We left England for a family holiday in Finnish Lapland in mid-January. Celebrating a landmark birthday for the grandparents and a chance to introduce our three year old daughter to the Arctic, Hotel Korpikartano seemed like an obvious choice for three generations travelling together. Having visited only in the midnight sun months, I was keen to experience wilderness hotel Korpikartano during deepest winter.
Keeping an eye on the temperatures in northern Finland before we left made me a little nervous as the mercury was struggling to move above minus thirty degrees. Luckily by the time we arrived, the temperature was more like minus ten which seemed like less of an Arctic shock for the first timers – my parents and small daughter. I had carefully selected a wide range of adventures for all to enjoy at the hotel along with time to relax and experience a wonderful wilderness setting far from the commercial hotels that Finnish Lapland can also be known for. We weren’t disappointed.
From the moment we arrived at Ivalo Airport, we were greeted by Anne and her partner Timo who ensured that we had a comfortable stay and put my parents at ease from that moment on. This really was a different world to what my family were used to. It wasn’t just the temperatures, but also the deep snow and special Arctic light bereft of sun during the polar night.
We settled into our apartment room and enjoyed a late lunch before heading outside for some snow fun. The sleds at the edge of the path were waiting for us to grab and go and make use of the hill that descended down towards Lake Menesjarvi. The men amongst the group made the most spectacular descents and, of course, obligatory wipe outs in the snow when they lost control. My daughter enjoyed the sleds and even went down unaided a couple of times. It was a fun-filled start to the holiday and created some special memories. Anne and Timo once ran an activity company in nearby Inari before they bought Hotel Korpikartano in 2011. This really is a major part of the stay and they have a great way of organising the excursions and the equipment which is top quality. The overall suits, boots and various accessories really are some of the best standard I’ve seen.
Each guest receives a program on arrival of their pre-booked activities and timings which helped us to know what was happening and when. A nice laid back breakfast at 9am ensured that the day’s adventures were never rushed and there was also plenty of time for making our own adventures using the hotel’s equipment. The excellent guides (especially Sebastian) had an incredible ability to instil confidence in all of us to use the equipment whether or not he was with us. This led to an impromptu solitary circuit of Lake Menesjarvi in the dark by my husband who had a natural ability with cross-country skis as it turned out. In fact all of us were able to follow the well-groomed tracks around the lake even with no previous skiing experience. It was also a pleasure to see my daughter on skis for the first time and she was very proud of the progress she made with the help of our guide Sebastian.
Lake Menesjarvi is a beautiful setting for Hotel Korpikartano. It is also perfect for those who would like to try their hand at a few Arctic adventures but not pushing themselves to any extremes. The terrain is flat and the snow is good which lends itself to fantastic adventures whether you go alone or with a guide.
At the end of busy and adventurous days, the hotel is cosy and comforting. The rooms are clean and functional and of traditional Scandinavian design with wood panelling. The apartment rooms are well suited to family groups particularly those in the main hotel building. There are further rooms in the hotel’s second building just a few metres away.
The food served in the restaurant is buffet style, all freshly prepared using local ingredients where possible. We decided to share a special celebration meal together in Inari for which transfers were arranged to Hotel Kultahovi. The taster menu at Hotel Kultahovi was spectacular and the chef Heiki has reached new levels with his ideas influenced by new Nordic cuisine along with the fantastic ingredients of Lake Inari.
Returning to Hotel Korpikartano, our final evening was marked with a relaxing sauna and a nice display of the Northern Lights. Timo had provided some guidance about the Aurora during the evening before the guests moved outside to try to spot the wisps of colour in the night sky. At around 11pm we were rewarded and my parents were able to see the Northern Lights for the first time.
Hotel Korpikartano is a wonderful destination for families looking to spend their holiday in a quiet setting and amongst respectful guests and welcoming staff. Anne and Timo have created a truly magical place to stay and to enjoy the luxury of simple living and outdoor adventures.
Magnetic North Travel offers a range of winter and autumn family activity holidays at Hotel Korpikartano. Please view the link below: