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“Beautiful concept, average execution”

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Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Reviewed December 13, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Kakslautten in a glass igloo for one night in early December 2013.
We took the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi (overnight) and then a bus from Rovaniemi to Saariselka. The bus leaves from right outside the train station and drops you right outside the hotel.
We were told the scenery on the train is not particularly exciting hence the night train. It was still very exciting to wake up in the morning to the beautiful twilight morning and 360 degrees of snow covered landscapes!
Getting to the hotel, the reception takes a while because the people managing reception are also managing the bar/restaurant. Once there, we were given a map and explained how to get to our igloos. This walk was pretty arduous in the snow and dark, and there weren't any signs to help. When we finally did get there, we were very happy with the igloo. It was incredible. Beautiful, well heated, and worth the effort.
The beds are controllable which is fun and you get to decide exactly where you want to face to see the lights.
There is a bathroom but no shower in the igloo. You can use the shared shower which is about 200m or more away but really, how can one contemplate walking that far for a shower when the temperature in -20 and you are knee deep in snow?

We then went to get dinner at the restaurant. The place was very chaotic, we were misleadingly told that there was only a set menu and no a la carte but this is not true. We finally got a seat, and were served by 2 different waitresses as they didn't know who was serving us. They were both fairly pleasant though. The place also had 3 vegetarian options for me, which was very well appreciated considering the remoteness of the location.
Food was only average (for me and my non-vegetarian partner) and it took them more than half an hour to get us our bill which was annoying.
Next day, there was free breakfast though, which again was average but not anything to complain about either.
Back to the igloos, we did see some beautiful northern lights on our way back from dinner, and got some beautiful pictures (outside the igloo). Unfortunately our neighbours had left their lights on, which causes a surprising amount of light pollution and was really annoying as we were trying to watch the aurora from our room! We stayed up till 1am and then slept under the beautiful night, slightly annoyed by our neighbours but mostly content.

We did spend two more nights in another hotel in Saariselka which were also great but obviously this place is quite special.

Overall, I think you do have to bear in mind that this is the arctic and a luxurious experience is not what this land offers so you have to take criticism of this place with a grain of salt.
I think the glass igloos are a spectacular concept and a very fascinating experience for a night and I would recommend it to others. The hotel unfortunately is not very well run - simple things like signs to the igloos, advising people to turn their lights off when the igloo in not in use, a better run restaurant, a separate check in would make a difference. Not having showers in the igloo is also somewhat annoying.
I would recommend this to everyone as a one night stay for a magical night followed by stay in a normal and cheaper hotel in Saariselka for a few more days to further experience Lapland.

Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
14  Thank FindingNemo123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 7, 2013

Good things about this place, the cabins are nice and rustic and it was great to be able to have a fire and our own sauna. Bad points, reception.... Now I had read the reviews and this hotel needs to sort it out. It was bedlam with people checking in or out, waiting for tours and around breakfast time, complete mayhem. Food was not great and if this is a four star place, really poor. I would also recommend booking direct with the tour companies as there is no benefit going via the hotel. Also, hardly any Finnish staff or food... The hotel should try harder to give people an all round authentic experience...

Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Penfold13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

This is definitely not a four star hotel despite the prices, it is slightly scruffy with slapdash service and poor food, but it does have some redeeming features. The log cabins are fairly basic, but charming none the less, nestled in snowy woodland with an open fire (we had to collect our own wood from the wood store when the promised load didn't turn up) a rocking chair and an inbuilt sauna. There is a kitchenette, but no tea, coffee or milk so suggest you bring the former and buy the latter from the shop. As well as the cabin we also booked a glass igloo for a night and this is definitely the way to do it if you can afford both. The igloos are very, very basic and small, two beds a loo and that's it - if you don't have a cabin as well you will have to pass the day in the unattractive main lodge and use the communal showers. By having both we were able to watch the aurora from the warmth of the igloo and then retreat to the relative comfort of the cabin. If you go in winter take ski gear, it is incredibly cold and you will have to cart your bags some distance in the snow. Overall an experience seeing the northern lights, but the hotel is a tourist trap and we won't be going back.

