Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos: Are They Worth the Money?

The day I slept at Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo
The day I slept at Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo

If you’re a fan of photography and travel, chances are that you have already seen the now-legendary photo of dozens of glass igloos lit up in the snowy landscape of Lapland. And hey, did you know these glass igloos are real and that you can actually sleep inside one of them?

This is the story of the day I slept in one of the legendary glass igloos of Kakslauttanen and the reason why I probably won’t be coming back there. Are you ice, ice, ready?

The day I slept at Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo
The day I slept at Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo

Our adventure starts when my friend Marysia and I were invited to spend three nights at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort by one of the managers of the place including all sorts of winter related activities as we hunted for the Northern Lights in the region of Lapland.

And yet, despite the growing number of negative reviews about Kakslauttanen’s customer service that I found on Trip Advisor, I went against my gut and decided to give it a chance.

“Come on, it cannot be that bad in person, right?”. Oh boy, was I wrong.

The Mexican-Polish Mafia Team
The Mexican-Polish Mafia Team

An overview of the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Kakslauttanen is located 10KM away from Saariselka and about 3 hours north of Rovaniemi, the central hub of Lapland (you can actually ask the bus driver to drop you off at the entrance of the East Village instead of going to Saariselka and then transferring).

The Arctic Resort is basically divided in two villages, the East (older one) and the West (newest one). Each one of them has their own glass igloos, wooden cabins, restaurant, reception and activities.

As soon as we arrived we were warmly greeted by the manager, got offered some hot drinks (later we found out that this is not the same treatment that regular customers get but more of that at the end of the article), and were then given a tour of the West Village as we were checked-in into the cabin where we would be spending our first two nights.

So far so good, right player?

The Christmas Magic of Kakslauttanen
The Christmas Magic of Kakslauttanen

The Cabins are huge (they can easily fit six to ten people) and well-equipped with a kitchen, sauna, shower and toilet. The problem? The nearest supermarket is 10KM away and the only way to get there is to pay for a 50 euro taxi and that’s probably why paying for dinner is mandatory for all guests of Kakslauttanen.

The dinner is a hit or miss depending on the chef in charge since the menu changes every day. Out of the three nights we stayed, two of them had a very lousy dinner while one was beyond amazing (Thai Chicken). They do, however, offer a great wine selection but more on that later.

So how about the activities themselves? I mean, people don’t come all this far to just sit in their cabins doing nothing, right? Well…

Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos during the day
Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos during the day

Kakslauttanen works with many local companies which offer an incredible customer service when it comes to tours. During our stay, the manager arranged a Husky and a Reindeer tour with Husky & Co. and Joiku Kotsamo Safaris.

Tours often include a lunch in the wilderness (the reindeer stew with Joiku Kotsamo and the Sami people was awesome!) which is perfect since Kakslauttanen itself lacks any proper lunch menu (the only one they have is basically a soup with a little bit of meat inside).

Be warned, however, that the price of these two tours can be lower if you contact the suppliers directly (expect to pay a surplus of at least 10-20 euros when booking via Kakslauttanen). However, as it is written in the fine print, guests are encouraged NOT to arrange their own tours since companies are strictly forbidden from picking up clients at Kakslauttanen itself.

Kind of bad form, uh?

A Reindeer ride with the Sami
The infamous Reindeer twerk

So how about the tours operated by Kakslauttanen itself? During our stay, I was invited to take part in a visit to Santa Claus’ House (yes, please stop laughing, Santa is real yo!) and even though it is advertised as a 90 minutes visit, the time we all spent with Santa Claus himself was probably close to 30 minutes in which each one of the other 30 visitors took a photo with a paid actor who probably secretly hated us all.

Afterwards, an elf took us all to visit the Reindeer farm and forgot (or perhaps wasn’t even instructed) to tell people to turn off their camera’s flashes off. I mean, who cares about Reindeer’s eyesight, right? Eventually we all headed to a small cabin where another elf explained how people burn paper in order to make a wish…or something.

Truth to be told, not even the children of the tour were happy with any of it. Priced at 90 euros per adult and 53 euros per children (plus an additional 6 euro transfer fee in case you’re staying at the East Village), this is probably the most intelligent travel scam ever (yes, even more so than the infamous Moroccan scams).

The Elves of Santa Claus at Kakslauttanen
The Elves of Santa Claus at Kakslauttanen

So how about the Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos? Are they worth the money?

For our third and last night, we were checked-in at our individual glass igloos (they’re so small inside that sharing is hard for a non-couple!) in the East Village. These are the original ones and are located in elegant rows unlike the ones of the West Village which are just right next to each other.

The inside of the glass igloos is quite basic (toilet, bed, lamps, luggage table) and you actually need to walk about 10 minutes in the pitch black darkness in order to find the showers. Walking to and from the reception/restaurant will take you closer to 20 minutes if you take it slow in order to avoid falling into the frozen lake.

And yes, you better might make that closer to 30 minutes if you’re carrying your luggage. Did I tell you that transfer from the reception to the glass igloos is not included?

