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All reviews christmas cottages ski resort living room gala dinner bed and breakfast the river snow suits older children waste of money meet santa santa claus village minute drive nice sauna reindeer ride location was perfect cherry juice welcome meeting
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Reviewed 9 December 2021 via mobile

My partner, child (3 years 11 months) and I have just returned back from our 3 night stay, 4 days, in Lapland, rovaniemi.
We stayed in the Christmas cottages at Ounasvaara.

I will try and cover as much as possible as I feel the price of the holiday didn’t particularly reflect the experience - I must note that my son is autistic but the holiday was booked before we found out. Therefore my views on things may be slightly different to that of a non complex child.

I will cover it in good, average and bad format.

Starting with good:

Getting off the plane, we were greeted by TUI reps, directed to our coach and also introduced to our elf. Everything was great, easy to follow. We got our snow suits which was about a 15 minute drive - views beautiful. Once we got our suits we had 1 stop off just before our hotel - bus ride 30 mins altogether. Great. We arrived at the hotel and told we couldn’t check in until 4pm (3 hours) for cleaning and other things, this was understandable but due to our son, waiting around is difficult - this wasn’t an issue though we played in the snow and explored.

We had a welcome meeting, told about all of the events and things todo as well as the itinerary - which had changed from the initial brochure but will cover it later - the reps both Tess and Marti were great, very helpful and informative. They provided us with sledges so we could play in the snow. The location is beautiful. We were bed and breakfast so needed to source other food. The supermarket was around 15 minute walk from the cottage - very safe, easy to locate, cheap. Brilliant. The cottage was very cosy, very warm and contained a nice sauna to thaw out. The ski slope was a snowball throw away so perfect for you to play on.
Taxi rides into rovaniemi or the shops cost around 15-20 euros. Very quick and easy. Food in the restaurant was also tasty - slightly more expensive but as expected for restaurants.

Everybody spoke perfect English and were very friendly, the hotel staff, to the excursions to the local shops. They were great.
Location 5 ⭐️ Reps 5 ⭐️ Accessibility to help/shops/miscellaneous 5 ⭐️

On The brochure, the days were supposed to go as follows: Day 1, arrive, get bearings and relax. Day 2, excursion taster, huskies reindeer and meet santa and finish with lunch. Day 3, free day to pick what you want - so if you enjoyed a particular excursion, get a good day out of it.

When we arrived, day 2 and 3 had been swapped so it was a free day first before the excursion on the next day. This I feel wasn’t great, because we weren’t sure what our son would like, it was a stab in the dark at picking something he’d enjoy - again his additional needs come into play here - we chose the reindeer ride but will cover later. As it happens, he loved the huskies but we didn’t have enough time to rebook.
On the final day, before travelling home, we went to Santa Claus village - we were initially told to avoid as it’s very busy, very commercialised and the TUI excursions are better. We spent 1 hour there, 08:00 am and it was empty. It looked magical and felt extremely Christmassy - I have placed this on average because I feel as though we could have spent longer here and it would’ve been fantastic.

The choices of excursion were huskies, reindeer, Santa day and tobogganing. Not a bad selection. The price for our reindeer excursion was €385 which wasn’t a bad price, until we got there but will explain later.

The room it’s self was good and average for 3 ⭐️ - everything you need, warm and comfortable but very basic. Though, this isn’t an issue as you’re out all day.

On the evening of the 3rd and final night, we had a gala dinner which was a mix of meats, potatoes, and veg, a little Christmas dinner, with nuggets and chips for kids as well as salmon. It was average - but I wouldn’t have expected too much more due to catering for a lot of people. The only issue I had was the amount of children digging their hands into the desert. We had fireworks on the evening which was very pleasant.

Taster excursion day 3.5/ 4 ⭐️ (A little unorganised and lots of standing around but experience lovely)
Free lunch 5 ⭐️
Itinerary change 3 ⭐️
Room 3 ⭐️
Gala lunch 3 ⭐️

Now for the bad:
When we arrived in the room and unpacked after a
long day, this is when the major issues appeared. Now please look at images attached to understand. Our shower was COVERED in mould. Our microwave was incredibly dirty. Our kitchen hob was scratched and dirty and the floor was dirty.

I can’t stress enough, the only reason we didn’t complain was because of our son, if we had to repack and move to a different room, it would’ve caused a massive meltdown. And after a long day, we didn’t need it. Although we did clean as much as we could, for a holiday costing this much money, it was disgusting.

The reindeer excursion, was a massive letdown. We were told on the coach, that we would meet the reindeer, get photos, we were told how to pet the reindeers - a certain area on their back, and have a good ride through the forest, as well as receiving your ‘reindeer driving license’.

