We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Great Holiday”
Review of Arctic Star Hotel

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Karesuando
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Arctic Star Hotel
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Great Holiday”
Reviewed 4 March 2014

The important thing to say about this holiday is that if you are expecting 5 star accommodation, luxury service and sumptuous relaxation.....then go somewhere else. Likewise if you expect to be pampered and mollycoddled and can't take responsibility for yourself, then do your fellow travellers a favour and stay at home - this is not a trip for those that feel that moaning is a way of life!

First thing first then.....what to take with you. Depending on the temperature, you should make sure you have appropriate clothing. During our trip it was warmer than expected (0 to -10 deg c) so we didn't need everything we took with us, but i would recommend you research the use of base and outer layers and trust in the fact you get what you pay for (or you may regret buying those cheap "thick socks" from Primark!) A snood is a good investment, as is a decent wind proof hat, and gloves to go inside thermal mittens.

Everyone is provided with a good thermal suit and boots to keep for the week, so you won't need to buy expensive ski or trekking gear, snow boots or even salapetts. Just make sure you have plenty of thin layers, some comfortable trousers and something sturdy on your feet to travel in.

The hotel is extremely warm, too hot in fact, especially in the restaurant, so make sure you bring a couple of tshirts and light trousers to wear in the evening.

It may be an offensive thought to some, but you do find you wear the same clothes a lot, so no need to pack a different outfit for every day!

Other things to bring will be a travel kettle, tea/coffee, sachets of milk, snacks and nibbles, lots of reading material and your iPads loaded with tv downloads and films.

There is wifi in the common areas so internet and email is available for your own devices, but you can't really stream anything. There is no tv or other entertainment, and given that there can be a lot of downtime, especially if you are staying for a week, if you don't find lots of dozing a pleasant pastime, then you will need something else to do. There are a lot of chances to go for a good walk, but not a lot to see or do when you get there!

We like the odd little tipple so we took a bottle of whiskey in our suitcase.....a good move as the drinks in the hotel are expensive (equivalent of about £24 for a bottle of wine and £5 for a small beer).

The hotel doesn't have a shop but there is a local store about 25 mins walk over the bridge into Finland.

Accommodation is basic....some rooms are quite a lot bigger than others and there are a mixture of room layouts. We were at the back of the building which offer good views for the northern lights (should they appear) but it was very small with little storage. The WC and shower were compact and generally you need to be good friends with your room mate if you are sharing a room! The rooms at the front are bigger and better laid out.

Whilst we were led to believe the place had been refurbished, it didn't show and whilst functional, the rooms do need some attention. We had no service for the week apart from a quick bin empty and a change of loo roll. This is not, as I said before, luxury accommodation.

That said, the food is pretty good. On arrival days there is a buffet dinner, other days you choose a plated meal from a menu at breakfast time for the evening ahead. Generally it's a choice between meat/chicken, fish and a veggie option, and on at least 5 of our 7 nights it was delicious. If you are a meat eater and are lucky enough to get offered the option of Hungarian goulash then don't waste your time deciding between that and the other choices.....it is fantastic!!!

Breakfast is a buffet too, a basic mixture of cereal, continental and bacon/egg/sausage. Again, it's very nice food and if you are half board, there's plenty there to fill up and see yourself through to evening dinner. All meals have water, tea and coffee available.

Now, the excursions. There is lots to do, especially if you are there for just a few days.....as we were there for the week our trips were nicely spread out, hence the downtime, but those on 3 or 4 days did "cram" a little on occasion. This is not a cheap holiday and if you think about it too hard, you may feel most of the trips are overly expensive and indeed not really worth the money, HOWEVER, if you are relaxed and pragmatic, you'll realise the activities are almost a "once in a lifetime" opportunity and so you accept the cost and just enjoy yourself!

Snow shoe walking.....not terribly exciting, but a novel experience and not as easy you might think!

Husky sleighs.....great fun and if you are a dog lover it's even better. It's surprisingly easy to drive a sledge but you have to take care on the corners or you'll turn it over - an entirely painless event and one that will just make you laugh!

Reindeer farm.....a very surreal experience and an extremely pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. You have nice gentle ride in a sleigh being pulled by a reindeer and then you get to "drive" one on a special circuit. More great fun.

I should point out as a strong supporter of animal welfare that on the both these activities I was very pleased to see that the animals were very well looked after and the staff give them absolute priority in terms of care and safety.