The darkness of Kakslauttanen
The darkness of Kakslauttanen

Priced at 336 Euros single occupancy in the low season (if you’re a couple, each one has to pay 203 euros), the glass igloos of Kakslauttanen presents such an unique scenario that will probably be the main subject of many future Marketing case studies:

*5 star price (a three night stay for two will set you back at least 1200 euros plus another 1000 euros worth of activities/transportation).

*5 star product quality (seriously, the architecture and interior design of the entire place is incredibly well detailed)

*1 star customer service (scroll down to read all about the wine incident plus a detailed account of what to expect as a paying customer, there’s also no phone/wi-fi on the cabins/igloos in case of an emergency)

*1 star food quality (did I tell you about the fact that the buffet breakfast is poorer than those found in 10 euro hostels?)

My best advice? Stay in nearby Saariselka, go to the awesome expeditions of Husky & Co. and Joiku Kotsamo and then either rent a car or take a taxi to Kakslauttanen in order to take photos of the glass igloos at night. By the way, did I mention that reception closes off at 11pm and there’s no security at the premises?

Otherwise, you can go to the Ski Town of Levi and stay at the Golden Crown Glass Igloos which are bigger and scarcer (12 Igloos vs. 100 Igloos. Which one would make you feel more VIP?) plus they enjoy a more dramatic location on top of a fell from which you can look down to incredible wintery landscapes.

Food for thought, uh?

Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos at night
Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos at night

The number one reason why I won’t be coming back to Kakslauttanen

I come from a upbringing where a person’s word matters. My family always taught me that a person who backs out on his/her word is a person who is simply not worthy and during my four years of traveling the world, it was here at Kakslauttanen where I faced one of the most unpleasant experiences in my life: The day someone treated me as a thief.

Before our first dinner, the manager of the place had told us that all food and drinks were included and to enjoy the good selection of wines that they have to offer. There was no written contract, only her word and I was foolish enough to believe it.

During our second night, Marysia and I befriended two other travelers and we joined them for dinner. Long story short, we ended up ordering a few bottles on two separate accounts (one for us and one for them) and upon departure to continue the night at our cabins, we were told that the entirety of the drinks of said night (as oppose as only the ones that we had ordered for take-away and we were perfectly willing to pay for) would not be sponsored.

Of course, this was told to us after we already ordered and consumed two bottles of wine.

Santa Claus Cellebration House
Santa Claus Celebration House

The day of departure, I confronted the manager about it and she told me that she told a waitress to inform us of it before we even ordered the first bottle of the second night (spoiler alert: she didn’t).

In the end, it was her word against ours so I decided to pay fully for all of the bottles of the second night since I understood that it was probably something out of the manager’s hands and that her boss probably would charge her if I didn’t pay.

After all, she gave me her word but in the world of business, it seems a person’s word is not enough. I gotta admit that in the end she was kind of enough to propose that we only pay for half of the bill but to me it wasn’t about the money, it was about honesty and the fact that she was both lying while also backing off her word.

So want to know the worst part? My card didn’t work and we’re out of cash. Oh. Oh. The nearest ATM? 10KM away in Saariselka. “Alright, so Marysia and I will go to Saariselka, get the money and come back here to pay for the wine.” I told the manager. “How can I make sure you two will actually come back? Leave your computer here. You don’t want this to get ugly.” the manager coldly replied.

Is it just me or was the manager treating me as a common thief?

In order to avoid an argument, I left my computer behind as we hurried to the Saariselka to get the cash. Upon our return to pay, the manager tried her best to apologize but the veil was gone by then. Isn’t it funny how people’s fake smiles can easily disappear and their true personality emerge when money is involved?

Wooden decorations at Kakslautten
Wooden decorations at Kakslautten

What to expect at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort if you’re a paying customer

Granted, my experience was a little bit different since this was a sponsored experience (to future hotels: Please, do not treat us Bloggers as neither Rockstars nor as Beggars, we hate both of those situations, just treat us a paying customers) but even without the now infamous wine incident I would have still given a 1 star rating to the customer service of Kakslauttanen.

Here’s a recap of what to expect if you’re a paying customer. This is based on conversations I had with fellow travelers during my stay at Kakslauttanen and also on the documents that the manager sent me containing the prices of activities, accommodation and of course, the fine print of cancellation fees.

*No welcome hot drink. Want a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate? 2.5 euros per each one of them please. Want some teabags for your cabin’s kettle? Sorry, we cannot sell them to you! (Note: Marysia and I got them plus some snacks for our cabin but later we found out that paying customers don’t have access to this privilege).

*No help with heavy luggage. Come in, check-in, here’s your key, a map and your sled. Good luck finding your cabin/igloo in the middle of the cold night!!! Of course, there is a 9 Euro per person baggage handling fee in case you want someone to help you. Of course there is one…Even in Mexico’s dirtiest hostels you have someone helping with your luggage. For free. It’s just basic human decency.

*Not kettle inside the glass igloos. Considering the fact that you’ll probably be outside until late to take photos of the Northern Lights and that the reception/restaurant closes at 11pm, common sense would indicate that there would be a kettle inside the glass igloos to heat some water and keep you warm. But hey, common sense is not that common as it seems, homie.

