North of the Arctic Circle, Wilderness Hotel Inari sits on the banks of Lake Inari, one of the largest lakes in Finland. In this remote region, the hotel is surprisingly easy to find, right off the main road, E75, a straight shot from Rovaniemi.
We stayed in one their Wilderness rooms for four nights in the first week of October. It’s a standard hotel room in a long single-story lodge with a queen bed, a lounge chair, and white cotton linens. The windows are floor-to-ceiling but they look out towards the road rather than the lake, so there’s not much in the way of views. The bathroom is basic, with a typical Finnish shower, meaning you’ll need to squeegee the bathroom floor afterwards. Not to worry though – any water we missed dried fast because the floors are heated. I could have done without the faux reindeer headboard, but we were happy with everything else in the room.
The hotel also offers igloo-style cabins and larger family cabins, but these are at least twice the price.
Breakfast is served in the main lodge and dining room, the heart of the hotel. It’s spacious with high ceilings and wood beams, antler shaped chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling panorama windows looking out to the lake. We watched many a sunrise while eating breakfast here.
They put out a nice spread – fresh bread, fresh fruit (watermelon and pineapple in the Arctic!), yogurt and cottage cheese, berry bowls (frozen but still good with yogurt), granola, nuts, a special Finnish rice pastry called Karjalanpiirakka, sautéed vegetables, eggs, cheese, salad greens, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, pickles, orange juice, tea, coffee, bacon, honey, jam, and more. They even had individually packaged gluten-free pastries and vegan cheese.
We also had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Aaron tried the Finnish beef burger and I had an entree-sized artichoke soup with bread and butter. Both were exceptional. The soup was huge and filling, honestly one of the best soups I’ve had in my life. For the quality, the prices were very fair – our total came out to 35 euros – and it’s your best bet for a nice restaurant in the area.
The best part about the hotel is its location. Lake Inari is the perfect place to catch the Northern Lights, sunrise is gorgeous, and it’s just a wonderful spot to walk around the lake.
The only thing I wished for that wasn’t offered was an aurora wake-up call. I had read to check for this – perhaps it’s offered at other hotels, but the Wilderness Inari staff goes home at night, so this isn’t available.
Our four night stay including breakfast cost 433 USD. We thought this was quite reasonable (and even cheap) considering you can’t get this nice of a hotel room with such an extensive breakfast in the Northeast of the US for anywhere close to this price, especially not lakeside. September prices were a bit higher, and prices really shot up in December. October is the low season, so we got a pretty good deal.
All in all, we had a clean, warm stay with good food and we got to see the Northern Lights, so we’re happy with our stay.