Cahkal Hotel: A luxurious hotel experience, 400 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle
By Ester Laiho | Photos: Cahkal Hotel
Cahkal Hotel in Kilpisjärvi, Finland offers an opulent hotel experience with views of mountains and tundra. Cahkal opened its doors just in time for midsummer last month and now attracts patrons with delicious, locally-sourced food and excursions into the Nordic wilderness.
Cahkal Hotel lies close to Tsahkal lake. Two streams descend from the lake, embracing the hotel from both sides. The therapeutic trickling of water can be heard from the sauna and restaurant terrace, bringing the outdoors right into the room. The hotel has floor-to-ceiling windows, offering a vista of the fell in changing seasons, that you can enjoy while relaxing indoors.
Cahkal Hotel is the labour of love of CEO Margit Eskonen and Chief Experience Officer Ville Eskonen. The couple have worked in the hospitality and tourism sector for years, and have now created a one-stop destination for travellers to appreciate views of the Arctic wilderness and first-class customer service, at a climate-conscious hotel. The hotel runs on 50 per cent renewable energy, with solar panels and geothermal energy installed on-site.
Margit is a born hostess and very hands-on – especially for a CEO: “I love creating a welcoming atmosphere. I’m sure you’ll see me making the beds in the rooms and setting the tables at the restaurant to make everything perfect for our visitors.” Her husband Ville has also provided his expertise in the restaurant and in designing experiences for guests. He considers himself incredibly fortunate to have been able to make his hobby his job: “I love spending time in the fell wilderness and have done so for all my life. I’m eager to show our guests the best ways to appreciate it.” While visiting, you can go fly fishing, adventure into the wilderness, or appreciate snow from November to April by going ski touring or snowshoeing. All activities are carried out with respect for the wilderness, without disturbing the local flora and fauna.
Ville has also guided the restaurant and its menu creation, and he and Margit promise seasonal dishes on the menu that they themselves would love to eat. Cahkal Hotel’s Aika Restaurant and Bar is a beautiful fusion of traditional and modern – in the décor and on the plate. The restaurant’s seasonal menu utilises local ingredients, including servings of fresh fish – Margit explains that Arctic whitefish and pike are best when fished from the Arctic – and berries from the surrounding landscape in the desserts and cocktails. The restaurant will help you start your day right with a big breakfast. After a day of discovering the wilderness, you can enjoy dinner there, too, and enjoy a nightcap by the fire at the bar.
Wilderness on your doorstep
The hotel is situated in the arm of Suomi-neito – The Finnish Maiden – the national personification of Finland, inspired by the shape of its borders. The location means you’ll also have views of the Norwegian mountains and Swedish fells. In fact, the closest airports are Tromsø in Norway and Kiruna in Sweden. To reach the hotel from Kiruna, you’ll also have the pleasure of driving up Käsivarrentie (Arm Road), to Revontulentie (Northern lights Road). It’s more than just a pretty name: during the autumn and winter, you will likely catch the bucket-list sight of the northern lights in the area.
After travelling to Cahkal Hotel, you can rest your head on a plush pillow in one of the hotel’s 23 rooms. There are five different room types to choose from, all offering uninterrupted private views. The Cahkal Suite is situated in a separate building, guaranteeing privacy while enjoying the private terrace and sauna.
The hotel’s flawless architectural design by Sigge Arkkitehdit, and interior design by Puroplan is also thanks to the vision of the Eskonen couple. The modern look is complemented with ample features: drying cabinets, air conditioning, soundproofing acoustics and blackout curtains, to ensure rest in the summer during the weeks of midnight sun.
Cahkal Hotel had its grand opening this midsummer. They welcomed their first guests, but also many locals – especially local business owners they will be collaborating with. The guests were stunned by what the couple had created – though Margit admits she had doubts that everything would be finished in time. “I had trust in the project and our team, but the grand opening snuck up on us! So, I was very pleased that we had everything ready to the last detail – from ironed tablecloths to fresh herbs and berries behind the bar.”
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