*No Wi-Fi nor Phone in case of emergency. According to the manager, the owner has refused to install wi-fi inside the cabins and the glass igloos because he wants people to relax and disconnect from the outside world. But hey, how about emergencies? Not all travelers have a mobile phone with a valid SIM card, can you imagine if someone is having a heart attack and his companion has no means to contact anyone for help (which by the way should be done before 11pm because no one will help you afterwards anyways)? In this day and age, communication is essential even if only as an option.

*Isolation from places where you could spend your money more wisely. Installing a snack machine in each reception with ready to prepare food such as noodles is probably not hard (after all, there’s a reason why the cabins have a fully equipped kitchen, don’t you think?) but the mentality of the Arctic Resort is to squeeze every single penny from you so of course this is not an option. Want to shop for groceries to cook something? Take a 50 euro taxi! Want to book a cheaper tour with a local operator? Though luck since they are not allowed to pick you up from Kakslauttanen!

*Family emergency? Natural disaster? Sudden change of plans because of a motive out of your control? Then you’re definitely out of luck since Kakslauttanen’s cancellation policy is probably one of the most intelligent set-ups I have ever seen in my life. If you book and have to cancel more than 120 days in advance, you get only 70% of your money back. If you book and cancel within 61-120 days, you only get 50% of your money back. If you book and cancel within 60 days? You get nothing back. Sorry if your granny has passed away, bro. Business be business.

*Just general lack of interest in helping you if money is not involved. “Oh, did you forget your winter gloves at the ski changing room? Sorry, it’s too late to open it and we cannot give you keys, come back tomorrow, maybe they will still be there, darling” (note: they were not there). And well, after talking to many other paying customers at Kakslauttanen, everyone agreed with the fact that it was a incredibly product that is unfortunately ruined by a poor customer service.

In this day and age, having a good product is simply not enough. People talk to each other. Word of Mouth is more powerful than any ad placed in a highly circulating magazine about travel. Yes, photos of the Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos will charm everyone who sees them. But people who already stayed there will undoubtedly break the spell until some real serious changes are made on the customer service department.

So there you have it, my friends, the truth behind the Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos. And remember folks, just because a brand is footing your bill, it doesn’t means that it owns your opinion. People like me often get invited by Tourism Boards, Restaurants, Tours and Hotels to come and experience the services they offer and to write about them.

This allows me to bring new stories to you, my dear readers and to share many new awesome photos of far-away places. To those brands, I owe the obligation of featuring them on my website. To you? To you I owe you the obligation of always telling the truth.

Last but not least, don’t forget to use our Booking.com Affiliate Link of Wonders for making hotel reservations.

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

Thoughts?

The glass igloos of Kakslauttanen
The glass igloos of Kakslauttanen

95 Comments

  • Hi Raphael. This is the first time I’ve commented, although I often dip in and out of your blog. I think good on you for being honest. Just because something is offered to you, you don’t owe anyone a glowing review, especially if something didn’t live up to expectations (or worse, the people made you feel like common thieves!).

    Honesty is always the best policy!!

    Hopefully will meet you at TBEX Bangkok if you’re heading there. All the best, Hayley x

    • Yes, I fully agree. I normally don’t follow other people’s blogs because of how dishonest they feel sometimes. They think they’re lying to their readers but in truth they are only lying to themselves.

      Once I hit the publish button I knew beforehand that this article will probably make it harder for any future blogger wanting to stay at Kakslauttanen at the same time that it might potentially scare future hotels that are interested in sponsoring me.

      But in the end, honesty to my readers always comes first and I only wish to work with brands that respect that and trust me :)

      PS. Not sure about Bangkok this year but I’m sure we’ll meet up eventually!

      • Raphael,
        My father and I are planning on going to Switzerland in two weeks. I am dying to see the northern lights. Is staying in the igloos for just a night worth it? thank you

    • Switzerland? Northern lights? No offence but you seem to be a bit confused :) switzerland is nowhere north. This hotel is in finland.

  • I have been looking at this glass igloos for a while and they look stunning. Itmust be amazing to sleep there, especially when there’s northern lights above you. Hope to do it one day and that the visit to Lapland will also include the husky sledge tour :)

  • Good on you for speaking the truth. I feel like so many comped reviews only ever give the good side which really is of very little value to readers. Given the price, honestly, I don’t think I would have even considered staying at this place despite it being sponsored. It doesn’t sound like great value even if you did have a good experience!

    • During my time in Lapland I stayed at another 5 star price location, the Kemi Snow Castle, however the main difference was the treatment and good quality service that they offered us. Money can buy many things except for manners :)

  • Hey Raphael, I was in two minds about reading this after seeing your post on Facebook – I didn’t want my dreams of sleeping in an igloo spoiling! :)

    I find it incredibly disappointing that you were treated this way, no customer should be, but when a brand is fully aware you are a travel writer and they are hosting you, I find it naive and foolish to treat you in this way. I’m so sorry to hear you were made to feel like a thief and that you were charged for consuming drinks you were advised would be included.