When we arrived we headed towards the reindeers through the forest and tried to take a couple of photos of them, we were quickly ushered away but this was Understandable so that we could crack on, and, we expected to get better photos later. We split into 2 groups and went into the sleigh. We were told not to use flash as it can startle the reindeer and the lead won’t be able to see where they are going. It was pitch black so needed flash for photos. The ride lasted approximately 20 minutes. After, we couldn’t get photos as we had about 3 minutes to swap over with the previous group. We managed to get 1 photo whilst In the sleigh, however we weren’t able to get more than one. We weren’t allowed too close to the reindeer and we didn’t meet them. We certainly didn’t get to stroke them and didn’t receive anything. We then went into a little hut with a fire to learn about reindeer, drink berry juice, have gingerbread and sausage which was very nice. Then, once that was over, that was it. No meet and greets. No close up personal photos. No stroking. No driving license. The total duration was about 2 hours. It was incredibly unorganised as we found ourself looking around to see what was going on. We spent more time travelling than actually in the excursion. For €385 I was massively let down. This excursion was through TUI and not an independent. We spoke to somebody who done an independent Husky excursion and they informed us that the ride was 45 minutes, they got to meet the huskies, stroke them and get photos. Good value for money.

Our son loved the huskies on the taster sessions, so I have to reiterate, if we had the tasters first, we would’ve known he disliked the reindeer and loved huskies so would’ve booked that first. It felt as though it was a massive waste of money.

In general, there was a lot of waiting around and not knowing what was going on. Again, our child’s issue meant that was slightly difficult for him. His age also comes into this, as he is nearly 4, so older children would’ve probably been a little better. But organisation was very poor. I can’t fault the reps as they did try their best to ensure they kept us informed, but alot of things were out of their hands.

Room cleanliness 1 ⭐️
Excursion (reindeer ride) through TUI 1 ⭐️
Organisation via providers 1 ⭐️

Value for money 2 ⭐️ - based on room cleanliness and excursion

To summarise,

The place is absolutely beautiful. The people are wonderful, the food is great. Good price. There is plenty todo from long scenic walks to excursions.
The cottages are very lovely and cosy and ours probably was a one off for being very dirty and neglected. The reps were very helpful + they kept us up to date with the changes to travel (lateral flow before return) and sourced us some free of charge.

We were massively let down by the cleanliness of the room and the excursions. I sincerely don’t think it was worth the money paid. If the room had been better and we were able to enjoy the excursion more, I think it would’ve been great.

If anybody is looking to book up, I’d be happy to answer questions they had on it.

Date of stay: December 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank adamcX2271RJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 August 2021

We stayed there for 4 nights in August. We considered the standard chalet would suffice for us and our Lab but we were upgraded by the reception. All in all we can say that it was a clean and pet friendly place. Breakfast was OK, but once you are late in the morning, the personnel becomes annoyingly un-friendly.
The ski resort is very close to the reception, but summertime operation schedules were disappointing (lift, bike rental).
Considering value for the money, I would recommend it.

Date of stay: August 2021
Thank Levente V
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 17 July 2021 via mobile

Satyed only for one night but we were very satisfied with our stay. The cabin was clean and spacious, the beds were really soft, so extrapoints for that. Location was perfect and breakfast was excellent. Good service too. Would definetly recommend.

Date of stay: July 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank Heidi V
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 April 2021

I was there for four days with my (adult) son: we were there simply for skiing and relaxation. For that the hotel was great: The skiing tracks and slopes are just next to the hotel. The surroundings was peaceful and yet only ten minutes from Rovaniemi center (by car).

The cabin was ok - nothing fancy, but clean and functionable. We enjoyed sauna daily - very relaxing after hours of skiing.

The service was friendly - even If we did not use it much due to covid restrictions (their restaurant was closed, but it was easy to order take away from Rovaniemi()

I think that the pricing was very affordable - same as a standard double room on a decent Rovaniemi hotel would have been.

Date of stay: March 2021
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Timo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 29 November 2020

We stayed one night in Ounasvaara Chalets on our way to the north. There were not many other visitors at that time, so it was peaceful although the cottages are close to each other.

The cottage was relatively new and practical - living room, kitchenette, small bedroom and bathroom + sauna downstairs and a bedroom upstairs, with very steep stairs. There are two apartments in one building and the wall between them is not very thick.

There are not so many services nearby, so a car or bike is needed. Or maybe it's better in the winter with ski lifts in function. The place probably looks very different during high season.

A nice buffet breakfast was included.

Date of stay: September 2020
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Malena181
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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