This is a tough one. We have to differ from so many people writing here. Perhaps our expectations were different. It sells itself as a destination for the adventures of Lapland and a charming, atmospheric family hotel. It does the first brilliantly. The second – not so much.
Most people coming here will be hunting the outdoors; the thrill, beauty and adventure of a Lapland winter. Positioned on the lake shore, some 30 minutes from the nearest small town, this is a brilliant location. Peaceful, deeply rural, beautiful. The guiding staff – there to walk you on snow shoes round the forest, teach you cross-country skiing or lead you a ski mobile safari – are brilliant. They are hugely knowledgeable charming and passionate. The owner and one of the guides, Toni, are excellent photographers in their own right and will teach you how to capture the Northern Lights. We came home thrilled with our adventures. The highlight - driving a husky sled across a frozen lake.
BUT – the hotel itself was a great disappointment. Converted in 2008, it used to be a school, and still reeks of institution: strip lights, tiled walls and a regime to match. There is a warm welcome, but don't try and change your plans or ask for clean mugs in which to make a cup of tea! You need to conform to your package and don’t expect much flexibility. The restaurant is not nearly as lovely as the pictures. There is a choice of one dish at any meal, from a self service counter, and late-comers will go hungry. Breakfast is paltry. There is almost nowhere to sit and chill later in the day. The hotel houses 50, and there are seats for just a handful in an uncomfortable, fluorescent -lit lounge and a corridor. In the latter, the manageress arrives regularly to ‘shush’ you. And God forbid you want a drink after 9.30! The bar is unmanned. That staff have gone to bed.
The rooms are clean, quiet and pleasant - but basic. Our ‘Family Room’ was tiny. The bathroom was literally a metre square, the shower ran over the toilet. The mattresses are horribly uncomfortable.
So much could be brilliant here. The staff are golden. The location world class. But the overall feel is less ‘charming family hotel’, more ‘youth hostel plus’. If some money and work are spent on warming the communal spaces, extending the catering and adding a few 'house' staff, this will be very, very special. Til then, it is OK, but no cigar.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You are warmly Welcome to enjoy the Luxury of Silence in the Hotel Korpikartano situated by the shore of the beautiful wilderness Lake Menesjarvi, Inari, Lapland, just next to Lemmenjoki National Park. Let yourself relax in the beautiful surroundings of wilderness nature combined with nice activities, good food and friendly service. ... more less
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