Honeymoon in Kakslauttanen Arctic Igloo Resort | Lapland, Finland

I had it all in my head, wedding in Hawaii, honeymoon in French Polynesian islands... all not until 2019. Except we've had a change of plans, and life doesn't always go according to plan. You can read about how I planned my wedding within 3 months in Kyoto here

Because the wedding was in Kyoto, it would be such a pain in the ass to fly to the South Pacific, comparatively to a starting point in Hawaii. I looked at several other options, narrowed it down to Mauritius and Lapland. I even looked at the famous Giraffe manor in Kenya, but there was no way in hell I'd squeeze in a reservation with 3 months' notice.  

At the end, we choose the unconventional, winter Honeymoon in Lapland. Mainly because the travel time is easier.

8 Important things to know about Lapland and Kakslauttanen
Lapland is the home of Santa Clause, where it snows, Aurora covers the sky, and in winter it is dark 24hrs a day. But seeing the Aurora is tricky. Kakslauttanen resort is the original creator of the glass Igloo rooms where you don't need to wait in the cold and watch the aurora in the cold. They have around 200 large and small glass igloos so you have a good chance for a reservation even if last minute. 

1. Best time for Snow and Aurora: Nov – Feb

2. Best app for Aurora tracker is called “Aurora” which I'll talk about later. There’s also an aurora alarm inside the rooms at Kakslauttanen

3. Types of accommodation: Small Igloo (2 pax, only a toilet in room, public showers and saunas are available in another location) Kelo Igloo (4pax, has a shower in room).

4. There is a West village and East village, it is shown on your confirmation in the form of Room W-Igloo or E-Igloo. West village is the larger one where all of the activities and dining options are at. If using a taxi from the airport, be sure to state which village you are staying at.

5. Shower and Sauna free to use for all guests. (But bring your own shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Hairdryers and large towels are available)

6. Tip: stop by the supermarket just 10 minutes away from the resort to stock up on food. The only food option is the restaurant, and there isn’t much in terms of snacks and drinks to buy at their restaurant checkout counter. I'd personally recommend to get bottled water, beef jerky, some bananas/grapes, milk (which you can put just outside your doorstep as there's no fridge in the small igloos), and cookies such as oreos.

7. Animals in the resort: one female pet cat who’s black with white paws (you can find her inside the shower/sauna hut, at the check-in desk, or wandering around the horse stables), 100+ huskies, around 20 reindeer and horses. They say they have sheep but I didn’t see any.

8. Book your activities after you arrive or 1 day before by contacting the front desk. (Activities are also very pricey, chart included in the activities section below)

Getting there
First you have to get yourself to Helsinki. Finnair is a very good option for flights, and there are plenty of direct flights from Asia. The only thing is, if you want to fly Business class, Finnair is very expensive, and often not as comfortable as other airlines. 

We flew with Qatar on the Business Class suites and it was amazing. Travel time was maybe 3 hrs longer, but worth the comfort and prices were 30-40% less than Finnair.

After Helsinki, the only option is to fly Finnair from Helsinki to Ivalo, which is a short 1.5hr flight.

From Ivalo airport to the Resort: 30 min you can choose by bus or taxi. The bus provided by the resort is
€30 per person, and by taxi you are looking at €70. So if you are not traveling alone, a taxi is a good option for comfort, convenience, and efficiency (and also to stop by the supermarket).

Flying on Qatar Business Class Q-Suite

This is hands down the most comfortable Business Class seat I've flown on. And I've flown Business with Eva Air, Cathay Pacific, JAL, China Eastern, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, and British Airways. 

Qatar is known for their Business Class Suites. It's not just that it turns into a double bed for 2, Qatar Business class also has the most fluffiest blanket. They also offer comfortable Pajamas, slippers, and a really good toiletries set (toothbrush set, socks, face mist, moisturizing cream, lip balm, and ear plugs.)

The meal options were also great, with several starters, mains, and deserts to choose from in an A la carte form. Also because the cabin crew found out from the check-in desk that it's our honeymoon trip, they prepared a special cake for us just prior to landing. Qatar just provides such great customer service, attention to detail, and high quality and comfort to a flight. The long haul did not feel long at all. 

More About Kakslauttanen Resort

Below you see a map you receive upon check in. The main road into the resort starts on the bottom left. So driving in you will see the Planetarium (opening in 2019), museum, and observatory on the right hand side. Then you make a turn into the wooden houses (no see through igloos) and arrive at the reception desk/restaurant which is the green building circled in orange. 

Bottom left of the map you see rows of glass igloos, these are the original small igloos for 2 pax. To the right of it is another green building which are the public showers and sauna. Men and women are separate but connected in the middle is a public area. 

The Kelo Igloos, or the larger wooden houses with an Igloo extension which fits 4 pax are towards the top left of the map. 

I've also circled 2 items on the map, one is the Tepee on the bottom, to the right of that are the horse stables. You can go visit them freely anytime. Towards the top right of the map is the Reindeer farm. Again you can visit freely, however if you want to feed them you need to sign up for an activity. 

Though they have husky farms, you cannot visit them freely. To see the Huskies, you need to book an activity as well. 

There are 2 lakes in the resort on the middle of the map. The smaller one makes for a great photo opportunity. 

Wifi is available in the rooms and reception/restaurant area and have great connectivity. 

What kind of activities and costs?
These are the activities I booked while there to give you an idea of how much it costs. Pretty pricey, but you don't really have a choice. 

