I stayed in the Gielas wing for a week having journeyed there from Heathrow - Helsinki - Ivalo and then a 30 minute bus transfer (10 euros). It took 8 hours (inc 2 hr time difference) so it was pretty easy and the flight cost about £300 return. The hotel was pretty good value with single occupancy for a double room at half board for £740.
The room was spacious with twin beds that could be pushed together and an L shaped sofa. The room had a decent amount of shelf & hanging space as well as an electric safe. A kettle with coffee, tea or hot chocolate that was replenished every day & small mini bar fridge. The room had a brilliant drying cupboard which was really good at trying off wet clothes. The bathroom had a good sized bathtub, nice marble sink surround with lots of shelf space for toiletries, a hair dryer and a sauna (that I never used). And they supplied relatively good sized towels which made a nice change! The flat screen TV had CNN and BBC World. There was a small balcony looking out towards the ski lopes and Kaunispafell (the top of the toboggan run). The room was quiet and I wasn't disturbed by other occupants (the doors closed quietly but be warned you should push them closed or they don't always lock). The room was plainly decorated and it would have been more cosy if there had been some photos or paintings to adorn the room but that's obviously a minor criticism!
Breakfast was buffet style with croissants, nice freshly baked breads (+toaster), cereals, yoghourt, a pile of mostly cold 5 minute and 10 minute boiled egg that were effectively very hard boiled most of the time! Smoked salmon & overcooked scrambled eggs. Dinner (if you were half board) was served in the main block 2 minutes walk away from 5.30-8pm. It became rather repetitive after a week with quite nice steamed salmon on several occasions. The recommendation is to arrive early before the food has suffered from being kept warm for several hours. The salad bar wasn't very exciting (lettuce, tuna) and the puddings (creamy chocolate mousse, cream cakes and pancakes). The restaurant in the Gielas building is very nice (but expensive - 30-40 euros for a main course).
There's a supermarket about 15 minutes walk away. Trips (husky sledging, snowmobiling, reindeer rides) can be booked through a couple of shops 2 minutes walk away from the hotel. They all seem to use the same end providers so there is little difference (if any) in price. The cheapest reindeer ride I could find for 2 hours was 95 euros and was the highlight of my trip. I did a 4 hour snowmobile trip to see the local countryside but the guide seemed intent on speeding along giving us little opportunity to appreciate the scenery. The husky safari was nice but the scenery was much less pretty than for the reindeer safari. Be warned I think most longer safaris are only longer because they include time for lunch so you're not actually getting longer doing the activity.
I had hoped to see the Northern Lights and thanks to a think blanket of cloud I was unsuccessful which was disappointing. The Aurora Walk which is about 10 minutes away from the hotel would probably be quite difficult to do at night because it involves two small steep hills (so be prepared to have shoes that grip!). Also, when you get there, it's not very high up & is still surrounded by trees which may obscure the view. Walking up the toboggan hill is the other option but takes about 20-25 minutes. There is a good view from the top for miles around (as well as an observation tower). Unfortunately the restaurant at the top closes at 5pm! It's possible to drive up there which would help. If I went again I think I would rent a cottage up at the top of the toboggan run which would make nipping out to observe the sky much easier (there's too much light pollution in town).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Santa's Hotel Tunturi, also known as Saariselka Tunturi Hotel, provides modern-style quality accommodation in Saariselka, Lapland. Hotel Tunturi has an international atmosphere and the restaurants offer Lappish delicacies. Hotel Tunturi has also modern conference facilities. About 100 meters from the main building with reception and three restaurants are six buildings of rooms and apartment suites. Hotel Tunturi has 96 standard hotel rooms, 77 superior hotel rooms, 6 junior suites, 1 Gielas suite and 80 apartment suites with one, two, three or five bedrooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Santa's Hotel Tunturi Saariselka, Finland - Lapland