In Finland, surrounded by thousands of pine trees and mounds of pristine snow, sits the famed Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. The hotel is best known for the glass igloos that enable visitors to lie in bed gazing at the Northern Lights. We decided to go check it out; we love nothing more than a unique experience. Throw in the Aurora Borealis and there was no way we were going to miss this one!
Four friends, all from different corners of the world. We decided to meet in London and fly together on Finn Air via Helsinki. We had a 6 hour layover which was perfect for a quick dash into the city for a photo op. Our destination airport was in Lapland, the very northern parts of Finland. More accurately, we were heading to Ivalo Airport, situated a 30 minute drive north of Kakslauttanen. We had organised a car in advance through the resort so there was no issue with our arrival. The snow was magical; none of us are used to seeing much of it.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
It was definitely a resort. Spread over a vast property, we loved that it felt remote and quiet, even though it was peak season. No high rise buildings, no masses of people. An absolute silence hung over the area; it was so peaceful. Check-in was smooth, and our first 3 nights were in a 2 bedroom log cabin. We were provided with sleds so that we could pull our luggage to our temporary home. It was hilarious!
When we got to the cabin, it was perfect. There was a cosy communal area with a big open fireplace. The small kitchenette was perfect for us to make our glűhwein. The 2 bedrooms had everything necessary to be comfortable, and there was even a private sauna in the cabin. The angle of the cabins were such that no window overlooked a neighbouring cabin, which we loved. We felt completely alone in nature. No phone, no Wifi and no TV. We loved it! For those who shudder with dread at the thought of no connectivity; fear not. Wifi services were available in the reception, which is where we had to go to eat anyway. Dinner most nights was reindeer in all its varying forms. The first night we felt weird about it, but the taste is good and its hearty and hot, so we gobbled it down.
The Famous Glass Igloos
The last 2 nights we spent in the famous glass igloos. The small entrance leads to a compact interior – with the narrowest little single beds you’ll ever sleep in. The decoration was minimal and there was no space for luggage, but we didn’t care. We were so excited to be there that nothing phased us in the slightest. There are narrow curtains that surround the side of the igloo to give privacy at bed-level, but that’s as much privacy as you’ll get. The igloos have their own toilet, but guests need to use the communal shower rooms which are a 5-10 minute walk away depending on the location of your igloo. The igloos stand in a long row, which doesn’t give the same feeling of isolation as we got when we stayed in the log cabin.
The staff at the hotel were very helpful and assisted us with arranging outings during the day. On the one day, we headed out on a reindeer safari. Kitting up in our winter gear was quite a mission, we were definitely well protected from the cold! We buddied up in pairs and settled down in a sled, lined with fur for comfort and additional warmth. The journey was leisurely and peaceful, snaking our way through pine forests and into remote areas that seemed completely isolated. We stopped half way at a camp site for a hot drink around the fire before setting off again. At the end, we were treated to a traditional meal served in an oversized tepee. It was fun embracing and learning about the traditional Finnish way of life.
The next day we set off on a husky sledding adventure. The experience is completely different but equally amazing. Still in pairs, the sled has one seat and one driver that stands on the back. Each sled has a team of 6 dogs to pull it, and the dogs thrive on the work. The set-up seemed to take too long for the huskies, they were so eager to get going! Their energy and enthusiastic barks egging us on. The trip covered a lot of distance, because the dogs can go at speed. It was fun because as the driver, you really have to learn to guide and control the lead dog. It was fascinating to watch the alpha behaviour in the pack. The day was finished with another traditional lunch, this time in an igloo-style hut.
Families might want to consider visiting Santa’s Village, which is also nearby. Since we were all adults (ahem) and it was January, we decided to skip it on this visit. That said, this is Lapland, and there is no truer North Pole – “home of Father Christmas”.
In Search of the Northern Lights
The best time of year to see the Aurora Borealis is December to March. We thought we’d timed it perfectly with a 5 night stay in January. Unfortunately for us, we only saw the Northern Lights on one night – but it was spectacular. Hues of greens and purple danced across the sky in ever changing shapes and intensities. We stood outside our cabin utterly awestruck. There was nobody around except us. There was basically no artificial light pollution either; the sky was full of stars. We took photos, we lay in the snow, we took more photos, until the lights faded and eventually disappeared. The rest of the nights were cloudy and grey. We kept hoping; the 4 of us took it in turns to wake up every hour to check so we wouldn’t miss the phenomenon, but to no avail. They didn’t show themselves to us again.
Would We Go Again?
The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Literally, once in a lifetime. We probably won’t go back, but that’s got nothing at all to do with the experience. It was an incredible holiday. One of the more expensive ones we’ve been on (calculating cost per day), but worth every penny. We hadn’t done a holiday like that in the past, so the experiences were unique and the memories will last forever. I even have the photo of the Northern Lights as my work computer’s background. But the world is a big place, and there’s still so much to explore. The next version of this holiday will probably be to Iceland or Alaska. Maybe Sweden. But if you get the chance, you must go to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. It’s one of the best once-in-a-lifetime adventures we’ve ever been on.
Have you been to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort before? Maybe you’ve been somewhere else to see the Northern Lights. We’d love to hear about it! Leave us a message in the ‘Comments’ below.