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“Loved the reindeer sleigh ride”

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Holiday Club Saariselka
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Brisbane, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Loved the reindeer sleigh ride”
Reviewed 13 January 2009

The location and activities provided were great - we had a great day out on a reindeer sleigh ride and were impressed with the majestic scenery and beauty - sky was pale pink and blue - snow covered trees and country, quiet and peaceful - just perfect. All with our individual sleighs and reindeers. We were well rugged up with extra clothes provided by the tour company, so we didnt feel cold despite minus 10 degree temperatures. We were impressed with the length of the ride - about an hour and a half.
The pool and sauna area were very good - lots to do and left feeling thoroughly relaxed.
One warning - the gentle massages offered as part of the pampering treatments were not so gentle - as advertised in the brochure - would not have them again., as we were sore for a couple of days afterwards. The facial was good though.
Breakfasts had a good variety of food - the evening buffet not so crash hot - but meals in Rakka Ravintola alternative a la carte were much better
The hotel had lots of families with young children - and as 3 adults - parents and an adult child - the buffet dining area was often rather noisy - so after one attempt here then chose to dine elsewhere for the evenings
Overall we enjoyed the experience and will look back on it mainly for the location and the reindeer ride experience.

  • Liked — pool and spa area + locatio & activities
  • Disliked — massage - too painful
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank vagabondAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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UK
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 January 2009

We returned today after having booked a holiday with Lastminute.com / Inghams in Saariselka. We go on approximately 4-6 short breaks a year and this was the worst holiday we have ever experienced. The hotel is definately not 4 star like the advertisers lead you to believe. More like 3 at a push. We were given the impression that it was a luxury spa hotel which it is definately not. It has the feel of a public leisure centre. Earlier reviews on Tripadvisor are correct, the pool and jacuzzi are freezing, we'd rather eat in NHS hospitals than the dinner buffet, the rooms do not get cleaned AT ALL ! We were there 7 nights and after complaining twice about room cleaning managed to get fresh towels and our bed made (which by the way the duvets are way too small for).

The larger companies in Saariselka are money making ruthless machines. I fell ill for a snowmobile safari and Inghams refused point blank to offer any type of refund (this after giving the hard sell on every meeting). Then after going to Top Safari with whom it was booked, Top Safari offered me half of the money back. This just goes to show that the locals are in fact quite reasonable and I would strongly recommend having nothing to do with a tour rep etc.

Onto Saariselka itself, well the town, sorry the 6 or 7 buildings that they call this town is completely dead in January so don't bother. We visited every pub (only 3 pubs had more than 1 person in them) and every restaraunt (same) we were very disappointed. We ordered Reindeer at the Holiday Club Rakka restaraunt and were served a kind of heated, stale kebab meat on a bed of smash. After handing the dish back again no refund. This brings me onto the rediculuos price of food and alcohol. 3 quarters of a pint of beer costs 6 Euros (note they didn't serve beer on tap). Glass of red wine 6 Euros. Cup of coffee 6 Euros and a game of pool 1 Euro 50 which could explain why everywhere was dead.

On the good side the husky ride was fantastic and we really enjoyed our 1 hour trip. The toboggan run is a real laugh and you can build up some real speed and we had a great time racing each other down and the flights with Monarch were great too. And try the fillet Reindeer in Teraspaanen Pub or something like that because that is really nice (29 Euros though)

All in all, go somewhere else and don't bother with this tacky, falsely advertised, over priced rip off of a resort.

P.S the snowboarding / skiing here is terrible too unless you are a complete beginner so don't be fooled by the Saariselka skiing website.

