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“A Mixed Experience”
Review of The Border Inn

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The Border Inn
Reviewed 24 April 2014

My partner and I had a mixed experience during our stay at The Border Inn. The husky sledding was completely exhilarating! Much more difficult than I imagined which made a day of not falling off the sled a real achievement! It is an activity we would both love to do again. Ending the day with sauna was a fabulous immersion in culture and we both came to love the experience by the end of the week. The attentiveness of Katja as a host made our stay comfortable and was very much appreciated.
Unfortunately, we had a few disappointments. We did not feel the warm welcome from Philip that other guests have expressed in their reviews - his minimal interaction and communication often created an awkward atmosphere and did not give us confidence when sled training. The accommodation was very simple. We were well-prepared and looking forward to the rustic accommodation in the cabins, but did not expect basic accommodation in the main lodge. We were given a bunk room, not the more private double bed in the Guest cabin. The lodge accommodation lacked privacy, comfort and space - there were no curtains on the windows, 1 toilet and 1 shower was shared between 4 people and the seasonal 'worker' also lived in the guest area. There weren't any complimentary facilities like tea or coffee in the shared living area, or a glass of wine to accompany dinner. Although we could live with this, we had higher expectations of the lodge due to the slogan 'Luxury Arctic Safaris'. We thought the price we had paid (3591 euros) afforded greater comforts. We were further disappointed that we weren't offered any of the additional activities such as ice-fishing or snow shoeing which we were of the impression were included in the price. We do think a week was too long. We weren't as active as we wanted to be and we were generating ideas ourselves to ensure we maximised our experience in the beautiful wilderness.
As a note, we do not recommend going in Spring. Witnessing the Spring melt was beautiful, but it also made husky sledding more challenging. The melt prevented us completing the tour as we could not get over the swamps to the cabins. We appreciated the effort of Philip and Katja in getting us out on the sleds each day and/or night!
We have taken many wonderful memories away from our stay at The Border Inn and it's beautiful surrounds. Even though we had a mixed experience, we do not regret our choice to celebrate our 40th birthdays with husky sledding!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Mary M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 10 of 16 reviews

Reviewed 22 June 2013

We Didn't know what to really expect but we needn't of worried, it was Fantastic experience! Philip and Katja made us feel at ease straight away, we fell in love with their place and the dogs who with their individual characters endear them selves to you.
First day out on our training run I really didn't want it to finish, we then embarked on 4 days of mushing into a pristine wilderness,we loved the cabins and enjoyed the hands on aspect of the trip, we are not being known for standing around with our hands in our pockets.
We were never cold even at -27 and I suffer from hashimoto thyroidisum as the kit supplied is first rate. The food was wonderful and gluten free for me. The staff are very professional and all we were left to do is enjoy our selves.
We both learnt a lot about the dogs, who's enthusiasm for their job never wanes, they are very pro about the work. It was an honour to mush with them, I'll never forget my team.
We really would like to return one day :)
We also thank the other guests for making our trip enjoyable with the great banter and the appreciation of good music! And a special thank you to Philip and Katja for looking after us.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Leafa1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2013

This was a holiday that was among one of our best. I would recommend this holiday overall as excellent. Although I was taken out of my comfort zone, I had the most amazing time. From the food to the accommodation, to the dogs and to the hosts Philip and Katja.. Who each made a life time of memories in such a small space of time. Philip never made us feel like a client, he always made us feel like part of his family. He is the most amazing host and fantastic cook. The whole holiday was always about his huskies. Words cannot explain my new found love for the huskies and the wilderness. It has inspired us to think about doing it all over again. So for all you dog lovers out there, this is a trip you would never forget.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jillyb H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2012

I've just come back from a week dog mushing at the Border Inn, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It was exactly the sort of small authentic experience we were hoping for. Being out in the wilderness was an amazing experience, made all the better by the great hosts Philip & Katja (who run the safaris). The dogs were adorable, food was v tasty (think elk stews etc), and beers in the sauna was a perfect way to finish the day. All in all, a pretty perfect experience in the wild. For those interested, I wrote up a blog of my experience - should hopefully give you a good idea of what to expect http://bit.ly/J7jfvt

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank GozimbaTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2012

Our trip during February 2012 was a well balanced mix of excitement and relaxation in the wilds of Finland. Our hosts at the Inn made us feel very welcome and although there was only a loose timetable, this actually helped keep the atmosphere relaxed and convivial. Phillip, Katja and Marco could not have done more to answer any questions we had and enhance our understanding of driving huskies.
Our snowscooter safari was cut to 2 days from 2 plus a short training day due to complaints about not requiring training by a rather rude and arrogant guest in that week's group. Phillip very kindly added an extra day to the dog sledding trip so it became 3 days plus training. Our guide for the scooters, Hans, was quite knowledgeable of the area and during our overnight stay at the wilderness hotel, introduced us to a few of the alcoholic specialities of the area, which we would otherwise have missed. The staff at the hotel were wonderful too, and we would like to return one day.
Hans also took us up a hill on the tour to the "Enchanted Forest" which was breathtaking! We also had a play in deep snow on private tracks - a rare treat for a tourist.
The wilderness hut on the dog sled tour was definitely an experience! No running water, flushing toilets or electricity. Heated by fire only and a wood-burning stove for all the cooking: there may not have been much space, but it was warm and comfortable and added to the feeling that you were having a bit of an adventure. Even taking part in the "chores" was hardly a chore, and an important part of the stay for us.
It was good to get involved in looking after the dogs. We were welcome to help feed and eventually to harness and clean up after them if we wanted. As the harnesses are fairly individual and the teams are made to match the character of the guest, it wasn't possible to have your own team in a pen and be able to harness them from the start, but once you were used to your team, you could help a little more.
The food was fantastic and plentiful. It is the only holiday we have been on where we have stuffed our faces and barely gained any weight! Eating is actually encouraged as having enough energy to safely complete and enjoy the tour is a big safety factor and emphasised by Phillip. The quality and variety of foods prepared meant that this was no hardship for any of us.

Would we go again? - Definitely. In fact, several weeks after the trip and we still miss the teams of dogs, scenery, and also our wonderful hosts. If you like a bit of adventure but don't want to compromise on missing out on all your comforts and relaxation time, this is the perfect holiday for you. You are well equipped so that you are warm, well fed and made to feel as though you are part of a team and not just a paying guest.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Well_travelled_biker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2011

What a fantastic trip! if you are looking for something a bit different then look no further.

This is a family run business (Scottish guy with his Finnish wife and their two adorable girls), their passion for the dogs is plain to see, this is a real gem of a find. We were collected from the small airport at Kuusamo and transferred to the main lodge, a lovely wood built home in the middle of the forest around 45 minutes from the airport. The first full day is a practice 20km loop where you get the basics sorted, then it's a 4 day trip up the Russian border... you may fall off, you may not but I am sure that like us, you will have a massive grin on your face... we were lucky and got to see the Northern Lights too...

The dogs are amazing - you will fall in love with them. They are so friendly and clearly they live for pulling sleds. You can get as stuck in as you want, we wanted to do everything so we fed the dogs, we cut an ice hole for water, we made the fire and prepared the sauna, we chained the dogs up, attached them to the sleds, cleared up their poo and put their harnesses on.

Accomodation: The main base is lovely - tucked away in the deep forest with no neighbours - the dogs are enough company. The home is lovely and warm, the sauna is fantastic and the food is sublime. The two lodges we stayed at were better than we expected, the first one has no electricity but candles, head torches and a roaring fire light this small but comfortable lodge, the second lodge was part of a family run business and is a chance to recharge the cameras, ipods and they even have a bar...

Expect and pack for the cold, it hit -28 for us... but it was fine as we were prepared...

and as for the food.... lovely!

If you are looking for an active holiday, something a bit different then contact these guys...

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank the_travelling_Brit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2006

The Border Inn is the place to go if you want great company, terrific food, fantastic surroundings and the absolute joy of dog-sledding. The place is run by Phillip Ross, helped admirably by his wife and brother, who make sure that you have everything you need for the best adventure ever! At the end of one of Phillip's dog-sledding weeks you will have eaten a lot, drank a lot, laughed even more, marvelled at the beauty of the countryside and most of all you will have fallen head-over-heels in love with every single one of his 50 something dogs. I guarantee that you will miss these creatures above all else when you reluctantly return home. Check out his website ------- if you are contemplating a dog-sledding trip. I simply cannot recommend this place highly enough.

13  Thank Sallyfix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Border Inn

Address: Sammakko-Ahontie 7, Kuusamo 93700, Finland
Region: Finland > Northern Ostrobothnia > Kuusamo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 15 Speciality Lodging in Kuusamo
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Border Inn is a luxurious dog sledding lodge located in the wilderness of northern Finland and situated 2km from the Russian border.At The Border Inn we specialise in week long Husky Safaris which are run along the Finnish-Russian border.We also offer snow machine tours, ice fishing and a variety of other winter programmes. ... more   less 

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