    All experiences provide an opportunity to learn and I think this really does highlight the significance of a written contract between a travel writer and a brand; both parties should always be crystal clear about inclusions and expectations, before, during and after a hosted experience.

    Those negative experiences aside, there still appears to be other service issues which clearly need attention; issues that the brand can choose to resolve and turn this negative into a positive.

    No phone signal, lack of wifi and security can appear horrifying for some, for others this is still a way of life (even in 2015!), albeit one that carries an element of risk. As long as a brand is transparent about that experience, a customer can make an informed choice. I’ve found myself in a number of situations in the wilderness when a phone signal would have helped. Will those experiences stop me from doing it again? No. :)

    Thanks for writing an honest account; I still dream of sleeping in a glass igloo under the Northern Lights, but I’ll be thoroughly researching reviews before I depart with my hard earned cash!

    • I fully agree with you in the sense that it is a lesson to be learned in the future for all parties involved, Kirsten. However, one important point to make is that the cabins and igloos are NOT located in the wilderness. They are all inside of the resort so the logistics of installing landlines for phones and wireless routers are extremely easy.

      As a point of comparison, the cabin that I stayed at in Salla (literally, in the middle of nowhere) had the fastest Wi-Fi I had seen out of Helsinki. Emergencies happen all the time in hotels and Wi-Fi + Phone WILL save people’s lives (and probably help Kakslauttanen avoid a lawsuit in case God forbid, a client actually passes away because of the lack of communication).

  • I’ve always wanted to see the glass igloos but clearly Kakslauttanen is a place to avoid for lodging and eating. In all cases it’s best to share your honest opinion. I’m always surprised when destinations don’t make it their job to present their offerings in the best light when hosting a journalist. It should be an easy thing to do. Clearly it’s not.

      • Thank you for writing this very honest review, although I wish I had read it before we stayed in a glass igloo at Kakslauttanen two weeks ago. It was everything you described, but worse. For a place like this, with all the potential in the world, to treat guests the way they do, is appalling. Everything about our stay was horrific.

  • I’m sorry your experience was so disappointing! It’s a bummer when you look forward to something, are given special access to it, and find out that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Good tip for coming to photograph the igloos without having to stay there.

    • You’re welcome Tracie! The Glass Igloos of Kakslauttanen are really photogenic from the outside, especially when lit up on a clear starry sky. I hope more people will get to experience in their lifetime…from the outside ;)

  • No matter your experience with the manager, sleeping in a glass igloo is not something all the people can say. At least your audience will know what kind of treatment they will receive if they go there and now they have the proper information to avoid this place.

    • Yes, I agree. The moment I finished typing in this article I immediately thought that all of the negative complains sounded like a “First World Problem” and that people should learn to appreciate more the privileges they have in life (such as being able to sleep in a glass igloo).

      Still, that’s no excuse for the poor customer service that paying clients will experience at Kakslauttanen. In my life I have stayed in a couple run-down dirty hostels whose managers were some of the best people I’ve met in my life.

      In my mind, it’s not really about the quality of the product but about the quality of the service. Having a good product is hard. Having a good service is harder (but it shouldn’t be).

  • Once again, good on you for being honest! Although, with customer service as bad as you say, I’m not sure how anyone could bring themselves to write a good report. Even though I always try to be as fair as objective as possible, I certainly couldn’t. What a shame though because sleeping in those igloos could’ve been and should’ve been a once in a lifetime experience.

    • You’ll be surprised to know about other Travel Bloggers who have been to Kakslauttanen this January and have simply chosen to ignore all of the negative aspects of the customer service in their articles but hey, to each their own ;)

  • Wow, this is quite the story! Such a shame to hear that a place like this is a bad bad tourist trap. I have seen the pictures and lusted after the beautiful igloos in Finland, but clearly it is just a place to come look at, not stay!

    • Defining it as a Tourist Trap sounds about right, Katie. One of the paying clients told me in confidence: “Not even at the Cairo Pyramids I have felt like this, it’s like I’m a walking money sign!”.

      However, I guess this is the perfect place for people who are not looking for getting a good value from their money and just want to spend their endless pile of cash.

  • Whoa. So disappointing to hear about such rude customer service. Those things are absolutely ridiculous! But they think they can get away with it because the glass igloos are so beautiful and it’s such a desirable experience – or at least until you read accounts like this. I didn’t exactly have plans to go visit but there’s definitely no way I will at all now.

    • I have been to a lot of once in a lifetime luxurious and expensive experiences in my life (some of them sponsored, most of them paid for with my own dime) such as a VIP Halong Bay Tour and a Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia and they are all smart enough to understand that a product is nothing without a good customer service to back it up.

      It seems that, sadly, this particular resort still has a 90’s mentality of “our product is awesome, people will come regardless of the service” which is not that uncommon to have in many developing countries such as mine (Mexico).

  • I’d always thought sleeping in one of those igloos would be cool, I’m sorry you had such awkward customer service in the end. I’d love to visit Lapland though, I’m fascinated by the Sami.

