your coats and hats in a corridor and someone did take my torch one night so don't see this area as safe. We came with mighty fine company and the package included two four hour trips with huskies and another with snowmobiles. We thought the four hour trips were best as you spend so long getting kitted out and it was an adventure. Staff were very safety conscious and were very helpful at working around my arthritis to ensure I had safe fun. Mighty fine gave very good advice about what to bring and do. Our only sadness was not seeing the northern lights. This just means we need to go somewhere else and try again!

Room Tip: Superior rooms are beautiful
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tamarvalleylady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Property: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Address: Kiilopaantie | 9, Saariselka 99830, Finland (Formerly Kakslauttanen Hotel & Igloo Village)
Location: Finland > Lapland > Saariselka
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 41
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Kakslauttanen Hotel And Igloo Village
Kakslauttanen Hotel Igloo Village
Kakslauttanen Hotel Saariselka
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Finland/Saariselka

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