Levin Iglut Golden Crown Igloos
From 4 glass igloos in 2008, to the 24 today – Levin Iglut is the creation of owner, Tauno Mäkelä. The igloos here are magnificent and very luxurious. Especially the Premium igloos perched on the front row of the fell with 180-degree panoramic views across the valley.
Staggeringly romantic too; a night like that under the Arctic sky with the Northern Lights in full dance mode. I wish! And great food at the Restaurant Aurora Sky – glass ceilings so you eat fabulous Lappish food and watch the Northern Lights. Which, ahem, have yet to make an appearance.
On our way south to Rovaniemi (just 20 minutes from the town’s airport) we make a pit stop at the extraordinary Octola Lodge. This luxurious Bond-like resort is the mastermind of Luxury Action CEO Janne Honkanen and the most exclusive five-star lodge in Finland. There are 10 ensuite bedrooms named after constellations and more than 300 hectares of private wilderness to discover. Enjoy outdoor treks, spa treatments, a jacuzzi and sauna. You’ll have your very own butler and the chance to see the Northern Lights with zero light pollution. The toys include fat-bikes and snowmobiles. And there’s even a private reindeer herding area. And judging by the food we were given, you’ll also dine on the very best meat and fish cuisine. Ideal for couples, families – and for musos there’s even a recording studio.
Arctic Light Hotel, Rovaniemi
The skies look as if they are about to clear – maybe tonight’s the night – but alas we are heading South to Rovaniemi and our base for the next two nights, the Arctic Light Hotel. Thoughtfully the hotel gives free access to the Northern Lights Alert app. I wonder if we’ll use it? My suite on the 4th floor is lovely – at least 50ft long – with a lounge area and a well-appointed bathroom. It’s also 2 seconds from the hotel sauna, which you book in advance at reception. Snow on the skylight roof makes me feel like a hibernating bear.. and indeed there’s a giant polar bear picture taking up the entire wall by the bath.
Rovaniemi – Lapland’s adventure capital
Rovaniemi lies directly on the Arctic Circle and is the main city in the area. As such it’s the base for winter activities (snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing, husky and reindeer rides, ice fishing, fat-biking, ice floating (!) and Northern Lights excursions. The rest of the year it’s action-packed too – hiking and biking and horse riding to name a few. And of course, as most children will know, Rovaniemi is home to the man with the beard himself – Santa Claus. We’re scheduled for a visit tomorrow, and I’m feeling a childlike excitement at the prospect.
Dinner tonight is at Restaurant Rakas at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel. We’re meeting CEO Ilkka Länkinen who like most of the Finns I’ve met here has a great sense of humour. The menu is delicious: plenty of fresh meat and fish options with a great wine list. I recommend the Bodegas Finca Resalso 2016. The cosy, nest-like Arctic TreeHouse Suites and Arctic GlassHouses with private sauna sit in their own tranquil location on a steep wooded hill slope adjacent the restaurant. If you need more space book a two-bedroom retreat. Each cabin has its own fireplace, sauna and kitchenette.
Arctic Snow Hotel and Glass Igloos, Rovaniemi
Lapland offers visitors such an extraordinary range of accommodation. The Arctic Snow Hotel and Glass Igloos in Rovaniemi a case in point. There are 39 glass igloos here, each with 360-degree glass roofs affording superb with of the Northern Lights. Thanks to underfloor heating and a heated glass roof you’ll be as cosy as if you were in a hotel room. There’s also a snow sauna here, an ice bar and restaurant and you can even sleep on a bed of snow and ice in the Snow Hotel if you’re feeling daring. Plus a warm indoors sleeping area if you chicken out at 1 am!
Arctic Snow Hotel also runs the amazing new Aurora eMotion – electric snowmobile ride.
A very well run outfit, we are given high-quality thermal jumpsuits, balaclavas, gloves, socks, scarves and helmets before taking a ride on the only electric snowmobiles in the world. This amazing Lapland trip is just one adrenaline rush after another and I’m excited to see the difference between a petrol engine and this electric version. As well as the obvious ecological benefits, there’s no juddery start when you switch on the ignition. Just pure silence and the machine remains stationary. The whoosh of skis on snow as we take off for our 2km ride along forest into wide open vistas by the lake as we reach our second fabulous destination for the day, Bearhill Husky Kennels. Once again I have my trusty co-driver Breanna with me as we hurtle along this pristine wilderness. Being outside every day in the landscape is food for my soul. I could stay here forever.