Knife factory....you have a tour of the famous Karesuando factory where they hand make quality knives for export all over the world. Slightly informative and interesting although you do wonder how this is on a par to other activities!

Snowmobiles....brilliant!! Have faith and confidence that you have to try quite hard to fall off and you will then enjoy them that much more. The faster you go, the bigger the rush!

Ice palace and Sami museum....a bit of a journey to get there, but very interesting. One of the more gentle activities and a nice way to pass the day.

A night in an igloo....you should try it, just to say you've done it.

Forest trek....a gentle end to the holiday.

And finally the big one.....the northern lights. Unfortunately it's completely luck of draw the draw as to whether you get to see any at all, let alone something spectacular. We spent a lot of time in the late evenings stood and sat on the frozen lake at the back of the hotel looking for the lights.

We were lucky enough to see a certain amount on our first night and much more four days later, but even when there is a good meteorological light forecast, you are still reliant on weather conditions.....some nights there was a "good chance" of seeing the lights but sadly there was also a lot of cloud cover so we didn't see anything at all.

Handy tip......the lights are more "visible" on camera than to the naked eye, so practice your basic photography before you go. Phone cameras won't pick up anything unless it's perfect conditions but basic digital cameras will give quite good results even when you can't see much yourself. Learn how to set the exposure to maximum (15 or even 20 seconds) and adjust the ISO to 800 or 1600. Sounds complicated to the uninitiated, but it's easy with quick reference to your camera instruction manual and it'll make all the difference. We were lucky enough to hear this advice and got some nice pics with our £70 "point and shoot" model...others in our group brought some expensive cameras but didn't know how to use them, and sadly got nothing.

------------

In summary then.......

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Don't expect too much and you'll enjoy your time in Lapland. Relax, take it for what it is and you'll get the most from it. The outdoor staff were really friendly, knowledgeable and certainly made the activities more enjoyable. I do have a couple of things to moan about, not least of which is that Transun should treat their staff with a little more respect and give them more support - I recognised a mile off that the company are cost, not value, driven which can and sometimes does impact on the quality of the guests' holiday. I was also less than impressed with the behaviour and attitude to the guests (ie their clients, those whom provide salaries and profits) of some of the staff from Transun's head office who were in the resort on a short visit.

Finally, on your trip home.......if you intend to buy food and drink at Kiruna Airport you will be fleeced and pillaged in a dazzling display of daylight robbery. It's not particularly cheap in the first place, but if you then pay in Euro's instead of Swedish Krona, they will charge an astronomical exchange rate. We had 2 burgers, 2 bottles of water, a coffee, a beer and a small pot of Pringles, which came to 329SEK. This should have been about 37 euros (c£30). They charged us 51 Euros (c£41). My advice is go hungry, but at least you won't feel like your wallet has been stolen.

A great holiday, do it!!!

Room Tip: Rooms at the front are much bigger but with less of a view. To be honest, if you just get on with en...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank Peter030470
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 7 March 2014
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review about your recent stay. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your Arctic break, and enjoyed your stay in our simple, yet warm and comfortable hotel.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

196 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    43
    92
    37
    16
    8
See reviews for
32
110
5
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2014

A chance to see the Northern Lights is something that has been on my bucket list for a long time and after much searching, we found what looked to be our dream holiday, booked through Transun. My girlfriend and I booked up at quite short notice and were very excited at the prospect of a short winter break.

The chosen destination was Swedish Lapland and we stayed at the Arctic Star for 4 nights from 23rd February 2014.

We were met at the Airport by our Transun rep, Sean, who directed us to the nearby coach to transfer to the hotel. Sean is a very likeable guy who obviously really enjoys his work, he always seemed very approachable and showed lots of enthusiasm when explaining anything or answering questions, a real asset to Transun. We arrived at the hotel after around a two hour transfer and a short stop to collect our snow suit and boots at a site nearby.

We were pleasantly surprised by the hotel, I’d done lots of research on here and read some of the negative comments, each to their own but our experience of the hotel was very positive; the rooms were warm, the food was fantastic and the service in the reception, eating area, and the bar were fantastic. We stayed in a room at the annex at the back of the main hotel. We found the staff to be very welcoming and friendly, and extremely polite and reactive. We’d signed up for the half board option and very much liked the choices on offer for the breakfasts and the evening meals, this also gave us a chance to explore our surroundings and find a good restaurant for lunch across the Finland border, which is only a short walk away.