    • Oh yes, Lapland is beyond amazing. Marysia and I spent a total of 15 days exploring many of its different locations (Seven Fells, Levi, Kakslautannen, Salla and Kemi) and we loved the excellent customer service that we had in the hands of the Fins and the Samis.

      Kakslautannen was, of course, the only exception but I blame it on the commercial international focus they have since they seem to be aiming at attraction new international customers instead of retaining them and converting them into returning customers :)

  • Nice work, Raph, I’m glad you didn’t fail to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth in this post. It’s such a shame that they treat customers so badly. I kind of feel that the more you pay for something the worse treatment you get. I also feel this isn’t the only company in Lapland to be working to just make a few easy dollar’s outta people.

    I’m so annoyed that I didn’t realise there were glass igloo’s in Levi, I would totally have gone for that if I realised (and my housemates all agree).

    Regarding the lack of security, I will just say that you’re in Lapland, and I lived in a house that didn’t have a lockable front door. It’s standard up there, everyone knows everyone. People walk into your house at all times of the day and night without knocking. That’s just part of the culture. They don’t steal from each other, it’s more of a faux pax there than anywhere else.

    And Santa Claus is real! Tho’ not that one, ours up in Karesuando :)

    • It is quite common in Mexico as well since some business try to squeeze every single penny from customers since they’re not expecting them to return next year. However, Kakslauttanen was our only bad hotel experience in our 15 days in Lapland since the rest of them always treated us with respect and kindness.

  • Definitely a dream crusher post, but non-the-less I am so proud to see a fellow travel blogger really writing about personal experiences. Some people get too caught up being sponsored or paid for their posts but at the end of the day we blog because it’s REAL. Unlike newspapers and promotional advertisements, we write the truth.

    WAY TO GO MEXICANA!

    Perhaps one day we will cross paths again — preferably on an incredible blog trip.

    Cheers,

    Jenna

    • I fully agree Jenna, for me, the blog is me and that’s why I would never try to sugarcoat a review or to kill the article just in order to please a brand. My number one responsibility is to my lovely readers and they deserve to know the truth of the places I visit :)

  • So sad. They have such potential to be an amazing business and grow! I don’t understand why and HOW some companies don’t value good customer service.

    • Some companies (especially the ones with a positive differential advantage in terms of product) still have a 90’s mentality of not caring about the feedback from the customer since they (wrongly) assume that even if dissatisfied customers leave, new ones will automatically arrive next year (only to depart as dissatisfied customers).

      However, the internet and Social Media completely changed that. This article has had about 2,000 pageviews in the last couple of days and that’s basically 2,000 readers who will *not* be recommending Kakslauttanen to their family and friends.

      THAT’S the power of Word of Mouth :)

    • That sounds like a wonderful place, would love to visit and read more about it! Next Saturday I’m publishing an article about the night I stayed at the Kemi Snow Castle in Finland (-5 Degree Snow Rooms) and I must say I really loved it there! :D

  • Wow. I CANNOT believe that they made you leave your laptop there while you went to fetch cash! Everything sounded tolerable up until that point, until I read what the experience was like for the paying customer. I hate places that are so obviously trying to take every penny from you and their focus clearly is not on their visitors having an enjoyable experience. The igloos look beautiful and the ‘product’ definitely sounds amazing but they are totally shooting themselves in the foot.

    • Indeed they are shooting themselves in the foot (just read the update at the end of the article including the passive-aggressive e-mail reply from the manager).

      The article has been widely shared in Finland and now I finally understand why only 10% of the staff at Kakslauttanen speak Finnish: Most (all?) Finnish travelers already now beforehand that avoiding Kakslauttanen is a smart choice to make.

  • This was a very refreshing post to read. I am a blogger (or trying to be), and sometimes I wonder about sponsored posts that I read. How can ALL of them be good? The honesty you showed in this post is encouraging, and refreshing. That is what being a writer is about, right? In the end our words can’t be bought, we will right what is true. Thanks for standing up for what you think is right even when you might not know the full repercussions. Cheers!

    • Hi Mikaela, to be honest I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all 100% positive reviews are skewed or fake, it’s just that sometimes we bloggers forget about the real price and value of the sponsored items. Each time I recommend a sponsored tour, activity or hotel I always think: “Would I have paid this much money for the product/ service offered?”

      99% of the time the answer is yes because they are worth it. This is the 1% situation when the answer was a no.

  • Wow! I cannot believe that, just terrible. I guess they ride on the fact that it’s a tourist trap and then treat people like crap. I would be more than upset to have paid that much and have so little to show for it! Finland looks amazing but I think i’d rather take a pic from afar and enjoy the other spots of the area. Thanks for the heads up and for being honest!

    • You’re welcome, Mary!!! Out of the 5 places (Seven Fells, Levi, Kakslauttanen, Salla and Kemi) in Lapland we visited during our two weeks and a half, this one was the only one that we wouldn’t recommend.

