Yes IABU posting this hear but no one answered on Travel!
Just looking for any tips from people who have been. We are thinking of booking through Espirit/Santa's Lapland and staying at the Holiday Club Saarielska. Has anyone got any experience of this company or the hotel? Or does anyone have any good or bad experiences of other tour operators or hotels that I should look into or avoid? Thanks!
I stayed at the snowy wilderness lodge and booked through Thompson so can't help with that side of things. It was a truly fab holiday though, my boys will always remember going on a husky sled through the forest in the dark. Proper magical!
I went with Canterbury Travel. Went to Enontekio (sp?) Excellent choice and daren't go back in case it is not the same and spoils our amazing memories.
Hi! We have stayed at saariselka holiday club twice and had a fabulous time each time. Feel free to ask any questions. We went with iglu.
We went with Esprit and stayed at the Hotel Tunturi. Had a fantastic time and loved every minute. Want to go back as my youngest wasn't born but scared it won't be as magical
Thanks for all the replies. Can I ask what the actual Santa meets were like, were they rushed or did they get a good 5-10 minutes alone with him? And were things like husky sledding etc included or was it just tasters? And is the taster enough seeing as it is very cold?
Duckie if we do settle on the holiday club I might have a few q's!
It's so difficult with all the options out there!
Am also looking at booking so this is a timely thread!
We went with Canterbury travel - they were fantastic - pure theatre for 2 days. Kids loved it.
I did a season with Esprit in Saariselka, though it was 10 years ago now!
It was a lovely little village and I always felt sad for guests that just did the day trip and didn't get to enjoy a proper Lapland break. My knowledge is obviously dated but the Holiday Club hotel was great and useful to have the pool as an option for late afternoon when it is quite dark but kids still have energy. They also have a really long toboggan ride/a green ski slope which you can sledge down in the village which is AWESOME. The activity day seems to be pretty standard amongst companies as you get driven out for the day to a specific place with all of the husky sledding/reindeer rides etc. but it was good fun and you get enough chance to do everything. The onus was very much on us workers to make sure kids were never bored if there was a wait for something and we would go round playing games, singing songs and directing people to areas which were quieter.
Meeting Father Christmas was magical and for many parents they said it really kept the magic alive for a few more years. It's definitely something I'll be saving up for and doing with my children when they're old enough and even though it is expensive it's definitely worth doing it over a few days.
Not rushed at all. He was amazing. Very individual and we were taken to see him without anyone else there. We all left, adults included, believing he really existed.
When we went - 6 years ago - the meet with santa was great. We were taken on a large skidoo through the woods passing 'dropped presents' on the way to a wooden cabin. We were met by Elves playing snow angels and having snow ball fights. They encouraged the children to knock on the cabin door, an elf opened it and santa asked the children by name to sit on the bench beside him. He then opened their letters which they'd written at home (and smuggled to one of the reps prior to the skidoo trip). My daughters face was so amazed at that - she couldn't believe the letter she'd written at home and vanished up the chimney was in santas hands! The look on her face was worth every penny we paid for the trip
We went last December with Thompson to the Snow Elf Hotel.
We had taster husky rides and even those were too long tbh. It was so cold the children were crying! It was -26 when we were there!
Now I want to go!!! I did look at flying to Finland ( Helsinki?) and getting a train up to Lapland to try and keep the costs down but I like independent travel so I know it's not for everyone. I think the train is referred to unofficially as the Santa express.
Agree with pp who said that they left believing that Santa was real. It was definitely the real Santa! If I recall, he had the actual letters that my kids had written, ie he didn't just know that they wanted Lego or whatever, but he had the actual letters, in their handwriting, that they had written and we'd posted to Santa (obviously via the holiday company)! It didn't feel rushed or formulaic at all. We went once when the kids were little, and once when they were older (early teens) and obviously didn't believe, but we still had a fab time. Did a few days skiing the second time too. And yy to the toboggan run....AMAZING fun! Oh I want to go back now!!!
And yes to the reps being amazing. Really made the trip even more magical, eg popping up in the airport while we waited for bags, on every trip we went on etc. May even have been the pp! In which case...Thank you!!!
Sledges were everywhere to use. Kids loved being pulled along going out. The toboggan was fantastic- we spent most of our free time on it. Even my parents who were mid sixties went on it. Such a magical trip
Went to saariselka with Thomsons last year and stayed in the snowflake apartments, was amazing. Went to the holiday club for the water park and ate there and it was really nice. Spoke to other guests there though and they found the rooms a bit small and found it difficult to dry clothes whereas we had a sauna and a tall dryer which was amazing.
Looked at santas lapland but they were double the price and, although their tasters were longer, it was cheaper to book with Thompson s, have the shorter tasters and then pay for a full session of the things we liked best. Taster day was brilliantly organised.
Santa was amazing. Coach ride to a secret destination and then a snowmobile ride to a "village" with air traffic control, story telling, camp fire etc. Each family was sent if 5-10 minutes apart to find santa so you were completely by yourselves. We passed a reindeeer training school and landing strip where we talked to the elves before finding santas log cabin.
We had to wait half hour or so as busy but more hot drinks there, tobogganing and stories so the kids were more than happy. Had a great 5-10 minutes with santa as a family before taking the snowmobil back.
Truly magical experience
We did 2 excursions on too of the tasters, the husky safari and the reindeer one. It was -23 on the reindeer one and it was SO COLD. My eyelashes and the inside of my nose froze! But it was beautiful, and quiet and the snow glistens like actual magic. So say my kids anyway
The husky and reindeer thing was quite short on the tasters so I am glad we did those as extras. Gets expensive though!
We will definitely go back as we didn't have DD then, and we want to take her when she's big enough to enjoy it.
Oh, I so want to do this! Eldest is just starting to not believe...
The day trips...are they too rushed? I don't know how I would fit in anything lingers as schools break up so late this year (I'm a teacher too).
And will I cope on my own with 2 young dc
weve never flown on our own before ?
Is Thomson they way to go then?
We went last year with Santa's Lapland. Our accommodation was appalling, think the kind of room that school kids use on a ski trip. We complained immediately but Santa's Lapland refused to offer us an alternative without paying more money. As we had already paid £1400 per night we weren't willing to pay more. Having said that the Santa's activity day was wonderful, REALLY amazing. You get plenty of time with Santa, the elves were an absolute hoot and really added to the experience. Go....you won't regret it, but lower your expectations in terms of accommodation.
It was a 4hr flight each way so I probably wouldn't want to do that in a day. 8hrs of flying plus airport time each end don't leave much time to enjoy the magic of the place.
Do you think all the different companies are all pretty the much the same in terms of what is offered, i.e. the time with santa, the length of tasters? Also what happens on Christmas Day, I have heard talk of a gala dinner? And is there entertainment in the hotels, like Christmassy games etc? Sorry for all the questions and TIA!
Yes, it looks like flights leave on the 24th but doesn't mention anything about the fact Xmas day is during the stay! Would the restaurants in the town's be closed? So would you need to book half board to be sure of being fed?!
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