Whilst the landscape may be laden with fresh powdery snow, a stay at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland is sure to melt your heart. The resort, located 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, sits within a world where the only things that seem to exist are picturesque trees, ski slopes, reindeer and igloos. The unique experience of staying at the resort means that it’s a frequent feature on travel bucket lists. But what is it really like to stay at the resort? Is all the hype justified? To answer these questions, I endeavoured on a 3-day autumn vacation to review the accommodation, food and activities on offer at the resort.
Where you’ll sleep at Kakslauttanen…
The first thing to know about the accommodations on offer at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is that they are divided into two villages – the East and the West Village. Whilst both villages feature glass igloos and log cabins, as well as their own reception/restaurant building, there are slight differences in their design.
For a point of comparison, it’s best to consider the East Village as the older, more traditional brother to the newer West Village. Historically, the East Village marks the spot where entrepreneur Jussi Firamo began Kakslauttanen as a tiny turf-roof cabin that operated as a simple roadside café back in 1973. Today, the café has expanded into an entire village of glass igloos, large traditional wooden log chalets, snow igloos (during the winter season), and a cosy combined reception/restaurant building.
If the East Village is the traditional older brother, then the West Village is the more youthful younger sister who’s always ready for an adventure or a party. The village actually began its life as a Santa Claus resort for guests staying in the East Village. Today, however, the West Village has expanded to become larger than the original East Village. In addition to the log cabins and glass igloos found in the East Village, the West Village also boasts a dazzling uniquely designed celebration hall, a magical Santa Claus house, ingenious Kelo glass igloos (i.e. glass igloos attached to log cabins), and on-site activities such as gold panning.
During my time at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, I stayed in one of the Kelo Glass Igloos located in the West Village. These igloos are best described as half glass igloo/half log cabin, combining the comforting warmth of a log cabin with the dazzling views of the night sky from the world-famous glass igloos. The Kelo igloos also feature a private sauna, fireplace, kitchenette, and bedroom. I cannot tell you how particularly amazing I found it to have my own private sauna. Whilst I encourage everyone to splurge on the Kelo rooms during their stay, the resort also offers the separate glass igloos or log cabins with a lower (though still quite expensive) price tag.
During the winter months when the temperatures drop low enough, the resort also opens up a number of snow igloos. Even when the temperature dips below 40 degrees Celsius the temperature inside these snow igloos is maintained between -3 and -6 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, my timing meant that I could not experience this unique aspect of Kakslauttanen so I cannot review it for you here. But if any of you happen to experience for yourself, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
You can check out the full range of accommodations on offer at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and their price range here.
What you’ll eat at Kakslauttanen…
Each village features a unique restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast of fresh bread, fruit, porridge, fish and cereals. In the West Village, the restaurant takes the form of a glass Igloo bar, whilst in the East Village, the restaurant instead exists as a cosy log restaurant. The restaurants also host delicious 3-course dinners every evening, which feature local ingredients such as reindeer (I could not bring myself to try this one though…) and fish soup.
Activities on offer at Kakslauttanen…
Whether you’re wanting to feel like Santa for a few hours on a reindeer-led sleigh ride or meet the man himself at Santa Claus’ house, Kakslauttanen has you covered. The resort works with many local companies offering incredible customer service. Activities include everything from aurora hunting expeditions aboard snowmobiles and reindeer or husky-led sleds to horseback riding and skiing excursions. Tours often include a hot drink and/or lunch in the wilderness as well as winter clothing (no matter how many layers you bring you’ll definitely be wanting more) and equipment. You can check out the full list of activities that you can partake in during your stay at Kakslauttanen here.
During my stay, I participated in a Husky and Reindeer Safari with Husky & Co. and Joiku Kotsamo Safaris. I’m happy to say that for both of these activities the animals appeared to be very well treated, especially the husky dogs who were beyond excited to get out running and pulling the sled through the wintery landscape.
For those looking for relaxation rather than adventure, spa and massage services are also available. Kakslauttanen actually sports the world’s biggest smoke sauna accommodating up to 100 bathers at once.
How to get to and around Kakslauttanen…
Reaching Kakslautannen couldn’t have been easier. With the resort just 30 minutes drive away, Kakslautannen offers a reasonably priced transfer service for all flights arriving at Ivalo airport. When it comes to getting to your room, that’s where the real fun begins… Kakslautannen offers guests sleds to push their luggage through the snow to their accommodation. Whilst some prefer to take the transfer in a minivan, I encourage you to try this experience at least one way because I had SO much fun doing so (see above photo for proof).
So if you’re in the mood for an intimate and creative experience with nature, head over to the resort’s website and book yourself in. Whilst the resort is open year-round, I highly recommend making it extra special by visiting in the late autumn or wintertime when the snow will trick you into believing that you have entered into Narnia. Another benefit of visiting during this time of year is that it boasts the most hours of darkness and the highest proportion of clear skies, increasing your chances of witnessing the magical light show put on by Mother Nature that is the Aurora Borealis. If you have any further questions about my stay, don’t hesitate to leave them in a comment below.
Elle is a world-wanderer, star-gazer, dog-lover and meteorologist in the making. When she’s not busy studying the Earth’s climate, she’s off experiencing it first hand all around the world. Over the past 3 years, Elle has travelled to 31 countries across Europe, Asia, Oceania and the United States and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. You can follow her colourful adventures on her Instagram, Facebook and blog.