      Check out my Seven Fells (Northern Lights!!!) and Levi (Huskies!!! Ski!!! Reindeer!!!) articles to check those two out! :)

  • Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure in Lapland. The Glass Igloo is indeed breathtaking!

    An in case I visit that place at least I already have an idea of their culture and be more aware on what to behave. This is a good read!

    • That one still bugs me. A basic kettle can set you back around 30 euros and can last for up to 5 years. Not having them in the Glass Igloos is just plain cheapness. Yes, I understand that it sounds like a First World Problem but…this is a First World Country with above First World Prices.

  • Very refreshing! I really enjoyed reading such a balanced, honest story about your misadventures there. I was shocked you were treated like a thief, wtf??

    I rarely take comped stays or tours and when I do, I’m extremely selective, maybe that’s why I only had extremely positive experiences, but many times I wonder how honest other travel bloggers are.

    I will make sure I’ll avoid this place next winter!

  • Hello, Raphael! Thank you for this report. I was also considering the idea of visiting Kakslauttanen but their prices are unreasonably high. And along with this terrible customer service.. I guess I’ll opt for some other place.

  • Seems like you didn’t have a very good experience, Raphael, but I’m afraid I can’t really accept your criticism of their cancellation policy. As an owner of holiday accommodation myself – as well as being a travel blogger – here’s my take on it:

    1. If someone books to stay at a place, they do so on the terms of the establishment, not on their own terms. If they don’t read the cancellation policy, that’s naiive at best – some would say foolish.

    2. If there are personal circumstances for the guest that result in a cancellation, that’s not the establishment’s fault. Why should the business suffer a potential loss of income from someone else’s misfortune? Obviously, it’s not good for the guest either, BUT THAT’S WHAT TRAVEL INSURANCE IS FOR.

  • Wow this is awful! Especially considering the price. As someone who normally stays in crappy hostels, I still expect decent customer service, especially with all of the competition and the ability to read reviews on hostel world. I honestly don’t know what they’re expecting, being so rude to customers, it’s definitely going to get out. Thanks for providing such an honest review, it’s very refreshing. I’ve just recently entered the world of sponsored activities and it’s sometimes scary to not be 100% positive. But if a company wants a positive review, they should provide a good product.

  • Thanks a lot for your constructive comments on Kakslauttanen Resort. Actually I was planning to travel there in the coming November and wanted to stay in glass igloo for two nights but your story deters me from doing so. Alternatively, I know there is Santa’s Hotel Aurora in Luosto which also has similar arctic view room with well-equipped bathroom inside. Do you think it’s much worthy to book Santa’s? Your reply shall be highly appreciated.

  • Hey Raphael,

    Greetings from India! Thank you so much for your honest comments on Kakslauttanen Resort. After going through reviews on Lapland and a poster-perfect picture of the resort I had just started to plan my honeymoon in Kakslauttanen. Thank God I stumbled upon your blog and just saved myself and my fiance from being duped in a grand way! However, we love the place and if you have any suggestions on better accommodation (for honeymoon) please let us know!

    Thanks Much :)

    Best,
    Debjani

  • Thanks for the honest review! I had been attracted by the magic of the photos, but once I started reading the fine print and tallying up what we’d be spending, the echo resonating through the house of my jaw hitting the floor went on unanswered for a few moments until my wife broke in with “NFW!”. At AUD2000 per night, this was easily going to double the price as the most expensive place I’ve ever stayed (a Chinese Junk in Halong Bay Vietnam…and even that had the magical photos but the crap night’s sleep wreck that experience!). Solid customer service at a solid value point wins every time. I started looking at all the other options and Finland has lost out to Sweden this time…and I haven’t even started peeking into Norway yet. Return airfares from Stockholm to Kiruna are 2/3rds the price of Helsinki to Ivalo with better rated airlines (SAS vs Finnair).

  • I am so pleased to have read your review and I thank you for your honest appraisal of this ‘tourist trap’. We will not book here now and you have saved us a lot of money and from being very disappointed.

