Star Arctic Hotel opened on the 7th December, originally as a 5* hotel. After experiencing a few teething problems, the hotel decided to drop a star – an excellent decision in my view. With gorgeous views of the Lappish landscape, warm, cosy cabins and charming service, the hotel is at the very top of the 4* bracket.
The hotel is a 5-minute drive/20-minute walk from resort village of Saariselka, where you can book a whole variety of winter and summer experiences, from husky sledding to cross country skiing.
Finnish Lapland is arguably one of Europe’s most romantic spot, and the Star Arctic Hotel is ideally suited to couples.
The hotel is also a great place for groups, with plenty of room in the restaurant for larger tables.
There are 40 cabins to choose from, all of which are spotlessly clean with heated floors and comfy beds that you just sink in to.
As well as the standard suites, there are eight glass cabins and two cabins with personal saunas. Due to popularity, the hotel is planning to build additional suites with saunas later this year. All rooms have geothermal heating systems – a much greener way to keep you warm.
The standard suites have two floors, with a rather steep set of wooden steps leading to the bedroom. Much of the cabin is made with glass so you can huddle up in the warmth while gazing at beautiful sunsets. Each cabin also has a flat screen TV and sofa bed which can fit up to two children.
The ensuite bathroom is stocked with a few basic bath products such as soap and shower gel. The shower is satisfyingly hot and powerful: an absolute godsend after spending the day in temperatures of sub -15°C.
The reception and restaurant are located in a beautifully designed open area with huge glass windows. There’s also a cosy seating area next to the reception where you can warm yourself by a roaring fire.
The hotel also has a small but functional gym and two saunas. Both saunas must be booked in advance (by the hour) and are equipped with their own private dressing room, rest area, WC and shower facilities. You can also help yourself to a range of bath products, towels and dressing gowns. The only thing that was missing was a water machine.
The larger sauna, which can fit six people, also has a viewing window that overlooks the vast countryside.
Food and drink
In the evenings you can choose from the à la carte menu or the buffet, which serves a variety of local and international dishes. We were impressed by the quality of the buffet and the excellent choice of salads.
For breakfast, there is a mix of hot and cold dishes including smoked fish, delicious fresh spelt bread and runny soft-boiled eggs. There is also some very good granola with fresh fruit to fortify you for your daily activities in the cold.
Is WiFi available
Yes, WiFi is reliable throughout the hotel and free of charge.
A standard suite starts from €336 per night, based on two sharing.
Inghams offers seven nights on half board (including daily hot buffet breakfast and evening buffet) in a standard suite at Star Arctic Hotel from £1,519 per person based on two sharing in February or March 2019. Price includes airport transfers and return direct flights from Bristol, Manchester and London Gatwick.
During the winter, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Try your hand at snowshoeing, search for the Northern Lights on a snowmobile, learn about the Sami people and experience reindeer sledging. In the summer, go on a nature trek or ride a mountain bike across rugged terrain. Just ask the hotel for more information.
Dare each other to ride sleds down the hill towards Saariselka and stay up late in the hope of spotting the Northern Lights.
Ivalo Airport is just a 25-minute drive to Saariselka and Star Arctic Hotel and arrange for you to get a taxi or shuttle bus.
Finnair offer direct flights from London Gatwick to Ivalo during the winter season (ending 22 March).