A Lapland Adventure after Christmas
Anyone who knows me, will probably associate me with sunny, warm climates (filming A Place in the Sun), but last week I was somewhere a little bit unusual – Lapland!
I’ve travelled to Lapland in Finland once before with a group of very sick children to support ‘When you Wish Upon a Star’ charity 4 years ago. It was an incredible experience and I was privileged to be able to help put a smile on lots of poorly children’s faces. Most recently when I found out that Monarch had started offering mini adventure Winter breaks to Lapland AFTER Christmas, I was excited to be given the chance to go with my family to put a smile on my own children’s faces.
When you think of Lapland you think of a pre-Christmas visit to see Santa. Of course Monarch still offers this trip but if you decide to go AFTER Christmas you can still book to see Santa and there are so many other amazing things to experience.
We opted to stay in the 4 star Levi Spa hotel as it appeared the most family friendly and when we arrived we were happy to discover we’d made a great decision. The rooms are all set in large lodge type buildings spread throughout the grounds. The hotel reception and restaurants are actually in a separate building which is a short walk from the bedrooms so you have to put on lots of warm clothes to walk to breakfast! The family accommodation is ideal, with a room with a double bed and then an adjoining room with bunk beds for the children. As an alternative the suites are nice with twin beds, a room with a sofa bed and a private sauna in the bathroom which is a real treat.
Despite being minus 7 outside I never felt cold. I wore 3 layers (including thermals) and my ski gear, I also had a good pair of Siberian Chic snow boots. I made sure the children were wrapped up well too with lots of layers and ski clothing from Mountain Warehouse. However, the great thing about this particular package holiday is you don’t need your own ski clothes or boots because Monarch provide everything for you.
When we landed at Kitilla airport we were greeted by one of our two fantastic resort guides Steven Faulkner. His partner is crime was Aimee Weatherall who on this occasion was back in resort. Steve and Amy couldn’t do enough for the guests and they recommended some great restaurants even though we were staying on a full board basis.
Kuura was a lovely restaurant to dine in. Situated at the bottom of the ski slopes, the interior was stylish, the food was well presented, reasonably priced and very tasty.
We also dined at Hotel Levi Panorama which is found at the top of the cable car, by the side of the ski slopes, next to the Artic Dining Experience Igloo and The Samiland museum. The restaurant had a great little play area for the children.
Yes you read correctly – ski slopes… you can indeed ski in Lapland. As you can imagine I was in my element just as much as the children were. With reindeer rides, snowmobile excursions, sledging, skiing, spas, Santa and some fine dining there is something for everyone. If you are interested in skiing, there are around 45 pistes in the resort and you can buy a lift pass and hire ski equipment from Zero Point in the centre of Levi. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to other ski resorts and the skiing is pretty good, all be it a little chilly if you aren’t dressed appropriately. We even got little Rocco on skis and he LOVED it!
One of my favourites excursions was the Lapland Safari on a Snow Mobile to a Reindeer farm. With only 4 hours of daylight each day we started our tour as the sun was beginning to set around 4pm. Alex and I went on this trip on our own. It was romantic and magical, driving a snow mobile through the forest with trees covered in snow and the light from the snow mobile shining on them. After we arrived at the reindeer farm we snuggled up in a sleigh and were treated to a ride.
Another excursion that is a must, is a visit to the Ice Hotel. A 40 minute coach ride from Levi, the Ice Hotel is INCREDIBLE. Complete with its own chapel, ice slide, bar, restaurant and 20 rooms and suites, the Ice Hotel is redesigned and rebuilt each year. The evening of our visit the Northern Lights made an appearance. The green misty clouds that light up the sky are a sight to be seen. In fact the Northern Lights could be seen every night we were there, sometimes they came out a little too late for us to witness though, as with two little ones we are usually in bed before 11:30pm.
Our 3 and a half day mini break to Lapland actually felt a lot longer because we did so much. On morning before our departure we made the most of the hotel’s swimming pool and spa facilities. There were 23 in total (yes 23) and two water slides. Rocco and Tahlia loved it and they even braved the outdoor pool with Alex, whilst I enjoyed the warm jacuzzi bubbles.
If I had one niggle it would probably be that I was a little disappointed with the quality of the lunch provided in the hotel. Breakfast and dinner were fine but at lunchtime the menu was limited and for that reason I would recommend staying at the Levi Spa Hotel on a Half Board basis.
There is still time to book this Winter break experience for this season and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a travel adventure experience you will NEVER forget.
This week I’ve gone from minus seven to twenty two degrees because I am filming in Tenerife. I’ve visited this Canary island a few times but it’s actually a first for Rocco and Tahlia and I’m looking forward to them experiencing just how family friendly it is.
Until my next blog, have a great week and stay warm.