  • Hey Raphael!
    Wow! How your article has stirred my memories! You put in words every experience we had near seven years before (except for the wine!)!
    We arrived full of expectations and left very, very disappointed and, yes, very angry.
    The reception was well enough and we had the right of a free, hot berry juice, a roughly drawn map and nothing more. Only we were lucky and encountered with a lovely, gentle sami girl who worked there and she guided us till the glass igloo where we were due to stay this night. Of course, no sled was offered to carry our luggage, instead, we were compelled to left it in a common room (adyacent to the restautant) which stayed permanently unlocked (no matter the hour) and with no security at all. So, with a few personal things, we made our way through the snow and the dark (you do know how it is in Saariselka at 6.00 pm!) till our igloo. During the night, of course, we saw nothing but the treetops.
    The following night we stayed at a snow igloo (yes, they had snow igloos then), a dull experience after having stayed at the Snow Hotel in Rovaniemi where we had a very pleasant experience from the beginning to the end thanks to the friendly couple who owned the place.
    Then we moved to a cabin… Well, it was comfortable and roomy, with two rooms, a cozy salon, a bathroom, a kitchenette and, of course, a sauna… that you couldn´t turn on without turning off the heating! And with minus 32 degrees in the outside it wasn´t a very nice idea!
    And the meals! At the time we went, it seems they had a good cook, but a horrible “food-shop” plan! One night, after having waited one hour for the dinner, we were told that they had run out of food and that the cook was improvising another plate for us!
    But not all went so bad. The activities were great… but we get them directly from purveyors in Saariselka (then it was allowed to pick up people near the hotel). The huskies, the reindeers, the snow-mobiles…. Wonderful! And the breathtaking Auroras which danced above us several nights! (And even with that the manager of the hotel tried to lure us into booking an excursion to hunt the northern lights. With the hotel, of course, adducing that it was impossible to spot auroras within the hotel area. Incredible!)
    Oh! sadly, I haven´t any photo of this experience because I had my camera stolen at the hotel common room! Fact that took me to know where the Police Station is in Saariselka. JJJJJJ
    I want you to notice the young sami girl I mentioned earlier in this rather extended opinion: she was kind and serviceable. She overheard us celebrating a birthday, came to our table and sang “Happy Birthday” the sami way in a wonderful, clear voice. Also, he provided us of some extra free hot berry juice during our stay.
    All in all, the trip does indeed worth the money, and is undoubtely worth to be done. But keep Kakslautanen out of your way!

    I apologize for my imprecise english!

  • Hey Raphael, thank you for your honesty. i’m at the early stages of travel blogging and i think you’re inspirational. Allow me to quote you in my blogs as time goes on and i’m still setting up my blogsite. Our readers need to know the truth as it is.And transparency is the key. – Ayana

  • This article really helped. Thank you for sharing. I’m planning a trip from Canada and was thinking of staying here, since all the images looked incredibly breathtaking. Do you know of any tour companies that will pick you up from Helsinki for a 2 day package? Thanks again – Sean.

  • What a strange review! I read the whole thing and learned that the sides aren’t good, but still don’t know about the main course. Are the Northern Lights easily viewed from inside the glass igloos or are you likely to go walk around looking for them and them come back just to sleep? If I were to pay that much, I’d want to arrive before dark, have supper (you’ve informed us to bring our own tea bags and groceries for dinner, thank you), then settle in to watch the light show from within a cozy igloo. Getting there before dark and leaving in daylight shouldn’t be too hard, as the “lights” season apparently runs from August until April, and the equinoxes are the same there as anywhere else. Skiing, dog sledding, and other winter sports can easily be enjoyed while staying somewhere that I’m not paying through the nose to be able to see the sky up above my bed. I wonder how well that actually works.

  • Thank you so much! We were looking into going, now we”ll look at somewhere else! Much appreciated :)

  • Nice article.. I was just about to book this place, but I googled before and found your experience, glad to have done that!

    So, the remaining question is: Did you see the Northern Lights ??? (from either place over there) and was it while being inside or outside your room (or whatever) ???

    I want to take my beautiful wife to see the Northern Lights (we´re from Mexico but live in Dublin at the moment.. where do you recommend to go? how many days? oct-nov-dec ?)

    :)

    • Ivan, do you found some good place to stay and watch the northern lights?? Im from mexico too, but going to my honeymoon next february!!

  • I´ve started working there 2013 for a winter season and after 3 weeks I left this place. Even if you are a great chef…

    The owner wants it the fucked up way, everything was dirty when I arrived and I think 60% of the stuff who worked there with me in the early season (end of October) left because it sucked to work there or they got fired because they lost their motivation really fast.

    Every time i meet fellow travelers and Northern lights, Lapland and the glass Igloos are the topic. I always tell them it is worth seeing but never touch the food!!

    I was really disappointed in this place and I learned that not every “must see” hotel is a “must work” hotel…

  • What a great and truthfull text. Have you tried to post this so Finnish suppliers could read this? I believe this story should be spread out more! I agree with 99% of all you said.

  • Hi Raphael,

    Awesome post. I think you saved me from a potential disappointment! I am still planning a trip up to Lapland though. Can you tell me, how did you get from Helsinki to this area? Flights are a bit expensive (for December). Did you do the bus/train option by any chance? Thanks again for a honest review!

  • Dear Raphael, I’m a Destination Management Company owner in Finland and I have read your comments about Kakslauttanen and I ‘d like to ask if it would be possible to have a private e-mail conversation about this matter? I’ve been for years trying to understand the ideology of Kakslauttanen and I feel I’d need to go a bit deeper in the experience of a client such as you are.
    I will be waiting for your e-mail.

  • Thanks God so much that I have come across your article.
    No longer disappointed for being unable to book this Glass Igloo when arranging my trip in Feb.

  • Thank you for giving me a heads up on this place. I too was thinking about spending my hard earned money next Christmas to holiday with my daughter. I will pass on this place for sure.

  • I have left from the glass igloo now and I would say this place is the worst service that I have ever seen in my whole life. I should believe all rating and comment before spending the vital night like New Year here.

  • OMG!! I was planning to go for my honeymoon!! I thing I will pass!! So, Any recommendation for a nice hotel to see the northern lights???

