The Best family-friendly hotel in Lapland: Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

In today’s interview, we get the opportunity to chat with the ‘mastermind’ behind one of our latest TRVLBEES destinations (and in our view the best family-friendly hotel in Lapland): the remarkable Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, Lapland (Finland).  The lovely Katja Ikäheimo-Länkinen, hotel owner and entrepreneur, tells us all about the values and inspiration of the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, how the team strives for a sustainable guest experience, and what distinguishes this marvelous hideaway from other Lappish hotspots.

The owners of Arctic TreeHouse

How did the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel come about?

“SantaPark Arctic World is a family-owned company, set up by my husband Ilkka Länkinen and myself. It consists of various brands. The spirit of Christmas is the core essence of the company’s visions and values. Located 55 meters below the ground lies a hidden gem called SantaPark. This is the very own Cavern of Santa Claus where wonderful Christmas experiences are shared with all visitors, both young and old.  Since 1997, we have provided magical, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to all visitors. Located in Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus, we receive thousands of annual visitors from all over the globe and inspire many more to come each year. Naturally, the next step was to expand into the hospitality industry. Arctic TreeHouse Hotel was built right next to SantaPark on the hill of the Syväsenvaara.” 

“We had a strong vision for the hotel from the very beginning. Being close to nature is a part of our childhood and an even more important part of our unique Lappish heritage, it is something that we absolutely wanted to share with our guests. We have designed our Arctic TreeHouses in such a way that they are not only a part (and continuation) of the nature surrounding them, but also that they are comfortable, appealing to the eye, and incorporate luxurious natural materials that will last a lifetime. The idea was to create warm and cozy, yet luxuriously comfortable ‘nests,’ with wooden frames and surfaces to give them a natural, Scandinavian feel. The contrasts between the vivid and radiant arctic nature and the snug coziness of the treehouses had been our primary design objective since the beginning. The interiors are surprising and well-thought-out in terms of details that are connected to the whole service experience. The warmth and softness of the interior design enhance the nest-like feeling.”

We think everybody should get a chance to visit your beautiful hotel, at least once in their lifetime! Why should the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel be on the bucket list of our TRVLBEES families?

“The beautifully designed Scandinavian-style suites are a true treat for everybody! Aside from providing luxury comfort and the warmth of Lappish hospitality, our goal is to make you feel at peace and rejuvenated before you embark on your journey back home. By checking in at Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, you are guaranteed to feel connected with nature, to take a breath and slow down to appreciate all things natural, beautiful, and pure. There’s no better way to describe a tranquil Scandinavian getaway.” 

“The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is your gateway to all the fabulous things Lapland has to offer. In wintertime, we, for example, have Tobogganing Hill, where kids and adults alike enjoy themselves while sledging, building a snowman, and admiring the beautiful scenery. In the depths of the forest hills, you’ll find open fire areas where our excellent chefs prepare special private dining experiences (rich with local ingredients), while you enjoy the wonderful views of the ski slopes. We also provide the possibility for our guests to enjoy a great afternoon of snow-shoeing or Nordic cross country skiing in the area; a must-do if you wish to engage in the full Scandinavian experience.”

“In the summertime, you’ll find abundant beautiful hiking treks nearby, and not to mention, the best place to see the Midnight Sun: on top of the Syväsenvaara Fell. There, we’ll prepare a special (and delicious) Mid Sun picnic menu for you. And of course, Rovaniemi itself offers countless exciting experiences, such as husky rides and trips to nearby national parks, which our guest service is happy to help you arrange. For families, one of the best ways to indulge in the true (year-round) Christmas spirit is to visit SantaPark, or if TRVLBEES families desire a more private experience, the Santa Claus Secret Forest (Joulukka) brings the magic of Christmas alive in a very personal manner. An amazing way to create memories for a lifetime, if you ask me!”

What kind of families stay at your hotel? And for which ages is the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel particularly suitable?