Part of the holiday package was a range of activities. These included an evening Forest Trek, a reindeer camp, a snowshoe introduction, husky sledging, and an evening snowmobile safari. We also took up the option of spending a night in an igloo. My advice to anyone is to do as many of these as you can, because they’re all fabulous and are co-ordinated by a set of fantastic instructors – employed by Santa Safari. My personal favourite was the snowmobile, followed by the reindeer camp. The activities are well thought out and I believe are great value for money. The chance to see the Northern Lights is on most peoples bucket lists, but the activities that are on offer are also great experiences and if you’re not lucky enough to see the Nothern Lights, they’ll still give loads of great moments and memories to you.

Everyone involved at the Artic Star, Transun and Santa Safari were great, but there’s a few people who went that little bit further than they needed to that made the whole experience a little more special, and I always feel that credit should be given where it’s due. Firstly our Transun rep Sean was excellent, and extremely helpful. He had a rapport going with a lot of the guests and did his job very well. I’m eternally grateful to Simon from Santa Safari, who alerted us to the Northern Lights in the sky while we were at the igloo site – as I mentioned before, this was the main reason for our holiday and to see them really was the icing on the cake, we’d more or less resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn’t see them that night so it was a big plus for us. He also explained a little about the science behind the Northern Lights. Simon was also the snowmobile instructor and did a great job of explaining how to handle them and taking us through the health and safety requirements. We also found the guy behind the bar, I’m not sure of his name, to be very friendly and personable – recommending local beers and just creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

I’d especially recommend this holiday to couples as there is something very romantic about being pulled along in a sledge by a reindeer, or staring into an arctic sky after zooming along on a snowmobile.

Well done to all at the Arctic Star, Transun and Santa Safari, you gave us a great holiday and we both said we’d love to return in the future.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Andrew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Thank you for your recent review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay, and have passed on your special thanks to Sean and Simon. Our hard-working team are always on hand to ensure that guests make the most of their Arctic experience and stay safe in the cold temperatures.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014

We stayed at the Arctic Star hotel in late January 2014 and found the hotel basic and homely. We had a room that had not been refurbished but was large, clean & warm. The food was plentiful & nicely served in a large dining/sitting room. All tables sat 4 people enabling us to get to know many of our lovely,friendly fellow guests. Plus in the absence of any tv or radio we wiled away many a happy evening just chatting to everyone,maybe a few more comfy chairs would be welcome? Our Transun reps Sean & Antoinette worked really hard to make sure every aspect of our holiday went like clockwork. All the experiences were well organised and made extremely enjoyable by the knowledge of the people involved.Whilst the snowsuits & boots provided were warm & comfortable do make sure plenty of layers are worn underneath & we found Hot Hand & Hot Feet warmers from Tesco or internet were invaluable-lasting up to 10 hours-so good for all day & evening!! Slippers & light casual clothing were perfect to relax in around the hotel after being bundled up all day. The hotel is a 20mins pleasant flat walk from the Finnish border passing a small museum,pretty church & a tourist information/coffee shop. After crossing the bridge (or frozen river!) into Finland,another 5 minutes or so, there is a souvenir shop,a truckstop-perfect for a spot of lunch and the Davii Lodge Hotel,which is up a bit of a hill. Good to go there & pick a toboggan for 5 euros, & have bit of fun sledging down the hill behind the hotel. So plenty to do in any spare time!Overall a fantastic holiday made- by the hotel & their staff,everyone from Transun,all the fantastic experiences & especially all the wonderful fellow guests. Oops nearly forgot- & by those magical elusive Northern Lights that we were lucky enough to see not once but twice-unforgettable!!! Thank you all.

Room Tip: We had room 9-which was large but as yet not refurbished.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Thank you for your review. We are pleased that you enjoyed your stay in our simple and cosy hotel. We aim to offer guests somewhere they can relax after a day (or evening!) full of snow activities and hope that if you chose to visit Karesuando again you would chose to stay with us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2014

After reading many reviews on here we were very weary about what we would find on our Transun holiday......all rights of that disappeared when we checked in.....we spent three great nights there. The hotel rooms are indeed basic but so comfortable and warm .we enjoyed all the meals included and also found the bar although slightly expensive we were prepared for that. The staff were lovely very friendly and accommodating . The shower was hot the towels thick and warm . Enjoyed the luxury of free WiFi in the reception and bar area ...the Transun staff also were great.Sean the head rep was a little diamond. A credit to the company .very friendly and professional.and although he wasn't well after a snowmobile accident Nothing was to much trouble. The excursions included we think we're top notch .a trip we will remember forever. We took kettle for our room with instant cappuccino s but the tea urn in the restaurant was always on. The whole experience was amazing made so by Transun and the Arctic Star .we work regionally be returning with the hope of seeing the Northern lights that didn't appear this time for us.....it will be with Transun and again to the Arctic Star hotel . A truly amazing trip Thank you so much ....only disappointment was we only had three nights :)