  • Glad to hear you speak the truth.

    If someone had asked me to leave my laptop, I would have denied. And insisted that they instead walk to the cash machine with me haha.

    Great Read.
    Jake.

  • The darker side of the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is an environmental crime that local police is investigating. The hotel dumped its construction waste to the nature near the hotel last summer and some of it was burned at the hotel construction site illegally.

    Some pictures in a Finnish paper:
    http://www.aamulehti.fi/kotimaa/matkailujatin-takapiha-jatteita-pitkin-poikin-maastoa-maalipurkkeja-ja-homehtunutta-eristevillaa-23863412
    http://www.aamulehti.fi/kotimaa/huomautti-yrittajalle-rakennusjatteen-polttamisesta-sai-potkut-23860464

  • Thanks for sharing this eye-opening post. This resort has always been one of my dream places to visit but no more after this! I would have been absolutely peeved if the same incidents had happened to me!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your honest experience. I was planning to go there nxt year but now for sure I will look for other accommodation option. Why paying that much for a night when the service is so poor. Thanks again for your useful tips.

  • Thank you so much for this blog. I believe that people should share this information on a wider scale. Is this link beeing shared with any other blogs or maybe press?

  • i love your honesty and especially how you interact with everyone. I just came upon your blog because I love to travel and want to travel more. I did a google search how maybe sponsors can help and yours came up. Bravo to you being real, true, not many are honest but this is not only in travel but other industries. keep up the great work ;)

  • Well…we were all set to book…and I thought I would just look for some reviews.
    We read yours in its entirety and I just have to say THANK YOU so much for taking the time to share your experience.
    We will look elsewhere for the Northern Lights bucket list extravaganza. This sounds like a revolting tourist trap.

  • Thx a lot for your honest and transparent views. I was planning to go there for my honeymoon and it could have been a disaster if i haven’t read this. So you saved my life ;)
    Only, you haven’t mention if you could see the northern lights. It’s said that 200 days in a year, nothern lights are visible there. Thinking in summer chances are much more rare; it’s highly likely to be able to see them when you stay there in high season. Is that right?

  • I just wanted to know their room prices so I visited their website and started a booking. I learned that besides asking for a 5 star room price, they additionally charge a handling fee of 20 Euros in the low season and even 30 Euros in the high season for each booking they accept. This is plain stupid and arrogant and goes hand in hand with your experience there.

    All the hotels I stayed at in my life were happy to have me as their guest and would not charge an additional fee for just walking up to their front desk and making a booking there. I mean every business should be happy to have customers and should not punish them with handling fees once they want to make business with them. It really seems that this hotel management considers their guests as their personal walking ATMs.

    This is in total contrast of my experience so far in Scandinavia incl. Finland. I remember the very large majority of my Scandinavian and Finnish contacts as guest-friendly and honest people.

  • hello!
    i have one question i been looking for a photo of the reception for too long but never seem to find any, even vloggers when they come near the reception they close the camera, is there any problem.

  • Even with my 1.2 million air miles, you are probably better traveled than me. Having said that, I don’t remember one hotel/resort that let you drink their fine wine as much as you could for free. It sounds so me like there was a misunderstanding. Also sounds to me like an entitlement mentality on your end. Could the manager have been nicer? Absolutely. But seriously, what was her guarantee that you would come back and pay your bill? It had nothing to do with treating you like a thief, regardless of how you felt about it.

  • Me and my wife just got to this place today … OMG itis really bad ! Everything you described and more! We wanted to get the next flight back home as soon as we checked in, but we paid a lot of money for this “ 5 stars “ experience. It will definitely help people that want to get here, to reed all the information about the place on their website, but I guess if they do that they can not rob them. It is extremely disappointing that they are allowed to function as a 5 star . I strongly not recommend this trip!

  • I also have recently visited and can confirm everything that has been said here about the disgraceful rip off that this so called resort purports to sell.
    Do not go.

  • Dear Raphael,

    I read your comments with much interest. My niece and her husband went there last December 2017 and they have been charged twice now for a one night stay. The first payment was done by bank transfer and the second, they charged them again, this time by credit card. They have written to them and even wrote on their face book to ask for the double payment to be returned, but so far, have had no response. They have now paid EUR591.00 by bank Transfer on the 11.12.2017 and this has been confirmed by the bank saying “we confirm funds were paid to NDEAFIHHXXX via Swift payment. Order Value 12/11/2017 Amount 566.00/EUR.

    On the 18 Dec 2017, HOTELKI KAKSLAU SAARISELKA FI charged their credit card this time for the same thing for EUR591.00. My niece and her husband have been writing to this hotel to ask for them to refund the double charges but so far, they have refused to reply to their emails, their facebook correspondence, etc. Is there any way I can contact them to ask for this payment. There must be some form of protection for tourist visiting Finland against rogue hotels.

    Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

    Many thanks.

    Cecilia

  • Thank you so much for the sharing your experiences … we are planning a trip to Finland this Fall and your insight has been priceless in helping us build our itinerary.

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