We’ve made our list – and checked it twice – to make sure that on your visit to Santa’s Lapland hometown, Rovaniemi, you end up somewhere nice.
Finnish Lapland is the ultimate winter wonderland: talcum powder-soft ski runs, atmospheric ice hotels, husky sledding – even meetings with Santa and his reindeer (that’s right, Rovaniemi is his hometown). And when temperatures in winter wonderland plunge to double-digits below zero, whether you’ve been out snowshoeing on slopes or hiking through a forest blanketed in white, you need a cosy retreat to return to. And so here you are – the best boutique hotels in Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: these 24 pod-like apartments have a ceiling and wall made entirely of glass, so you can gaze out to frozen forest and enjoy the northern lights shimmering above. But with private hot tubs and saunas, they’re as much about indulgence as they are about that view. Book into the on-site restaurant for a dinner under the stars (it’s also lined in glass) or pay a visit to the Santa Claus village, only a minute’s walk away.
You don’t need a big budget to enjoy Lapland; simply book into this stylish Rovaniemi hostel – conveniently located moments from the bus and railway station – and you can enjoy Lapland’s sights without burning through your savings. Staff will help you book affordable trips to see the northern lights, or car transfers anywhere else you’d like to go. Bunk bed-style rooms are a cut above, with beamed ceilings, warm lighting and lush houseplants.
Just 15 minutes south of Rovaniemi’s centre, on the banks of the Kemijoki – Finland’s longest river – this 1930s hotel combines history, nature and creature comforts in one lovely package. Wood-lined rooms have a cosy cabin feel, but with modern stylings; suites come with full kitchens. There are enough rooms to cater to small groups – Metsähirvas is ideal if you’re travelling with a few friends – and the front desk can also arrange activities such as husky rides or ice fishing.
If you want to be in the heart of Rovaniemi, with its restaurants, outdoors shops and transport links, HAAWE is your place. Slick modern rooms make you feel like you’re staying in the urban heart of a much larger city – think monochrome palette, statement pendant lights and, in some cases, roaring electric fireplaces and quality Miele kitchen appliances. Yet the cosiness is undeniably Finnish; soft blankets and hide-like rugs give it a good dose of hygge.
A visit to Santa Claus’s village doesn’t have to be kitsch. These 71 cosy cabins – partly lined in windows, to give an ‘igloo’ vibe – are glammed up with chic modern pendant lights and furry-style pillows. It’s the perfect choice for couples who fancy a bit of Christmas magic on their break – and the chance to watch the northern lights from bed. Take advantage of the numerous activities on-site, from snowmobile safaris to reindeer sleigh rides.
A central hotel located in the former town hall building, Arctic Light Hotel is within easy reach of all of Rovaniemi’s best restaurants, bars, cafes and attractions, with the Santa Claus Village only a short bus ride away. It has several themed rooms and suites, including the Arctic Room, which combines contemporary style with Lappish artwork, the Aurora Loft with a separate lounge area, and the Christmas Cabin. You can also enjoy the accompanying Arctic Boulevard restaurant, one of the best restaurants in the city, as well as a classic Finnish sauna.
For more options, discover our guide on the best hotels in Turku and book now on Culture Trip. For more plush hotels in Rovaniemi, check out our pick of the best hotels in Rovaniemi, Finland, bookable on Culture Trip.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Jessica Wood.
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