Star Arctic Hotel: A top-class Arctic experience
Text: Mari Koskinen | Photos: Johannes Wilenius
P raised for its welcoming atmosphere, spectacular igloo-like cabins and excellent service, Star Arctic Hotel in Saariselkä, Lapland, is the perfect place for a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime holiday. The peace and calm of the surrounding Arctic wilderness help the guests to relax, and the breathtaking view from the top of the fell to the surrounding nature leaves a great impression on everyone.
Passion for Lapland is the driving force at Star Arctic Hotel. “Our guests come here from all over the world for an unforgettable holiday, like a honeymoon or anniversary,” says general manager Juha Muotka. “We meet them already at the airport and want to make sure to exceed their expectations from start to finish.” Muotka is originally from western Lapland himself, so truly the perfect guide for a tour around the hotel.
Star Arctic Hotel is located at the top of the Kaunispää fell, 270 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Here, the Nordic modern civilisation is perfectly integrated with Lapland’s own traditions and culture, which are surrounded by pure, untouched nature in a beautiful and unique Arctic landscape. The hotel was opened on 6 December 2017 – the same day Finland celebrated 100 years of independence. They were fully booked on the following day and have been busy ever since.
The location of the hotel is perfect: Saariselkä Ski Centre, as well as the newly built 1.2-kilometre-long sledding slope, are just a one-minute walk from the hotel, and there is direct access to the ski slopes from the hotel. Yet there is plenty of that peace and quiet that so many come looking for. “Here at the top of the Kaunispää, you get to enjoy spectacular views and a feeling of calmness and space,” Muotka smiles.
Aurora borealis, the northern lights, is on many people’s bucket lists, and here you can often experience this stunning phenomenon right at the hotel area. “If necessary, we arrange aurora hunts, where we take the guests to the best spots by cars, snow mobiles or huskies,” Muotka promises.
Everything in one place
“We have everything here that the guests need for a great Lapland experience,” Muotka continues. The hotel has 57 modern rooms, where wood is used to create a soft and cosy atmosphere. All rooms boast amazing views, and there are 15 exclusive Aurora Glass Cabins featuring innovative igloo-like glass roofs, allowing you to feel like you’re one with nature. The glass roof also provides the perfect opportunity for watching the aurora borealis from the comfort of your own room.
There is a top-level à la carte restaurant, offering modern cuisine with a Lappish flavour – the best Lapland has to offer. “We use nothing but the natural ingredients available to us, like fish from the nearby Lake Inari and reindeer directly from the local Sami farms,” Muotka explains. The menu changes regularly and offers seasonal highlights from the area. “Our wine list is updated frequently to complement the dishes,” Muotka adds. There is also an elegant bar offering a wide selection of wines, the most popular cocktails, and soft drinks.
“We have just opened our own Star Arctic Wilderness Center, an activity area surrounded by 12 hectares of pure, Arctic nature, where we organise our own husky and reindeer excursions,” says the general manager. “Our group sizes are small to guarantee the best experience for everyone.” There is also a private restaurant offering authentic Lappish dishes, prepared by the open fire in the middle of the restaurant.
The winter season runs until Easter. “All the bank holidays are big events for us, especially Christmas and New Year’s, and also the Chinese New Year and Easter,” says Muotka. “We want to make sure that the guests leave with hearts full of inspiration, and amazing experiences and memories. I feel grateful to be able to work in these unique surroundings and meet our guests and make sure that they have the best time here with us.”
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