  • Liked — It was better than sleeping outside
  • Disliked — Cleanliness, Internet in room didn't work, no where near 4 star
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank seanbr0wn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2009

The only disappointment with our holiday to Lapland was the Hotel. I am unsure how other people can rate this as 3 star - can only assume they do not have very high expectations. We paid nearly £4,000 for a 2 night stay on a Hotel that was barely 2 star. Yes it was clean. However, our room for a family of 4 was tiny - no room at all for all your ski suits etc. The sofa bed, which I had to sleep on with one of my children, was no more than a piece of foam - very small and very uncomfortable. Buffet dinner on first night was not good, looked like it had been laid out for hours - not very good choice for what we were paying, We chose to eat in the Hotel's other restuarant which although cost us over £140 euros was worth it. The gala dinner was much better. However I am unsure how they price this when the accomodation was so poor.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — Quality
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Wendy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2009

Booked a 2 night/3 day trip to Saariselka in December 2008 with Santatrips for myself, my wife, and our two children aged 5 and 8. Impressions of the trip were very mixed indeed. Saariselka itself is lovelly with plenty of snow for the kids, and toboganing to die for.

However, the trip itself had a very "holiday camp/Butlins" type feel - basic accomodation, VERY basic food, and red-coat type entertainment/hosting by the Esprit staff. This was all well and good, and if it was what we had paid for and what we were expecting we would have been more than happy. However, this was a VERY expensive trip, costing over £2000 to just 2 nights away, and from the advertising/marketing material we were led to believe it was a premium package in a premium location with a focus on a magical trip to visit Santa - but this is most definitely not what we received.

As for the day of Santa related events, these were also a little disapointing. We were bussed off to the woods for the day, where there were a number of activities. In themselves these were fine but not enough to really fill up the day which did get a bit repetitive after a few hours. What really left a bad taste in our mouths though was that the main activities (sleigh ride and Husky ride) were actually just "tasters" - a single 20 minute husky ride, with quite a hard sell to get people to pay extortionate prices for the full package (for instance 'full' husky ride would have cost an additional 180 Euros per person if we had decided to take it up - so an extra 720 Euros!!!!!) - so a real disapointment given how much we had already paid out, and the high expectations we went along with. Very poor show indeed, so watch our for this gotcha and the bad taste it wil leave you with!

Given this was primarily a trip to visit Father Christmas, I would say that this was probably one of the most disapointing aspests of the trip. The Esprit staff made very little of the Santa visit for almost the entire trip, and the actual visit to see Santa was really just a shed in the woods for a few minutes, with a guy with an unrealistic beard and a poor command of English. Given this was the main purpose of the entire trip, it would have been far better if the staff had concentrated their time and efforts on trying to make the trip as magical as possible for the young children instead of trying to flog extra excursions or insisting on repeated karaoke style Carol singing on the bus trips/meals. An opportunity missed, and I'm sure a lot of rather disapointend/disillusioned children as a result, so beware.

All in all, we enjoyed the non-organised activities a great deal - the village itself is lovelly and the local toboganining etc is great. However the organised parts of the trip were really cheesy and certainly not what one would expect for the price paid and not at all as advertised. The hotel is clean and tidy, but don't expect gourmet food, as its really basic buffet style fare, which isn't very good, and certainly isn't ideal if you have picky children, as its all very plain and stodgy with little choice and no children's menu at all.

If you are looking for a trip to Lapland to visit Santa, I would avoid this one and look elsewhere unless a highly organised holiday-camp type trip is what you are after, and your kids have already stopped believing in Father Christmas. But even then its defiteily very poor value for money.

A real shame, as we went on the trip really hoping to have a great time, and despite our best efforts to try and ignore the trip's failings, we couldn't help but feel cheated, and disapointed in the lack of focus on the children.

  • Liked — Excellend location - Saariselka is lovelly
  • Disliked — Food is terrible - and organised Santa related events disapointing
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank DaveSut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Sussex
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2009

We as Grandparents took our 4.8 year old Granddaughter on a magical 4 day holiday to see Father Christmas in Lapland booked through Esprit. Flight good except BMI did nothing on the flight to make it magical for the children like all the other airlines had done. Met at Ivalo airport by reindeer and then very quickly through the terminal to our waiting coaches. The Esprit reps were great and we sang Christmas songs for the half-hour journey which included a stop for our thermal suits - which were absolutely fantastically warm.

Our room was clean, very warm and welcoming for the 3 of us and the hot drying cupboard in the bathroom was a superb bonus with lots of white fluffy towels. Towelling robes were supplied for the pool so need to take towels with you from home. There was tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer, fridge, which thank goodness was empty and not full of expensive alcoholic drinksThe swimming pool,although a little on the chilly side, was great with slide, wave machine, etc.

