Monday, March 21, 2016

Ivalo, Finland: Scouting the Northern Lights from a Glass Igloo - March 2016

A short drive from the northernmost commercial airport in Finland and tucked well within the Arctic Circle, sits the now world-famous Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. While it boasts a variety of accommodation options including lavish log cabins, Kakslauttanen is best known for its glass igloos ideal for scouting the Northern Lights.

Having read about the resort some time ago and immediately adding it to our to-do list, my husband and I were excited to check the box earlier this month during our Arctic Safari through Lapland. The arctic resort did not disappoint. Upon arrival at Kakslauttanen we were handed the keys to our own private igloo and briefed on the activities offered and services included in our stay.

The resort itself is divided into two large sprawling villages on either side of a country highway. We stayed in the west village. Along with our cluster of 45 glass igloos, the village contained an area with log cabins and an assortment of cabin/igloo hybrid type accommodations for larger groups. A short walk from where we stayed was a large clubhouse which housed the reception area as well as the main dining area and bar.

Also spread throughout the village grounds were several sauna houses, a collection of buildings dedicated to Santa and his elves, an area for gold panning and various stables to house the reindeer, horses and husky dogs available for safaris. The landscaping at the resort could not have been more picturesque with wooden bridges stretching over steams, and reindeer antlers and carvings decorating the common areas.

While many activities were offered to help enjoy the wintery landscape, the highlight of our visit was the igloo itself. Not knowing what to expect, we were surprised to unlock the door and find a comfortable room with all of the needed amenities. The full-size bed was remote-control operated to provide the ideal positioning to comfortably gaze up at the sky, and the bathroom was outfitted with a sink and commode. The igloo was well-heated and allowed for a bit of privacy with a small curtain that stretched along the base.

As the sky grew dark, the haunting scene of illuminated igloos was only surpassed by the Northern Lights that shown that night. While it was mostly overcast during our stay at Kakslauttanen, we were fortunate that for a brief period the clouds parted and we laid in the comfort of our warm igloo and were able to admire the green skies of the Northern Lights dancing above our heads.

While it may be one of those experiences that you only need to do once, our night in a glass igloo was unforgettable, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

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