Room Tip: The rooms are very very warm .....room 43 is a great room
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ShelleyBRUCE2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Our staff work hard to ensure that our guests have the best possible experience, thank you for your kind words. We are very pleased to hear that you would like to stay with us again and look forward to welcoming you back.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
stoke golding
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2014

No problems for us at The Arctic Star hotel. Very warm room, memory foam mattresses on our twin beds, enough hanging space and plenty of hot water. The food is adequate, the chicken pie was especially good. Staff very helpful. A previous reviewer stated you would only need short sleeves inside the hotel. He was right, it was always very warm and comfy. A fabulous weekend. It was Valentine's day whilst we were there, all the ladies got a rose and some chocolates from Bogdan the barman. Nice touch I thought.
We didn't see the Aurora, but the dog sled, Reindeer sleigh ride and ski mobile trips were wonderful. I noticed on the trips how attentive the organizers were. They kept a close eye on us and their animals at all times.They were always close at hand to help out with minor hitches in that beautiful white wilderness.
We did take a bottle of booze with us, and a few snacks to keep in the room, and the traveling kettle of course. The hire suits and boots were of a high standard, and we never felt cold. We had packed some thermals, hats and mittens.
We loved it, and of course will have to go again now, maybe next year to try and get a glimpse of the fabled Aurora.

Room Tip: We had room 45 on the first floor. It was roomy and the beds were comfortable.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank marilynne d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Thank you for your review. We are very pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us, and would come back and visit. our small hotel has just 26 rooms and so we hope that we provide a personal experience.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2014 via mobile

Every element of our 3 day transun holiday was great , staff , hotel, flight, trips, rooms, food, weather..I must see and do in your life!!! That's all need say... Top tips:take a head light , but some plonk at the airport, don't over pack , once u have ya suit in it gets warm! The hotel and
Hotel rooms are very well heated! ..Well done all involved!! :)

Stayed February 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Adam O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Thank you for your review. We are pleased that you had an enjoyable trip and hope that you chose to stay with us on your next Arctic visit!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2014

3 night trip and a great way to get a small taste of conditions inside the Arctic Circle. Take a travel kettle, and a bottle of something duty free with your hand luggage and you won't go wrong. Rooms are basic but warm, clean and comfortable. Food is high calorie and plenty of it; a good cooked breakfast and substantial evening meal is all you need. Staff and volunteers in the hotel and on all trips are hard-working, very pleasant, and endlessly helpful. Karesuando is peaceful, remote and beautiful, straddling the Finnish/Swedish border. Euros are accepted everywhere but you only need them for maybe a coffee, a reindeer steak for a treat, or a small souvenir. We paid £420 each for the holiday which was fantastic value for money as that covered flights from East Midlands, half board, transfers, snowmobile trip, dog sled ride, reindeer sled ride, and a short forest walk. All trips guided by the usual excellent staff. You should be realistic about the chances of seeing the Northern Lights as cloud cover is common and light 'pollution' from the village substantial, but this should be a bonus to an otherwise highly entertaining trip. By the way a quick mention for the staff at East Midlands Airport; where else in the world can you touch down on Sunday afternoon, get through security, collect your luggage, take a courtesy bus to the car park, and be on the road within 45mins of landing. Astonishing.

Room Tip: we stayed in the annexe at the Arctic Star...very basic but fine
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Alistair M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SantaSafariManager, General Manager at Arctic Star Hotel, responded to this review, 3 March 2014
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review of your recent stay at the Arctic Star. We are pleased to hear that you had an enjoyable break to celebrate your wife's birthday. many guests chose to visit us for memorable occasions, and we hope that our unique location and winter activities we offer did not disappoint.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Been to Arctic Star Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Arctic Star Hotel

Property: Arctic Star Hotel
Address: 153 Laestadiusvaegen | Laestadiusvägen 153 Karesuando Sverige, Karesuando 980 16, Sweden
Region: Sweden > Norrbotten County > Karesuando
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Karesuando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 26
Also Known As:
Arctic Star Hotel Karesuando, Sweden - Vasterbotten County

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing