In Finland, I stayed in three towns, namely Helsinki where we touched down; and Saimaa and Saariselka. Two nights in Helsinki and I had started getting restless. I was excitedly looking forward to go up north and explore the other towns.
Both in Saimaa and Saariselka I stayed in Holiday Club Resorts. At both places, the resorts offer a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including sports and nature safaris. They have large scale Angry Bird Activity Parks within the resort premises. The park at Saariselkä is also the northernmost Angry Birds Activity Park in the world.
Holiday Club at Saimaa
Holiday Club Saimaa is a huge property by the lake Saimaa. Beautiful and enormous, I would call it a small town in itself.
The first impression was great. The reception area was big with a small knick-knack shop on one side. I saw some couples relaxing on sofas and kids playing around. The room allocated to me was very spacious, had good seating arrangement and large windows looking onto the snow covered parking. A plate of cut fruits on the working table was awaiting my arrival. In short, spacious and stylish are the two words I can use to describe it.
Later, as I entered the Classic Pizza Restaurant, I could see some kids in playful mood and some playing around the aquarium. They have seven restaurants and Bars with various themes and specialties and packed with experiences to delight all the senses. During my stay, I tried O’Learys, Le Biff, and Easy Kitchen which was also the venue for buffet breakfast.
Spread across area of 25,000 square meters, Holiday Club Saimaa is one of the most luxurious holiday resorts in Finland, encircled by the breathtaking landscapes and stunning lakes.
Built in 2011, this resort has hotel rooms, Club Saimaa family rooms, Castle rooms, Gant luxurious rooms, and Deluxe pavilion rooms. Besides these, they also have Holiday Houses and Apartments, which are fully equipped with kitchen, balcony or terrace and private Sauna.
So besides Angry Birds, Cirque du Saimaa Aqua Park with Jacuzzi, water slides, the indoor skating rink in the heart of the hotel will keep you and yours busy. Do you want to relax in the sauna or get pampered with a luxurious Harmony Spa treatment? Family vacation or official conferences, Saimaa is the perfect place. Bowling anyone? Gym or shopping? Of course, Club Mahindra is known for family vacations and Holiday Club Saimaa was just affirming that, taking holiday concept into a whole new dimension.
What I liked about this resort is that you can walk up to Lake Saimaa and whatever the season, you can enjoy the activities. They also have several other outdoor activities such as 18 holes Golf Course, Tennis court etc. The resort also can organize safaris, visa-free cruises to Russia (I am not kidding!) and Horseback riding for its guests.
Now some history about this resort. Initially the Russian doctor Dimitry Gabrilovitsch had purchased the place to convert it into a sanatorium, which would provide a variety of services from various bath treatments to galvanic and bright light therapies. Rich visitors such as princes, barons and businessmen with their families came here from Russia, Poland, Romania, Prussia and America to enjoy the high-quality services.
Good luck was not for long and the building was burnt; after which it was sold to be made into a hospital. The hospital building was designed by Finnish architects. During World War II, the building served as a military hospital, and later as a maternity hospital. The hospital was permanently closed in 2000.
Today, the tradition of hotel and spa services that began over a century ago has finally returned with a diverse range of services.
There are several options for Spa, Sauna and Wellness with different opening hours to cater to all the guests with different tastes. Cirque de Saimaa Spa is circus theme based Spa are liked by the whole family. I liked the spa pool and slides very much. You just don’t want to come out of that. Access to the sun-deck is absolutely free.
The best part of the Castle Hotel room, where I was staying, is that you can leave your room comfortably wearing a bathrobe and access the spa and Sauna without going outside. They have 63 such rooms in the Castle Hotel wings !
Breakfast buffet was also good with lots of variety. There is a wide selection of gluten free products as well. I liked how they kept colorful kid friendly cutlery. We also got to meet an angry bird there. Kids were being spoilt there and it looked like the resort was for kids. 🙂
One thing that surprised me was that there were no toiletries in the room. Later I came to know that it was the norm.
Holiday Club at Saariselkä
A home away from home, a self-sufficient village … that’s how I would like to describe it. I explored Lapland with my base as Saariselka and I can easily recommend it to anyone who wants to explore Lapland, with or without the Northern Lights.
Holiday Club Saariselkä is the northernmost spa hotel and holiday home resort in Europe, if not in the whole world. It is located in the municipality of Inari, surrounded by the splendid fells of northern Lapland.
The resort at Saariselkä is simple but with all the facilities you need to survive the cold and enjoy your Finnish holiday. Even if you were generally not comfortable in a sauna, you’ll be, here. There are separate saunas for both genders and a combined one as well.
Jacuzzi, water slides, swimming pool, spa treatments are some of the indoor activities. But I suggest you to go for outdoor activities in Saariselka before coming to comforts of indoors.
The wonderful natural surrounding is sure to mesmerize you with unforgettable experiences throughout the year. The white pristine pastures of the national park with those slopes and lifts will definitely leave you awe-inspired. Holiday Club Saariselkä is a resort for the whole family, in the form of a self-sufficient village.
Room was smaller and so was bath than that of Saimaa but what do you expect in that corner of the world? Very clean, warm and comfortable with good wifi connectivity. The toiletries and slippers were not to be seen in the room. The hotel is conveniently located near bus services, shopping and restaurants. And the national park as well. It also has free parking and electricity for car heating. It’s a non-smoking hotel.
Finnish people believe in doing things themselves and this quality reflects in their way of working also. You won’t find a bell boy to take your luggage to your room, or a waiter at the buffet restaurant to take orders. Make your own sandwich, man! Do-it-yourself is the mantra they follow.
Let’s talk about food now. Breakfast spread at the buffet restaurant Revontuli was more than one can ask for. Good selection of cold meats and cheeses and nice salads and breads. So many varieties that if they permit, I would have sat through the whole day munching something or the other!
Rakka is a great restaurant if you want to try out local cuisine. It also serves burgers and a few vegetarians foods. Open everyday from 12 noon to 10.30 PM. This is also frequented by other travelers to Saariselkä.
There are other restaurants as well, for drinks and games.
You can also book your ride tours via the hotel. Most tour companies would pick up and drop off from this centrally located hotel. The hop on/off bus stops right outside and only costs 5 euro for the whole day so it is a great way to get around.
If you are reaching here by air then the nearest airport is Ivalo.
Holiday Club Resort is now a part of Club Mahindra which is now the largest vacation ownership company in the world, outside of US. If you are a member of Club Mahindra family, you are eligible to stay in all these resorts. As the owner of a Holiday Club vacation, you are entitled to a great variety of holiday opportunities.
If you are not a Holiday Club vacation owner yet, enjoy their trial holiday at a special price and see for yourself what a Holiday Club vacation is all about! Explore the unexplored with Holiday Club in Saimaa and Saariselka and book your own place.
With Mahindra Holiday resorts, it will not only provide a luxurious vacation with the much needed homely environment & warm hospitality, entertainment, cultural experiences, but it makes your vacation budget friendly as well.
For more information, visit Finland with Club Mahindra.
You can fly to Finland with Finnair, which has direct flights to Helsinki from Delhi thrice a week. There are other airlines as well which fly to Helsinki.
Train is the quickest way to reach Saimaa. The other option is to go by road. Hire a cab or take a bus, it won’t take more than 4 hours.
1. I was hosted by Club Mahindra and Holiday Club Resorts. All views expressed are my own and based on my personal experiences and conversations in the country.
2. The photos used in this post belong to Nisha Jha, i. e. me and their usage without explicit permission is prohibited.
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