“From young to old, to solo travelers and big families: we love to warmly welcome guests of all ages and origins to the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel! My husband and I have four children and we completely understand all the challenges that come with traveling with a large family. This inspired me, even more, to be conscious when designing a place that should accommodate families with children. Most of our meticulously-created Arctic TreeHouse Suites have a nest bed: a ‘treehouse within the treehouse,’ designed with adventurous little ones in mind. I personally love it, and am certain that the TRVLBEES kids will too!”

“Furthermore, The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is comprised of 14 interconnecting suites, which makes traveling with older children a lot easier; they can have their own little hideaway, but with the safety of their parents a door away. Of course, we also have the beautiful Arctic GlassHouse, which offers two bedrooms with magnificent views of the forest. In the living room, the sofa can be turned into an extra bed should you wish to accommodate two extra children.”

Visitors of the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel are practically guaranteed to have an extraordinary time! What distinguishes your hotel from others in Rovaniemi?

“Our suite-design and concept are completely different than traditional city hotels or even the popular Igloos of Finland. Not only are the layouts of the Arctic TreeHouse suites unique, but more notably, they are designed to connect you with the astonishing surrounding nature. And I can guarantee that, as you overlook the beautiful forest, you will feel fully immersed in the outside world.”

“Furthermore, our Rakas Restaurant & Bar offers all guests traditional local food with a modern twist and, more importantly, innovative dishes that are prepared with love. Through our designs, we support local craftsmanship, simultaneously introducing our guests to our Finnish traditions, heritage, and lifestyle. Last but not least, we go out of our way to emphasize the value of warmth and comfort in a luxury setting, because what is better than spending your vacation feeling totally at home, but out-of-this-world spoiled at the same time?”

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is one with nature. Do you find it difficult to combine sustainability with luxury?

“Although it’s a challenge, it is totally do-able to combine those two elements and, more importantly, it’s an obligation that we have to the environment, one that we constantly strive to fulfill. The well-being of our surroundings, the sustainability of our hotel lifestyle, and the joy and comfort of our guests have all been top priorities from the very beginning of this project. We are very passionate about sustainability and consider it a privilege and a duty to contribute to responsible design in everything that we do.”

“We feel particularly inspired by the nature surrounding us and by local traditions. With every step that we took while designing Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, we sought for efficient ways to allow our guests to experience the remarkable Arctic nature, but to minimize our impact on our fragile surroundings while doing so.”

“In terms of aesthetics, the Arctic TreeHouses blend well into the beautiful hillside of Syväsenvaara. The outside walls of the houses are made of shingling that mirrors the colors of the surrounding forest, and the ‘legs’ (poles) that support the houses correspond to the diameters of the surrounding pine trees. Nature’s own fireworks, the Northern Lights, can be spotted directly from the guests’ cozy beds.”

“Recently, we have embraced new technology to minimize how we ‘burden’ our environment. We also use Green energy; we, for example, utilize geothermal energy at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel and are pioneering another hotel in Finland with the use of solar thermal energy. Furthermore, we’ve invested in an intelligent heating control system that automatically controls temperatures based on the outside weather and occupancy rate. Today, we pride ourselves on being the first private hotel in Lapland to be awarded with the Green Key Certificate, but of course, it continues to be our goal to improve our operations and become even more conscious and considerate of our stunning, but vulnerable surroundings. Luckily, our internal Green Ambassadors train our new team members to inherit our Green values.”

What are your future plans? Perhaps to create a second Arctic TreeHouse Hotel?

“We are always full of new ideas and can’t help but dream about upcoming projects. Currently, we are planning a brand-new hotel concept with an Arctic Spa. This will consist of an inclusive wellness area, inspired by the beautiful Lappish nature, to meet the need for relaxation and mindfulness among our guests. We are beyond excited about this new project and have particularly done a lot of research to understand and evaluate the carbon footprint of the building process.  We can’t wait to take the Lappish experience to a new personal level and to provide our guest with a holistic approach to well-being through nature, relaxation, fitness, food, and bathing.”

Want to read more about this best family-friendly hotel in Lapland, then read the exceptional experience that travelbee Jetteke van Lexmond had there with her family here and the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel property page.