This is the legendary photo, one of the best known of not only the arctic resort Kakslauttanen but also Finland in general. Thanks to this picture many visitors from all over the world are coming to the resort.
I have to confess after my arrival I was a little bit disappointed that I was put in a log cabin and not in such an attractive glass igloo. But after all, I enjoyed my own space, my own sauna and my own fireplace…
The arctic resort is divided into two villages, the East and the West one, each one of them has its own glass igloos. With all sincerity, the igloos located next to each other in rows reminded me of a parking place where a convoy of spacecraft has just landed. After all, the aliens who had parked their flying saucers here also send encrypted messages to their home in the form of their secret dancing script in green colour for several months. It is called aurora borealis – the Northern Lights.
This photo and photo Nr 1 © Kakslauttanen
I was very happy when they told me at the reception that the last night I could stay in one of these igloos. It is even possible to order your stay like that: some nights in a log cabin and one night in an igloo (or the other way around). I still had my keys from the log cabin so I enjoyed my evening ritual with the fire in the fireplace and relax in the sauna. And it was good that I did it like that. The glass igloo is a very stunning object to stay but there is no sauna and even no shower inside! Only a tiny toilet with a very small basin.
Guests who stay in an igloo for two have to take a shower at a public shower/sauna house. The walk in the winter and in black darkness is not very pleasant. For me, it was enough when I moved from my cabin to the igloo at midnight. There was not a single soul far and wide, I could only hear a howling but I did not know who it was – wolves or just impatient huskies who wanted to run somewhere again? Again a strange feeling attacked me that neither in cabins nor igloos there was no phone in case of emergency. If I slipped whom could I call for help?
In the glass igloo for four people, there is a shower but the entire space is filled with four beds. Even the inside of the igloo for two is quite basic: a toilet, lamps and two beds. The beds are with a remote control to enable you to find the best Northern Light viewing position. But no chair, no table, no kettle for boiling water for tea.
Sleeping in a glass igloo must be an amazing experience if the Northern Lights are dancing above your head. But at the time I visited the resort the aliens had stopped sending their messages, there was no green show on the sky anymore. The best time of the year for aurora hunting is from September to April. According to ancient Sami beliefs, the Northern Lights were formed by a big arctic fox running over snowy fells making sparks by swishing its bushy tail on the snow. That is why they call it „Revontulet“ in Finnish – meaning foxfire. Although I could not see the Northern Lights nevertheless it was a strange feeling – to be lying under stars in the middle of the winter landscape. At least the sky was without clouds in contrast to the previous nights. What is more the sky on my right side was black like coal while on the left side light was still penetrating through the dark. I felt lonely, a diminutive point in the infinite universe…
My disappointment from the beginning disappeared. I was happy that I had slept in the log cabin the previous nights where you have more possibilities of how to spend long winter evenings. If I should choose I would like to stay in a combination of a log cabin and a glass igloo. It is called Kelo-Glass igloo which is a comfortable and spacious cabin with a glass igloo attached to it.
This type of accommodation must be very popular because they are building new ones. Heaps of logs of the special pine tree Kelo were waiting along the road.
Those people who do not like to spend any night in a glass igloo can visit this igloo bar.
While you are in Lapland going to the sauna is an essential part of your holiday. There is a private sauna in every log cabin, but there are also some of the very typical Finnish saunas in the resort. They are called “smoke saunas” and you will recognize them because they have turned black both from the outside and the inside. The smoke saunas are only available by special order because it takes at least six hours to heat them up. For understanding how this sauna works you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj94pxpAFOw
The Arctic Resort Kakslauttanen is an amazing and attractive place for your holiday. There are interesting types of accommodation there, the architecture and interior design are incredibly well detailed. They offer a variety of winter activities as well. However, some things surprised me. First of all the fact that during my stay I met only three Finns. I would be very much interested in the Sami people and their culture but there was nobody there to ask about. The staff came from abroad. Well, in the Austrian mountains you always meet our people from Slovakia who work there. I find it pretty normal both Austrians and Slovaks live in the same latitudes. The staff in Kakslauttanen comes from exotic countries like Thailand, India, the Philippines etc. And this is 200 km above the Arctic Circle! This was a shock for me. And what’s more, local people usually try to present their region or their country with their open hearts. This is what I was missing here.
I was disappointed by the breakfast as well. Finland is a land of berries, there are more than 50 different sorts. At the breakfast, they offered only classical strawberry jam. Although the salmon was delicious and tasted totally different than the salmon which you can find in our supermarkets, I think that not only me but especially guests who come here in the harsh winter would appreciate at least one warm dish better than herring salads. If you don’t do any activity and stay just home there is only soup lunch available in the restaurant. For 12 euros only. A soup!
I was also surprised that you have to pay a surplus for many services. Not only 9 euros for the transfer of your luggage (by the way, it takes about 15 – 20 minutes to get from the reception to the igloo). You have to pay also for a return transfer to Santas home and if you burn all the firewood which was prepared in a box before your arrival you can get additional wood for 13 euros. Renting thermal clothing and boots costs 19 euros per day. If you require daily cleaning or towel changes you are welcome – for 13 euros per person per day. Guests are encouraged not to arrange their own tours and activities, they have to reserve them through the reception but you have to pay a surplus of 20 euros for each transaction. I can survive without the internet but I was really astonished that there was no phone connection to the reception neither from cabins nor igloos. You never know what could happen. After my check-in, I received the key from a log cabin, pulled my luggage on the sledge, opened the door and was greeted with the leftovers from previous guests. Well, it can happen, but what now? To call the reception with my own mobile phone or walk back through the snow? (Of course, I walked back to the reception, they apologized and gave me a key from another cabin). I missed at least a small shop with foodstuff in the resort, especially with local products. I asked at the reception and they recommended me the nearest supermarket, 10 km away. The only way to get there was to take a taxi. One way – 25 euros “only”!
My stay in Lapland was drawing to an end. I found myself at the small airport in Ivalo again. I still had enough time until the departure so I made an excursion to small shops in the airport. You could buy typical Lappish blue and red caps, replicas of Sami shamanistic drums or reindeer meat in cans. There was also a variety of different jams which I was looking for in vain at the breakfast.
Suddenly I saw a stand full of plush animals. All the animals I met were there: squirrels, huskies, reindeer…
I could not believe my eyes. On the lowest shelf, a big white rabbit was dominating! Exactly in the same position, I saw him near the log cabin after my arrival to Kakslauttanen! But I did not buy him. I left him to allure other people to the wonderland. I myself was really looking forward to going home! 🙂