We bought two small glasses of red wine which cost £14 which although most people would find expensive, was not over the top for a Scandanavian country. This was the only extra money we spent during our 4 day stay as the hotel supplied breakfast and dinner with lots of juices and lunch was taken in a restaurant we were taken to by Esprit each day and the food was excellent.

The food in the hotel was not great but having lived in Scandanavia for a while we would not have expected anything better than we had. There was always a good choice so both adults and children were happy.

It was great being so far North of the Arctic Circle in a small and pretty village instead of the larger places further South.

The whole holiday was excellent and would recommend it to anyone but just remember you are in a very expensive Scandanavian country with plain food and very few fresh veg or fruit.

  • Liked — child friendly
  • Disliked — Food
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Bubbee2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bolton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2009

We went to Lapland on the 10th of Dec for 3days. From the second we arrived it was a wonderfull experience. Reindeer at the plane and Elves on the luggage convayabelt the children loved every second of it.

We booked with Esprite and the staff at the resort were brilliant. We had an appartment and didnt actually stay in the hotel and it was !st CLASS. 2 bedrooms, fold out sofa bed, in the longe/dinning/kitchen area, flat screen TV, CD player, alarm clock,log fire and logs, washing machine and washing powder, dish washer, fridge, cooker...the bathroom was lovely, walk in shower and private sauna, drying room for our clothes...incredable. I heard a few people complaining about the hotel rooms so I was Soooo glad we booked an appartment, bit of a nuicence when you had your body suit on to walk to the hotel for food but worth it. We didnt find time to use the pool, which looked nice but smaller than I expected.

We all thought the food was good, some strange things (salad bar at breakfast) but there was always plenty to choose from so everyone should be able to find something they like. My children became addicted to the waffles once they found the waffle maker!! and on the last day a packed lunch is provided to take with you to the airport. If you buy food, drinks or gifts they are expensive so be prepared.
The trips were really well organised and everything was perfect. The clothes they provide are really good, but it got down to -26 one evening so you definatley need layers, there were small children crying with the cold on the day we meet Santa.

We took thermal underwear, and then tracki pants, fleece top and fleece jackets, silk socks and gloves and then thermal socks and gloves and hats, we were advised to get mainly polyester and baggyish stuff nothing to tight because the air needs to circulate to keep you warm, and I must admit we didnt feel the cold, and I did hear some people saying it was freezing. We were provided with woolen outer socks, leather outer mittens, hats, boots, and all in one suits. Dont worry everyone there is wearing exactly the same.

We went in search of the Northern lights on snow mobile one evening (it was the night it was -26 but we didnt see them, still worth going for the chance to drive a snowmobile), and we put and extra layer on the children and when we were fitted for helmets, they gave us balaclavas,and wrapped scarves right round the childrens faces to stop wind burn, they really looked after you.

On the activaty day we did everything, it was so magical, we went sledging, ice fishing, made an ice sculpture, ice hockey, tandum skiing, meet a Sami reindeer handler, the children had a go on snow mobiles, my husband drove a husky sleigh and we sat in it, we went on a reindeer ride...and then went on a sleigh ride to meet Santa, the man driving us was brilliant the children were so excited, and he was really building the sceane for them, by the time we found the wooden house where Santa lives they were giddy, an Elf pinched my hat and took us inside and Santa was just what you always dreamed of as a child, he was sat in a rocking chair holding my two daughters letters, he knew there names, it was perfect, and the present was lovely too.

It was definatley the best thing we have ever done for them. They are aged 5 and 7 and I think that the ages were perfect. There was a lady there with a baby and she had spent a fortune on hand and feet warmers and they litle boy was still crying with the cold and she had to keep taking him in to warm him up, and she said it took her 30 mins to change his nappy beacause of all the layers he had on. This year has been the best Christmas we have ever had because of Lapland and he children beening so excited about it all.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 1ParisBolton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrogate
Level 6 Contributor
357 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2008

We fancied a family holiday in Lapland that had something for us all (me, my wife, our 12 yo son & 7 yo daughter).
We were advised by some friends to go with Inghams on a ski holiday rather than on one of the many 'Santa type' holidays available.
We settled on the Holiday Club as it was rated as being suitable for families and non-skiers (so there would be something to keep us non-skiers occupied), it had a pool and spa complex and it was as far North into the Arctic Circle as Inghams went.