Room Tip: Avoid the cabins by the main road
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Optimusprime100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2013

First the positives. The glass igloos are very clever constructions. You can have a comfortable temperature inside while cool air vents prevent the glass from fogging up. The igloos come with electrically adjustable beds so that both occupants can watch the sky at maximum comfort. We stayed at the new grounds which were only opened for business some 3 months before, so all facilities were literally brand new. Staff were friendly and helpful though they were sometimes so busy they were hardly able to cope. The place was quite easy to reach since the Ivalo - Rovaniemi coach stops right outside (ask the driver). A new add-on that wasn't featured on their website: At the new site there is a "Santa's Home" which has been built with a lot of love and attention to detail.
On the other hand, in order of severity: The new grounds are some 4 or 5 kilometers from the old ones which means you must wait for the hotel shuttle bus to take you back and forth (unless you rent a snow mobile). It also seemed like the place was still on a skeleton crew which meant that not even the reception was manned at night - you'd have to call a number and somebody would presumably jump in a car and come over. The reception area at the old site was very cramped since it doubled as reception, lobby, cafe, breakfast room, souvenir shop and meeting point for excursions. The breakfast buffet we had there was fairly tiny and again cramped for the above reasons. Also, the windows were small and offered no view of anything, a bit like eating in a fortress. Dinner at the new site was a single set meal. Even considering they were not fully booked yet I would have expected a resort of that category to offer a little more selection. Especially so since the new site is in the middle of nowhere and you have no alternative. The food itself was okay but again, since it was more expensive than at any other hotel we stayed at in Lapland, I would have expected more than just a generic "okay". A major annoyance in the igloos is light. While "public" lamps on site are turned off at 9 pm the igloos are close enough to each other that light from your neighbours will shine into your igloo. If the site is fully booked I can imagine arguments arising. Trees planted in between igloos can also obstruct the view of the sky. I even noticed that igloos at the old site are actually near the road, as well.
Finally, not annoying but a bit confusing was the almost entirely Asian staff. I have no problem with Asian people and all staff were friendly and helpful. My wife (who is Asian herself) and I merely found it a bit odd for a resort that is all about Lapland, Finnish culture, log cottages and Santa Claus to have almost every single member of staff coming from the Philipines, Thailand or China. Catering for Asian tourists maybe? Other possible conclusions are less flattering to the owners.
All in all the experience in the igloo was unique and special and surely the glass igloos are expensive to build. Still, I do not feel the exorbitant price per night is justified. If you stay, stay one night for the experience (a lot of people seem to do that) but for a longer trip to Lapland go elsewhere.

Room Tip: - Igloos at the new site will not get light pollution from the road - At the time of our stay the n...
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank dtobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2013

Arrival here is by bus out on the main road. There is no one to greet you from the hotel and you therefore must find your own way there, dragging your suitcase through the ice and snow.
Upon check in I was given a map and had to find my own way to my room. I am very fit and I struggled immensely to make it to my room which was about 600 meters away across the river. It was dark and poorly lit. The snow was very deep and I was literally dragging 25kg of luggage. It's very dark here day and night in winter and I found it hard to locate my room.
The glass igloos are very small, you have to bend yourself in half to get through the door. There's only a toilet no shower. The showers are elsewhere. I'm yet to find them.
There are no tvs and the wireless internet is limited to the reception area. If you are not on a guided safari there is nothing to do.
Oh and to top it off the glass in the igloo is completely frosted over so you can't see the sky!!

  • Stayed: November 2013
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20  Thank NaomiA3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2013

We travelled in January to try and track the northern lights. We weren't fortunate with a clear sky but that didn't spoil the trip. We stayed one night in a glass igloo, a great experience although very minimal space and no toiletries or anything. Given it was so expensive you would think there would be little personal touches.

We stayed in a log cabin for 2 nights which were magical in the snow. We actually took things to make from London e.g pasta, sauce and tinned tuna and some wine! Food in the restaurant is very expensive and not good quality. Most things tasted like they had been in powdered form an hour before arriving on our table. The entertainment was so bizarre! However, enjoyable and needed when there isn't anything to do at night locally. We went to the town one evening which was quite nice.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank Psychtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2013

Glass Igloo Village Kakslauttanen is an expensive resort. Accommodation, food, drinks and services are expensive. There are much more cheaper holiday resorts in Lapland. But Glass Igloos are worth of one night visit. No more.

The main attraction is sky itself. In an Glass Igloo there's nothing else to do than watch the sky. It's more like spending a night at tent than in a traditional log cabin. If you are lucky, Northern Lights appears. When I was there, it was cloudy and light snowfall.

The weirdest thing is this resort is Asian staff. Friendly, but like aliens in a foreign environment. So don't expect a very Lappish experience, spend other nights at your Holiday in other Saariselkä resorts. They have local staff and everything is more genuine.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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7  Thank Timo K
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

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: $467 - $1,271 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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