My wife persuaded me to take her to the Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos 'resort' in Sinetta, Finland this last weekend, (17-19 February 2017). I am not, it can be said, a fan of the cold or snow or anything related. The weekend was simply brilliant, in large part due to the staff and quality of the venue.
I had a number of email conversations with staff prior to making the trip, each courteous and helpful and they were able to resolve my queries efficiently.
Now the venue itself: the accommodation is in either a hotel literally made of snow and ice or for the less adventurous, a heated glass topped 'igloo'. We stayed one night in the ice hotel and the following night in the igloo. The ice hotel is a fun experience albeit the 'facilities' are limited. There is a very clean toilet and shower area at the rear of the hotel and you store your luggage in a locker room, (the lockers are a good size and easily took the carry-on suitcases we both took), which is a heated room at the rear of the ice hotel. You pick up a sleeping bag, thermal inner liner and pillow from this room when ready for bed and go to your allocated ice room. Here you will find a bed frame with a thin mattress and covered in reindeer hide on an ice frame, with an ice table. You clamber awkwardly into the sleeping bag, zip up as far as possible and go to sleep. It’s easier than it sounds and I slept very well. You are woken by a member of staff with a hot drink at 7.30 which seems a bit early but it works. Breakfast is included in the price we paid and is a wide choice from a large buffet.
The igloos are glass topped ‘huts’ with remote controlled adjustable beds, underfloor heating and a private bathroom. After the ice hotel, they are, of course, sheer luxury and we wallowed in the heat and not having to wear multiple layers of clothing to be warm enough. There are also tea and coffee making supplies in the room.
We had dinner in the log room, the main area with the reception desk, restaurant and an additional warm room, which has to be booked in the morning. You also have to select your meal from a limited menu, (3 different options, in our case salmon, elk or a vegetarian option), which was delicious. We could have chosen dinner in the ice restaurant, another area in the ice hotel or in a Kota, a circular building with an open fire pit in the middle on which they cook salmon or sausages.
The staff: all the members of staff we dealt with could not have been more helpful or pleasant. We arrived late on Friday evening, after the kitchen had closed but due to one of my email conversations they had arranged some simple French stick sandwiches for us.
On the Saturday morning after breakfast one of the desk staff advised us on activities to do and they are happy to provide drinks when requested, (at a cost), and sandwiches at lunch even though we hadn’t booked anything. Every interaction with staff was met with smiles and as much help as necessary.
When we checked out the cost of dinner the previous night was still on the bill although I had paid it at the time. This was resolved very quickly on production of the receipt and without rancour or fuss. The shuttle back to the airport was on time and got us there in plenty of time to check in and get to the gate.
And finally, the pièce de résistance – we saw the Aurora Borealis on both evenings we were there. The staff always let you know when the Lights are visible, (including a staff alert at any time of night), so you won’t miss the chance to see them. Whilst not the main reason for visiting the Hotel it is part of the attraction and we were so pleased to see them both nights.
My only word of caution is that due to the low temperature, (-17 C on one night), the lock to our igloo froze stopping us getting in and then froze overnight, stopping us getting out. On both occasions the staff had the right equipment to solve the issue and didn’t even make me feel stupid (which I had been) in not looking in the igloo provided information pack for the desk number to alert someone. We were banging on the door and a staff member heard us, guessed what had happened and immediately came with a heater to get us out.
This has been a long review but I want to give an accurate picture of what to expect and to convey what a wonderful time we had at the Hotel. This is an exciting, interesting and enjoyable experience. It’s not cheap by any measure but I came away feeling we had had value for money and we will be looking to return.
Just don’t fly with Norwegian Air, every flight (four of them) was late.
- 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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