The main highlight of my Rovaniemi trip is experiencing a unique stay in the Glass Igloo. The Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos comprises of two different accommodation sites, the SnowHotel and Glass Igloos. I had booked a one night stay at the Glass Igloo, with the intention of catching and viewing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) from the comfort of my bed.
The Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos is situated in Sinettä, about 26km from Rovaniemi town. Its location in the wilderness offers an ideal opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis because it is best viewed in complete darkness, away from the city lights. Additionally, geomagnetic activity and a dash of luck are required to produce this natural phenomenon.
For non-drivers, there is no local transportation service to get to the property. As such, guests have to arrange the pickup service, 24hrs in advance, directly with the hotel. For the airport transfer, it costs EUR90 per vehicle which can accommodate up to five guests. This arrangement is fine for guests travelling in a group, however for single or couple travellers who are on a budget, they may like to consider arranging the pickup service at Rovaniemi town instead. Guests can take the airport shuttle service from the airport to the town, followed with the hotel shuttle service from the town to the hotel. The cost of the airport shuttle service is EUR7 per person, whilst the arranged hotel pickup service costs EUR15 per person. As such, the total cost works out to only EUR22 per person, which is lower than the arranged transfer from the airport directly to the hotel. There are three scheduled timings for the pickup at the the town centre, namely, 1440hrs – 1500hrs, 1610hrs – 1630hrs and 1840hrs – 1900hrs. Simply email the hotel the venue and preferred time of the pickup and they shall respond with a confirmation. The journey takes between 30 and 45mins, depending the number of pickups. Concerning the return transfer from the hotel, there are only two scheduled timings daily, namely 0900hrs and 1200hrs. Guests can request to head directly to the airport at EUR20 per person or Rovaniemi town at EUR15 per person. As my departure flight was scheduled in the evening, I had arranged the pickup service at noon for my departure to town. This enabled me to spend my some leisure time in town before my return to the airport. The wonderful thing is that I had approached the Rovaniemi Tourist Information Centre at Sampokeskus Mall and the staff have been very kind to assist with the storage of my luggage so that I can explore the town with ease.
Upon my arrival at the property, I was ushered to the main building for the check in registration. I am impressed that the Front Desk Staff has been very patient and provided a very detailed explanation on the hotel facilities and amenities. The hotel reception and main breakfast area is located in one building, while the Glass Igloos and SnowHotel are situated at two different sites, all which are situated close to one another. Guests need to be aware that they are required to carry their own luggage from the hotel reception to the Glass Igloos as no assistance is provided.
I was expecting the Glass Igloo, measuring at 20 square metres to feel small, but to my surprise, I found it reasonably comfortable with sufficient space for luggage storage. I have no issues with the bathroom size as well. Despite the cold wintery temperatures, the glass igloo is well insulated by its special thermal glass roof as well as its heated floor. One important information to note is that the water heater is only available for a maximum of 25mins, but is sufficient for the usage of two guests. An interesting feature of the room is that the beds are motorised, which allows for easy adjustment to the guest’s preferred optimal position for sleeping or viewing the skies under the glass roof.
Staying in this property is akin to staying in an island resort, where there are basically no amenities such as supermarket and mall in the vicinity. Hence, guests might wished to bring along some snacks and drinks during their stay here, but of course do observe room cleanliness as a courtesy to other guests. For the guest’s convenience, there is a mini fridge provided inside the igloo for the storage of beverages. Additional amenities include a kettle for preparing hot beverages as well as a hair dryer in the bathroom.
Breakfast is served in the Log Restaurant Lumikartano between 0730hrs and 1000hrs. As for the dinner, guests can choose to enjoy their meals served in the three different venues namely, Lappish Kota, Ice Restaurant and Log Restaurant Lumikartano. A set dinner costs from EUR40 onwards. There are scheduled dinner timings at the various restaurants and it is advisable to book the dinner in advance during the check in registration. I had chosen to dine at the Ice Restaurant in view of its unique theme, whereby all the tables and seating area are interestingly sculptured on ice blocks. Regretfully, I did not find the dinner at the Ice Restaurant delectable. On the other hand, the breakfast offering is rather enjoyable.
Now, the fun part and one of the most enjoyable experiences is the visit to the Ice Bar located inside the SnowHotel. The Ice Bar is only open during these two timings, 1730hrs to 1830hrs and 2130hrs to 2230hrs. Alcoholic drinks are served in a “shot glass” made entirely of ice, which costs EUR10 per shot. After shooting down the drink, remember to throw the ice “shot glass” onto the bar wall, which is also made entirely of ice.
When in Finland, do as the Finns do and try Finnish Sauna! At this hotel, I had booked the traditional Finnish sauna with snow sauna. It is a private sauna which is a 60mins session and costs EUR40 per person.
Guests staying in the Arctic glass Igloos will enjoy complimentary entry (Costs EUR15 for non-hotel guests) to the Arctic SnowHotel. The rooms and its sculptures are indeed a fascinating sight to behold.
There is a reindeer farm just further up ahead the hotel reception building, though there appeared to be only two inside the enclosure. Nevertheless, it is still an interesting sight since there are well known in the Christmas folklore here in Lapland.
The Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos might have been considered an expensive stay to a traveller, specially coming from an Asian country like myself. It is however indeed a unique experience, I must say. As mentioned earlier, the property is situated in the wilderness, whereby guests will spend the majority of their time here, indulging in the meals at the restaurant and enjoying the sauna here. That said, guests must take note of the miscellaneous costs associated with the stay so that expectations can be better managed.
The Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos is only open during the winter months between Dec and Mar of each year. So remember to book the room on your preferred dates in advance as they are usually booked out during the holiday period. To sum it up, I highly recommend a stay here if you are planning a visit to Rovaniemi.
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- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ARCTIC SNOWHOTEL Our SnowHotel sleeps 70 guests and is one of the largest in the Nordic region. This spectacularly handsome building is carved each year to be different in appearance. The walls and furniture surfaces of the unique rooms are decorated with ice art and illuminated artwork. The room temperature is 0–5C°, but using the sleeping bags intended for extreme conditions combined with reindeer furs, you can be sure you will stay in warmth and comfort. On the shores of the lake the moonlight, stars and Northern Lights illuminate the silent, Lappish nature. As our guest you will have a good night’s sleep as the Aurora Alarm searches the skies for you. GLASS IGLOOS Next to SnowHotel you will find the tranquillity of the glass igloos. Staying overnight in a glass igloo feels like sleeping in the open, but inside the igloo it is just as warm and cosy as a hotel. The igloo village is set in an opening surrounded by pine trees, sufficiently far away from the city lights, making ideal conditions for watching the Northern Lights and enjoying starry skies. Have a good night’s sleep as the Aurora Alarm searches the skies for you: once the Aurora Alarm has woken you up, all you need to do is open your eyes, look at the night sky and enjoy the sight from the comfort of your bed. ... more less
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