Rovaniementie 3222 E, 99830 Saariselkä, Finland
This post includes a review of our stay at Northern Lights Village, Saariselkä! For something special on our winter vacation in Lapland, we ended up staying at Northern Lights Village, in a cabin with glass roof. I always imagined staying in one of those igloos when I would visit Lapland. I found Northern lights Village as I was browsing hotels in Saariselkä, out of curiosity. We hadn’t planned to stay overnight in Saariselkä but I’m glad we did!
A map of Finland showing the location of the resort.
I booked the one -night stay at Northern Lights Village only 10 days before the stay. It cost about 180€ for a couple per night, the same as a hotel in Helsinki would be. It was surprisingly cheap compared to other ‘igloo’ hotels too. Maybe the post Xmas season and lack of tourists led to cheaper rates. We also came across several budget stays that were available such as Saariselkä Inn and Kuukkeli Inn but decided to pass those. For a fancier stay – Star Arctic Hotel on the ski hill at Kaunispää would be another option. They also have glass walled cabins and are located right on the slope of the fell.
A famous hotel in this area is the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – the kind of place I imagined staying at when I came to Lapland. But it seems like there are many hotels offering stay in a glass igloo now, and with similar or even better facilities, at a lower price. The cost of the glass igloo stay at Kakslauttanen could be upto 1000€ per night. I’m not sure if it’s great idea to spend all that much on one night when there’s options like Northern Lights Village. Also considering your chances of seeing the Auroras are the same.
Booking & Check-In
I booked the stay through Booking.com as I have been using it for years and get a small Genius discount on most bookings. It was a non-refundable but since we were pretty sure of getting there, we went for it.
There was only one type of accommodation you could book at Northern Lights Village Saariselkä – a chalet with glass roof called ‘Aurora Cabin’. The photos from the website were great but I didn’t want to have really high expectations.
Facilities & Services:
- Free parking
- Airport shuttle (from Ivalo Airport)
- Pets allowed
- Restaurant and Bar
- Breakfast included
- Tours and activities on site
- Shower/ bathroom in cabin
Website: Northern Lights Village Saariselkä
We arrived by car from Pyhätunturi, the place of our previous stay. It was a 2-hour drive and everything went smooth. It takes about 3-hours from Rovaniemi. Winter roads in Lapland are surprisingly well-maintained and wide. The Northern Lights Village is located by Saariselkä, a lovely little village in itself, in the Inari area – quite up north in Finland, nearer to the Norwegian border. You can go further to Inari town and Utsjoki which is actually on the border.
The entrance to the hotel area comes before the one google navigation suggest so look out for a signboard that says ‘Northern Lights Village’ to the left.
We got there around 6PM, it was dark and there were few people around. There was 1 staff at the check-in counter who gave us the key-card to the cabin and some general info. It was a quick check-in. We didn’t need to fill any form.
There is a restaurant and bar on site (in the same building as the reception). I think we heard wrong that the buffet ends at 8PM and then we can order à la carte. But it so happened that it closed by 8PM.. as we found out later.
The resort is very much like one of those camping villages you find around Europe. It reminded us of Camping Village Roma, where we stayed in Rome. The chalets or cabin are all arranged in rows, well spaced and facing a forest area. It wasn’t a large area, thankfully, and we got to our cabin easily by foot, which was located in the second last row. The cabins had automated front lights which switched-on as you walk near and switched-off after about 30 seconds. It was pretty dark and a good setting to view the northern lights.
The Aurora Cabin
Here we enter our room. It was warm! And spacious. I expected it to be tinier but there was plenty of space in front where you could keep our luggage and also a couch to lounge in.
The bathroom door is on the left and there is a modern-ish shower there along with Rituals toiletries. Note that this is after all, like a modern camping experience (glamping?) so there is limited hot water supply. It’s good to keep your showers 10-minute short.
The glass was covered by fresh snow so we tried out the laser/ infrared system which melts the snow. Press a button and it takes a few minutes for glass to clear completely. So you only need to worry about the clouds, the only thing which might stop you from seeing the Auroras. There’s a tablet fixed on the wall that shows some basic info, about tours and activities, aurora alerts. We didn’t find much use of it and couldn’t turn it off (the light was reflecting off the glass). I ended up covering it with some cloth.
Restaurant and Bar
We went to check out the dinner at 8PM and walked back to the reception building. It had closed. I don’t understand why they close the restaurant and bar so early when you have guests staying there. Where are they supposed to go?
So, we survived with snacks, mandarins, nuts, instant oats. There was a small kettle in the room for boiling water. There was also a minibar in the room, which was empty for some reason. Luckily, we had our own bottle of red wine. The first glass of wine I had this year, saved for this moment, very much needed!
Free-wifi worked well and we played songs from our phone, Leonard Cohen and such, and spent the rest of the night in. We kept the lights off mostly so that we could keep a look out for the northern lights. It was cloudy and snowy and even when the sky cleared a bit, we saw a few stars but no auroras. We had just seen the auroras the previous night, so it wasn’t all that disheartening.
I woke up a few times during the night spontaneously to look up. Sleeping under a glass roof is a nice experience, auroras or not.
Morning! Waking up with a good amount of daylight from the glass roof and looking at the snowy trees. We had a great sleep, the beds were super comfortable and cosy. Why can’t our beds at home ever feel this way?
We didn’t have to hurry as breakfast was until 10AM and check out was 12 noon which gave us a relaxing start and enough time to hang out in the cabin before we left.
I requested ‘vegan breakfast’ along with the booking and the resort responded that there would be vegan items for the breakfast. Which meant – oatmilk? Nothing was labelled so we didn’t take anything from the main buffet. There was no staff around to ask. But in the end, we went to ask and got a dessert, at least!
The resort offers on site guided activities. The common Lapland activities like Aurora trips, snowmobiling – good! We had no time for any this time.
Northern Lights Village Saariselkä
A short, sweet stay. Highly recommended for couples!