  • Sightseeing (the only way to feed the reindeer) €68 per adult
  • Visit Husky farm and meet the puppies €47 per adult
Open the images below in a new browser window to zoom in for the prices. 

The activities on the day of are also shown on the screen at reception including who else is joining from which Igloo number and at what time. If you are the first to book the activity, you get to dictate the start time. 

Remember that sunrise and sunset can be odd up in Lapland. When we were there in Mid-November it was sunrise at 10am and sunset at 2pm. Some idiot genius decided to book the Husky farm and puppy visit at 3pm so it was dark and very difficult to take photos. But there's no choice if someone else already picked the starting time. 

What’s at the restaurant?
There is only 1 restaurant on the resort which serves food, so you don't have options.

Breakfast buffet is included in the room charge and served from 8am – 11am: salad, various hams and smoked fish, scrambled eggs/sausages/hashbrowns, toast, cereal, fresh fruits (oranges and apples), assorted nuts, coffee, tea, juice etc.

Lunch options: (around 16 for soup buffet), or A La Carte if you prefer sandwiches, salad, nuggets, or fries. You can also purchase beer, different sodas, wine to go with. 

Dinner options: You must book dinner at the reception desk in advance for 7pm, 8pm, or 9pm. Set dinner menu usually at 36 which includes an appetizer (soup), a main (beef/chicken/reindeer), and dessert (chocolate lava cake, blueberry pudding etc). A La Carte is also available, for starters they have a salad, Vegetarian and meat soup options. For mains there’s beef, pork, reindeer cooked different ways with sides of potatoes or steamed veggies. And for dessert there’s different types of cakes.

The Aurora App

This is a free app which shows you the current location of aurora activity as well as the forecast based on your geo location. The forecast will tell you visibility %, cloud coverage (the lower the better), and KP which is the measurement of Aurora strength. 

All in all, you can't wish for snow AND the aurora. Snow means clouds, and clouds mean you can't see the aurora. 


The Showers and Sauna
I took some photos of what the public showers look like. I believe they are identical on the female and male side. When you walk in there is a pubic area for you to hang your coat and leave your bag at (no locked storage, but the resort is very safe.) There will be a pile of fresh large towels for you to use on one of the benches, and 2 hair dryers on the wall. 

To the right is a hallway that leads to the shower rooms on the left and straight ahead the sauna room. There are 4 cubicles x 2 rows on each side of shower rooms. The water is heated very well, but they do not have any shampoo, conditioner, or shower gel etc. You need to bring your own. 


The Sauna room is relatively large as seen below:

Good places to take photos
Though the activities are expensive, guess what, photos are free! You can wander around and take photos all day long (if daylight permits).

1) Inside and outside the small glass igloos


2) By the small lake in the middle of the resort 

3) Reindeer farm (you don't need to book an activity to see the Reindeer)

4) Borrow a sled in front of reception for a photo

5) Husky farm visit with puppies (This you do need to book an activity and pay to get in)

Unfortunately we did not catch the aurora. It was cloudy the whole time we were there. But we got some snow! (Despite the first-time-in-60-years record breaking drought Lapland was freaking out about. Even the immigrations officer apologized to me about it.) But that leaves an excuse to go to travel again, maybe Iceland (great coverage) or Canada/Alaska. 

Stop over in Helsinki
Because the flight from Ivalo to Helsinki didn't connect well to our international Qatar flight, we stayed in Helsinki for a night. 

Hotel St.George is a gem. It is a part of design hotels under the SPG group, and one of the best designed hotels I've seen in the range. It's nice and modern, but with a hint of luxury. The best thing about it are the heated tile bathroom floors, you cannot not have that in winter. 

Top floor rooms also have their own balconies that looks over to the park down below. Breakfast is at level 0 which has a really great kitchen for any cooked food you may want to have. 

As for the city itself, I was not very impressed. Maybe this is the curse of having been too many places. Helsinki was a bit to bland for me, with not much variety or personality. You see all the big international brands and malls everywhere. Though there are a ton of museums, they cost you an arm and leg to visit, and mostly showcase the same stuff - modern art. 

We also stopped by the Christmas market which is very underwhelming if you've been to any Christmas markets in the UK, Germany, or Czech Republic. I was expecting hot malt wine, baked goods, Christmas trinkets to shop for. Instead there was a lot of really random stuff like country flags, generic looking hats/mittens/gloves/scarves etc. 

Oh, and the outdoor public ice-rink wasn't opened yet, until December... the ones in London and Amsterdam were opened already so I was disappointed to say the least arriving to a slab of concrete. 

I'm glad we choose only to stay one night (arriving at 7pm, leaving the next day at 8pm), even that amount of time was too much for us. 

Ateneum Museum €16 to visit: 

This had a wider range of art, not just modern/abstract. There were pencil art, oil pain, sculptures, portraits.. etc I'd say it's the one most worth it, but again, at a steep price. 

This is a large bookstore by Starbucks in city center that we wandered into called Academic Bookstore. It's a good place to kill time and they do have a wide range of English books. 

At the end of the day, both my husband and I have travelled way too much around the world, so perhaps we're just spoiled brats. It wasn't the most impressive holiday, considering in the likes of Christmas in Hallstatt, or waking up to a sky full of hot air balloons in Cappadocia. But you know what the most important thing is? To enjoy the company you're with. And also you really need a week to recover from the wedding. So a holiday where you do basically nothing is best. 

Follow me on instagram @ariel.land for more travel photos

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