We flew from Manchester into Kittila airport where we met Lorna (one of our Inghams reps) who was lovely, then there was a three hour coach trip to Saariselka and as much as we all loved the scenery once you've seen one snow laden fir tree...
Even though it was still only just after midday local time, the further North we got the darker it got, which was weird

The hotel is really central and looked bright and welcoming, the reception staff were dead friendly and we were booked in quickly.
Our room was basic and clean; it had two single beds, a double bed settee and a great wet room with a heated floor and a towel drier (we found this really handy for drying our swim wear).
The room did seem rather small when all four of us were getting our snow kit on at the same time, but overall we were happy with the room and facilities.

Breakfast and dinner were a buffet affair which our children thought was really cool.
For breakfast there was a great choice: juices, tea, coffee, cereals, fruit, berries, yogurt, hot dishes, cold meat & cheese, toast etc. or you could make your own waffles!
For dinner there was always a good selection of meat, fish and veg or salad.
Before we went I had read that some people felt the food was dull but we thought it was fine with a good selection of hot, fresh dishes to choose from.
There was a children's area with a TV and ball pool at one end of the dining room so our children could have a play in this whilst we finished our dinner.
We made sure we could see what they were up to all the time but there seemed to be some parents who just dumped their children and let them do exactly what they wanted, this resulted in a load of screaming, shouting and needless noise coming from this area so the next day we sat a bit further away so we could hear each other speak...
Alcohol was rather pricey but we knew this before going so were not too shocked at the price of a round...

The pool complex was amazing; there was a jacuzzi, a hot bath (basically a jacuzzi with no bubbles), a waterfall, a slide, water jets to swim against, various water jets in the floor and a really warm children's pool.
Every hour they turned a wave machine on for a few minutes which we all enjoyed immensely.
You could also make use of the 'family' steamroom and 'family' sauna as there was an entrance from both the ladies & men's changing rooms. There was a 'no clothing' rule that you had to adhere to but the hotel did provide small plastic sauna mats so you could enjoy the sauna without getting a burnt gluteus maximus.
The hotel had also provided us with bathrobes in our room so we used these to walk down to the pool and back to the room again afterwards.
The whole pool, changing & showering area was amazingly clean and well laid out.

The hotel also had a spa and a shop which had basic stuff and seemed quite pricey for toiletries etc but quite reasonable for local gifts.

Inghams arranged our thermal suits and boots, which we had pre-booked, and also offered a really good range of trips which you could also pre-book.
We did snow-mobile safari, reindeer trip, husky sledge trip and Santa Clauses secret village (where you could also sledge, ski & snow-shoe).
Being able to book these trips & including them with the overall holiday price was a good option as it saved paying more locally.

For our last night Inghams had organised a Christmas dinner with Santa Claus at a neighbouring hotel: this was a fantastic evening and was a good chance to catch up with the other holiday makers that we had met during the week.
Santa turned up after dinner to see all the children, which they thought was brilliant, and it was the same Santa that we had met the day before at his secret village so he genuinely seemed to remember the children, which was a really nice touch.

Overall it was an amazing holiday: our Inghams reps were really clued up on the area, the hotel was brilliant, the trips were fabulous and Saariselka was a truly magical place.
We are already considering getting an early booking in for December 2009...

  • Liked — Pool
  • Disliked — Rooms on the small side for 2 adults & 2 children
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Jonny-Northerner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Holiday Club Saariselka

Property: Holiday Club Saariselka
Address: Saariselaentie 7, Saariselka 99830, Finland
Region: Finland > Lapland > Saariselka
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Saariselka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Club Saariselka 3*
Number of rooms: 139
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Holiday Club Saariselka Hotel Saariselka
Holiday Hotel Saariselka
Saariselka Holiday Hotel
Holiday Club Saariselka Finland - Lapland

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